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What is anterior compartment syndrome?

Running might appear like a straightforward exercise to take up to improve fitness. However, it’s not quite as simple as it may appear with some studies showing that up to 70% of runners experience an injury each year. Depending on exactly how bad that injury is and just how it is managed, many runners just give up and don’t continue to run. The reasons behind running overuse injury are multifactorial but they are associated with problems for example carrying out too much running too early before letting your body time to adjust to the increased levels of activity. Inadequate running footwear with characteristics that do not match those of the runners needs will also be an issue. Complications with foot biomechanics as well as the running technique may also be issues at increasing the probability for an overuse injury.
 
An example of an overuse injury is anterior compartment syndrome. There is fibrous fascia around muscles that support the muscles in place. If this fascia is tight, if we exercise the muscle would want to expand but that tight fascia inhibits it. That compression inside the fascia compartment is usually painful. In anterior compartment syndrome, this involves the muscles that are on front of the leg. The most common cause of this condition is what is called overstriding. In this the runner is striking the ground with their front 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 doesn’t allow it, then this will become painful. It will only be painful when running and will not be painful when not running. The easiest method to deal with anterior compartment syndrome to use techniques for the runner to shorten their stride length so that the lead foot isn’t going to contact the ground too far in front of the body when running.