Monday, August 23, 2010

An Article on Compartment Syndrome

As some of you may recall from "My Diagnosis," I was diagnosed with a mild form of compartment syndrome.  Here's an interesting article Ernie forwarded to me about some Football Players in Oregon.  I wasn't on any steriods nor creatine but I was taking a lot of protein shakes!  I still think it has something to do with all that Gluten.

Compartment Syndrome Hits Football Players: 5 Questions Answered

David Knowles

AOL News Surge Desk (Aug. 23) -- For the moment, it remains something of a medical mystery.

Last week, 30 high school football players in McMinnville, Ore., were sent to a hospital and evaluated for compartment syndrome, a little-diagnosed ailment that affects the body's soft tissue. Of those examined with injury to their triceps, 14 were admitted and three required surgery.

Why such a high number of football players would suddenly come down with what has been described as an "extremely rare" condition is a question that got Surge Desk looking for answers. Here's what we've learned about compartment syndrome.

What causes compartment syndrome?

A more serious variant of the condition known as rhabdomyolysis, compartment syndrome occurs when pressure builds up in the so-called "compartments" where muscle, blood vessels and nerves meet. Often induced by exercise, swelling increases the pressure in these areas of the body, potentially damaging the nerves and muscle, the Mayo Clinic reports. Repetitive exercise that works the same muscles is considered a risk factor for compartment syndrome.

On a semi-related note, AOL FanHouse reported this weekend on the ongoing debate over whether Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. Teammates say that yes, he was, while Coach Mike Shanahan says he hasn't heard that. Haynesworth has been missing off-season practice, ostensibly because of his poor health, and Shanahan has been struggling to get him in line. He has reportedly recovered from the ailment, as have many of the Oregon players. As of Monday night, the hospital was considering holding the three who underwent surgery overnight for observation.

Is the Oregon compartment syndrome outbreak caused by steroid use?

As a report published in the journal Orthopedics noted, there is a correlation between anabolic steroid use and compartment syndrome. The players on the McMinnville team have denied taking steroids, and, as yet, no testing for steroids is planned, The Associated Press reported.

What are the symptoms of compartment syndrome?

Known commonly as "The Five P's" of compartment syndrome, the following symptoms are common to those who suffer an acute form of the malady similar to that experienced by the McMinnville players: pain, pressure, paresthesia (numbness), paralysis and pulsenlessness.

How did so many players on the same high school football team get compartment syndrome?

In the case of the McMinnville High School players, a combination of high temperatures and dehydration during preseason workouts is also being looked at as a possible culprit for the mass hospitalization. According to The Oregonian, the players attended a workout session in an enclosed room where temperatures were said to have reached 115 degrees, and focused specifically tricep exercises. Each of the 18 football players was found to have increased levels of the enzyme creatine kinase, which the body releases after muscles are injured, CBS News reported.

Tests are also being conducted on the players to check for the presence of creatine. A legal muscle-building supplement, creatine has been associated with other sports-related injuries, The Oregonian newspaper reported. The players have reported using protein shakes but said they were not sure what was in them, the AP reported.

Is there a cure for compartment syndrome?

If left untreated, compartment syndrome can lead to debilitating muscle injury and even kidney failure. For that reason, it is important to seek medical intervention. Treatment options depend on the severity of each case and range from a cessation of exercise to massage and surgery, the latter option being the most commonly used.

According to the Mayo Clinic, surgery for compartment syndrome involves the removing of some of the connective fascia tissue, which results in the releasing of pressure.

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