Get answers to your Shoulder and Elbow questions.
The hallmark symptom of compartment syndrome is severe pain that does not go away when you take pain medicine or raise the affected area. In more severe cases, symptoms may include:
A physical exam will reveal:
To confirm the diagosis, the health care provider will directly measure the pressure in the compartment. This is done using a needle attached to a pressure meter into the compartment. The needle is inserted into the affected area. Specific pressure measurements will lead to a diagnosis of compartment syndrome.
When the health care provider suspects chronic compartment syndrome, this test must be performed during and after the activity that causes pain.
Twaddle BC, Amendola A. Compartment syndrome. In: Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Levine AM, Trafton PG, Krettek C, eds. Skeletal Trauma. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 13.
Geiderman JM, Katz D. General principles of orthopedic injuries. In: Marx J, ed. Rosenâ€™s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 46.
Jobe MT. Compartment syndromes and Volkmann contracture. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2007:chap 71.
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