Every muscle in the body is contained in its own ‘compartment’ of connective tissue, which helps give the muscle its shape and structure. The connective tissue is called fascia and it is the most common type of connective tissue in the body.
Normally functioning fascia will move with the muscles contained within a compartment, allowing smooth pain free movement. However, in the case of injury or overuse, the fascia may tighten and restrict the necessary expansion of muscles during movement and exercise. So, where there is a restriction, overuse of a muscle will lead to increased pressure within the muscle compartment.
Compartment syndrome is an umbrella term given to painful conditions caused by increased pressure inside muscle compartments. Chronic compartment syndrome generally occurs through overuse or overtraining. It is most common in the lower leg where it can occur at the front, back or on either side.