Forefoot Running Improves Pain and Disability Associated With Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome.
Anterior compartment pressures of the leg as well as kinematic and kinetic measures are significantly influenced by running technique. It is unknown whether adopting a forefoot strike technique will decrease the pain and disability associated with chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) in hindfoot strike runners.
For people who have CECS, adopting a forefoot strike running technique will lead to decreased pain and disability associated with this condition.
Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Ten patients with CECS indicated for surgical release were prospectively enrolled. Resting and postrunning compartment pressures, kinematic and kinetic measurements, and self-report questionnaires were taken for all patients at baseline and after 6 weeks of a forefoot strike running intervention. Run distance and reported pain levels were recorded. A 15-point global rating of change (GROC) scale was used to measure perceived change after the intervention.
After 6 weeks of forefoot run training, mean postrun anterior compartment pressures significantly decreased from 78.4 ± 32.0 mm Hg to 38.4 ± 11.5 mm Hg. Vertical ground-reaction force and impulse values were significantly reduced. Running distance significantly increased from 1.4 ± 0.6 km before intervention to 4.8 ± 0.5 km 6 weeks after intervention, while reported pain while running significantly decreased. The Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE) significantly increased from 49.9 ± 21.4 to 90.4 ± 10.3, and the Lower Leg Outcome Survey (LLOS) significantly increased from 67.3 ± 13.7 to 91.5 ± 8.5. The GROC scores at 6 weeks after intervention were between 5 and 7 for all patients. One year after the intervention, the SANE and LLOS scores were greater than reported during the 6-week follow-up. Two-mile run times were also significantly faster than preintervention values. No patient required surgery.
In 10 consecutive patients with CECS, a 6-week forefoot strike running intervention led to decreased postrunning lower leg intracompartmental pressures. Pain and disability typically associated with CECS were greatly reduced for up to 1 year after intervention. Surgical intervention was avoided for all patients.