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Author Topic: Chronic Exersional Compartment Syndrome (CECS)  (Read 5369 times)
Andrew Anderson
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« on: November 24, 2013, 12:41:32 pm »

I've had off and on calf strains since about 2001.  These problems kept me from running more than 1 month at a time.  I've been to the doctor a few times, but I never really pushed the issue.  I chalked it up to getting old and running way too many miles in my 20s.

In early 2010 I was (finally!) diagnosed with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome in anterior and posterior compartments in both legs.  In short, the fascia are too small for my muscles.  When my calf muscles swell, the arterial blood gets in, but venous blood is restricted leaving the muscles.  Imagine trying to blow up a balloon inside a pipe.  Nerves are also pinched.  It feels like the worst cramps you can imagine.  I've had it for years, but no one was able to properly diagnosis until recently.

My choices: surgery or greatly reduce my running volume to a couple miles at a time.... I chose to decrease my running.  I was worried about potentially ruining my military career with an elective surgical procedure.  Additionally, I wasn't excited to have this surgery after listening to horror stories about painful recoveries, botched operations and the potential of returning symptoms.  Additionally, surgery was out of the question for the short term - soon after the diagnosis I took an all expenses paid trip to Afghanistan for 6 months.

Fast forward to 2013, I decided to jump in with both feet and get the surgery.  I'll keep this post short by leaving out play-by-play of the fasciotomy surgery; but needless to say, I have 4 - approximately 8" long incisions on the fascia of both calves.

I had surgery on 11/11 and was in prone position with my legs elevated and iced for about 3 straight days.  First PT appointment was on 11/15.  I had my post-op meeting with the surgeon 11/19.  He's very pleased with my recovery so far and thinks I may be able to start "jogging" in about 6 weeks.  I still have substantial bruising on my left leg but it appears to be fading. Pretty exciting stuff.

So, 2x weekly PT for now, crutches and very little weight bearing activity.  I'm so excited with the prospect of being able to put together more than 30 days of injury free training.  I'm doubtful I'll see a 2:30 marathon again but maybe.......
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