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  1. #1
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    fasciotomy - compartment syndrome

    A few weeks ago I had a nasty bump with a car and my leg swelled up immediately. The police and ambulance crew thought it was broken but in fact it was just a huge haematoma. The initial bump was the size of an apple hence why it was assumed the tibia had snapped. An x-ray proved there was no break.

    I was advised if things got worse to return to hospital, after 5 days my leg became very very painful and I visited a hospital and the doctor said there was nothing of concern, just a slight infection and gave me antibiotics.

    After a few more days with the pain getting worse my foot turned numb. I called a hospital and had to be rushed in by ambulance and they then diagnosed compartment syndrome and the need for an immediate operation. This involved 2 cuts down either side of my shin, to release the pressure. They were left open (but dressed) for 5 days to allow the swelling to go down and have now been stitched up. During the initial operation necrotic (dead) muscle had to be removed along with some dead nerves.

    I am now at home having to take life very gently, the affected leg can not take any weight until the stitches have come out. As the muscle was taken out of the front of my leg it is hard for me to raise my toes and the ankle is very very stiff and sore.

    Am a little bit annoyed the 2nd hospital visit did not pick up on the condition but v glad to still have my leg attached.

    Has anyone else had experience of compartment syndrome, the fasciotomy to relieve the pressure and or the removal of muscle/nerves?

    What is the time frame for recovery, how intense is the physiotherapy/required rehab?


    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancing james
    A few weeks ago I had a nasty bump with a car and my leg swelled up immediately. The police and ambulance crew thought it was broken but in fact it was just a huge haematoma. The initial bump was the size of an apple hence why it was assumed the tibia had snapped. An x-ray proved there was no break.

    I was advised if things got worse to return to hospital, after 5 days my leg became very very painful and I visited a hospital and the doctor said there was nothing of concern, just a slight infection and gave me antibiotics.

    After a few more days with the pain getting worse my foot turned numb. I called a hospital and had to be rushed in by ambulance and they then diagnosed compartment syndrome and the need for an immediate operation. This involved 2 cuts down either side of my shin, to release the pressure. They were left open (but dressed) for 5 days to allow the swelling to go down and have now been stitched up. During the initial operation necrotic (dead) muscle had to be removed along with some dead nerves.

    I am now at home having to take life very gently, the affected leg can not take any weight until the stitches have come out. As the muscle was taken out of the front of my leg it is hard for me to raise my toes and the ankle is very very stiff and sore.

    Am a little bit annoyed the 2nd hospital visit did not pick up on the condition but v glad to still have my leg attached.

    Has anyone else had experience of compartment syndrome, the fasciotomy to relieve the pressure and or the removal of muscle/nerves?

    What is the time frame for recovery, how intense is the physiotherapy/required rehab?


    Many thanks

    Look up running back James Montgomery from WSU (maybe most covered CS case in recent memory)
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Montg...7720ba43ce4197

    Football player who got back to the field. A lot of the stories talk about his recovery...sorry I dont have time, but it seem like you have plenty (ironic name, yeah!?)


    I had a good friend in the Marines who had it. His somehow showed up from humping (hiking) and it got bad enough to have a similar surgery. His rehab, as far as I can remember) was normal soft stationary bike and walking, and a lot of stretching. It was VERY intense as I recall... like busting his ass doing mundane things. Once he was not in danger of losing his leg, they kicked him out because full recovery is not likely enough for the military or whatever the excuse was. He would have to rest after marching a short distance, and he was strong as an ox.

    ^Thse examples are meant to show that youre unlikely to recover to 100%, but that recovering enough to be highly active is certainly possible.



    Quite possible the most f'd up and least known injury I have ever seen or heard of. BOTH of the cases I know of were missed for a long enough time to threaten amputation, so I would not be too hard on yourself or the docs for missing it at first.


    Stay focused and motivated. If the docs say it is not possible, then prove them wrong
    Last edited by WACK-A-n00b; 05-08-2011 at 10:22 PM.

  3. #3
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    Hey man I just broke my TIB and FIB, about four hours of extreme pain in the hospital they tested for compartment syndrome...they said I had a 68 level which is extreme pressure and needed surgery right away. I also have long slices on both sides, my outside calve slice is very large about 5 inches wide , so large it was skin grafted...but I didn't lose muscle because they caught it right away. I have nerve pain and numb tingling pain...its been a month since it happened. sorry I can really give good advice...do you get toe pain? I don't know if its from my broken bones or the compartment syndrome. thanks.
    Last edited by steverfever54; 07-23-2011 at 08:41 PM.

  4. #4
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    I had compartment as well. The calf muscle is junk, but I have been working to rebuild. It take a long time, but it is possible Toe lifts!! That is the key according to my doc.
    Did you get cut on bith sides? I did. I now have what I call Frankenleg.

  5. #5
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    hey james
    im new to the forum and i know this is 2 months old here but i am knowledgeable on compartment syndrome. The syndrome consists of extreme swelling usually in bad burns or closed fractures. If i were you and if you can afford it i would contact a lawyer. First of all you shouldnt have had to have muscle removed or nerves. if it was diagnosed earlier it could be avoided. It was necrotic because no oxygen was being delivered to the cells( increased vascular pressure). Yes you would still have to have the fasciotomy but that is the reason for the surgery to decrease the pressure inside from the swelling on your nerves and muscle tissue and prevent further injury. What was the mds rationale for antibiotics? did they do bloodwork on you? was your wbcs(white blood cells) high to warrant antibiotics. You had no break of the skin in your leg. Why would it be infected? Neurovascular checks were they done? Im not positive but if they removed muscle and nerves and it impairs you in any sort of way. You have a chance to get a malpractice suit. Not a fan of suing but could be warranted

  6. #6
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    I had compartmental syndrome in my right forearm when I broke my right wrist crashing on the mountain bike. The surgery and opening up of the area helped I didnt have to have two cuts the surgeon was good. I was not able to use my wrist for a long time and when PT started I couldnt move my wrist, hand or any fingers.

    I remember the PT progressively stretching tendons and muscles and the sweat would bead up on my forehead. I worked it a lot at home and iced it a lot I have about 90% movement and 70% strength. This enables me to do anything I want and I can feel the humidty change within my wrist before the forecast predicts it to the general public.

    Good luck with your rehab.

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