Muscles are surrounded by a thin, strong tissue called fascia which permits full function of the muscles. In rare cases, the fasica is too tight not allowing the muscle to increase in size when exercising. This leads to raised pressure within the muscle compartment resulting in pain which often causes the athlete to stop exercising after some time. The correct term for this condition is called chronic exertional compartment syndrome. The acute compartment syndrome is a different pathology which needs urgent surgical treatment. Typically patients suffering from chronic exertional compartment syndrome describe pain in the lower leg when exercising for a specific (similar) amount of time.
Treatment for Compartment Syndrome
Symptoms might be similar to shin splint and identifying the underlying cause of pain is paramount. Measuring the pressure in the muscle compartment will confirm the clinical diagnosis. Avoiding the stressful activity might help but often releasing the tight compartment will be necessary. This involves one or two small incisions and this take away the pain as the muscles then have more space to expand when being active. Recovery is relatively quick and full function will be regained.