Alternate Names : Volkmann's Ischemic Contracture
Compartment syndrome occurs when blood supply is dramatically reduced to muscles in a closed body space, known as a compartment. Compartments are found in the hand, forearm, upper arm, abdomen, buttock, and leg. The muscles most frequently involved are those on the front of the lower leg or the palm side of the forearm.
What is going on in the body?
A muscle group is surrounded by a tough, fibrous membrane called the fascia. Small blood vessels supply the muscle with oxygen and other essential nutrients. Insufficient blood supply to tissues and compartment syndrome can occur if:
the muscle compartment size is reduced, as when a cast is too tight
the muscle compartment contents are increased, such as by swelling or bleeding associated with injury
If the affected muscles are deprived of blood supply for more than 6 hours, nerve and muscle tissue can be permanently damaged or destroyed.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Some common causes of compartment syndrome include:
bleeding, from a bone fracture or other injuries
casts applied to treat bone fractures or other abnormalities
a crush injury
leaking of intravenous fluid or injections into the compartment
repeated use of a muscle group
seizures that involve the muscles in the compartment
swelling of the muscle itself