What is anterior compartment syndrome in the leg?

Running may appear like a simple exercise to take up to improve fitness. However, it's not quite as straightforward as it might appear with some studies showing that up to three-quarters of runners have an exercise related injury each year. Depending upon how serious that injury is and just how it is taken care of, many runners just give up and never continue to run. The reasons for running overuse injury are multiple but they are associated with problems such as doing too much running too early before allowing your body to adapt to the increased degrees of activity. Inadequate running footwear with characteristics which do not match up with those of the runners needs may also be an issue. Issues with foot biomechanics and also the running technique can also be issues at raising the possibility for an overuse injury.

An example of an overuse injury is anterior compartment syndrome. There is fibrous fascia around muscles which support the muscles in position. If this fascia is tight, if we exercise the muscle would want to expand but that tight fascia inhibits it. That pressure within the fascia compartment is usually painful. In anterior compartment syndrome, this involves the muscles in the front of the lower leg. The most common reason for this condition is what is known as overstriding. In this the runner is striking the ground with their leading leg too far in front of the body. To lower the foot to the ground, the anterior leg muscles need to work harder. As they keep working harder, the muscles expand and if the fascia will not allow it, then this will become painful. It will only hurt when running and will not be painful when not running. The simplest way to deal with this problem to use approaches for the runner to shorten their stride length in order that the lead foot isn't going to make contact with the ground too far ahead of the body when running.