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What are compartment injuries?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Workplace Injuries

If you suffer a severe injury at work, it can completely uproot your career. Compartment syndrome is one of the severe injuries that may occur on construction sites, warehouses, and other labor-intensive industries.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, acute compartment syndrome occurs when a muscle compartment experiences increased pressure. The lack of blood flow can cause muscle and nerve damage.

What causes compartment syndrome?

Layers of tissue separate your muscle groups. The tissue, known as fascia, does not expand. Inside the layer of fascia, you have spaces called compartments. In the compartment, you have nerves, blood vessels and muscle tissue. When the compartments swell, blood cannot enter the compartment. The blocked blood flow can lead to muscle death. You could lose function in your arms or legs.

Acute compartment syndrome tends to occur because of a crush injury. You may break bones, bruise your muscles or suffer a severe sprain. In some cases, the bandaging or tourniquet can lead to compartment syndrome.

What does compartment syndrome look like?

If you have acute compartment syndrome, you may experience more pain than expected for your injury. Even if you take pain medication or lift the limb with pain, it does not ease. In addition to pain, you may experience numbness, weakness and tingling of the area.

Compartment syndrome is not always apparent. Healthcare providers can detect compartment syndrome through physical exams of the affected location. Sometimes the physician has to measure the pressure in the compartment using a needle and pressure meter.

To treat compartment syndrome, most patients require surgery. The result of compartment syndrome often depends on the initial injury severity.