Flashback: Compartment Pressure Measurements

Although it was over a year ago that I had this test done, a fellow runner asked for a post on my experience with the pressure test.

The pressure testing, put bluntly, is not a lot of fun.  I had anticipated having local anesthetic to help with the pain, but we started the test about 10 minutes after my run, so I did it with full feeling. The anterior and lateral compartments were not too bad – probably slightly more painful than a shot.  The posterior compartments, of which there are two, were very painful.  Essentially, they have to push through the first compartment to measure the second.  Overall, I would give the procedure a 4 to 6 on the pain scale.  The pain is bad, but fleeting.  Besides some tenderness around the injection site, I had hardly any discomfort post-test.

One of the biggest benefits for me was the immediacy of the results.  While an MRI has to be read, the pressure tests can be evaluated immediately. Although I would end up waiting a year for the surgery, having an accurate picture of what was going on in my calf was great.

4 thoughts on “Flashback: Compartment Pressure Measurements

  1. Jennnnn

    Sarah thanks so much for this. I will be having mine tested twice. Once before running and then I'll run until it hurts and then he'll test them again after to compare the results. He will be testing 3 compartments in each leg, Anterior, lateral and I assume deep posterior. He said he will numb the skin first. You have me very concerned…


  2. Laurel

    Just as some added info ( I found this blog on RunenrsWorld), I've had both my legs tested on two different occasions (once happened to be Monday and once a year ago) and no only do they numb the skin with a cold spray, they actually numb the nerves around the compartments therefore there is almost no pain from the pressure shots. It does feel slightly uncomfortable, but the actually numbing shots hurt the most.

    Sarah- I've been reading your blog just to compare your surgery to mine, seeing mine failed the first time. Though that could be because I had all four compartments in both legs done at the same time. Hope the recovery is going well and if you need any advice I'd be happy to share!

  3. Sarah

    Laurel: I'm so glad to hear that they used the numbing spray for you. I hope my experience with the first round of doctors was an anomaly. I am saddened to hear, however, that your surgery was unsuccessful the first time. From reading the forum on Runner's World, it seems that a lot of people share your experience, which makes me question the repeated sentiment that this is a highly successful solution.

  4. Shawn

    Reading all this stuff in the forums makes me wonder too, but several people have pointed out the people with successful resolutions aren't posting on the forums, they're going on with their lives. Hope that's right…


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