Acute compartment syndrome typically occurs as a result of a traumatic injury to a limb - for example a blow to the leg in football or rugby.
In compartment syndrome, this blow sets off a process of internal swelling or bleeding that overwhelms the limb - pressure within the muscle builds to dangerous levels, preventing nourishment reaching nerve and muscle cells.
Without treatment, acute compartment syndrome can cause paralysis, loss of limb, or even death.
The main symptom of this condition is pain, especially intense pain that seems out of proportion to the injury. Other symptoms include swelling, paresthesia (tingling or burning sensations), and a feeling of tightness in the muscle.
This is a condition that needs immediate medical treatment. A doctor will be able to measure the internal pressure to make an accurate diagnosis, and determine whether you need surgery.
Surgery involves opening the skin and fascia to relieve the pressure. Once the swelling has subsided, the skin incision is surgically repaired. A skin graft may be needed to achieve an aesthetically pleasing result.