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Compartment Syndrome

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What is Compartment Syndrome?

Compartment Syndrome is a painful condition caused by bleeding or swelling within an enclosed group of muscles.  As well as pain, this condition can cause muscle and nerve damage. It is most common in the arms or legs.  Compartment syndrome occurs when pressure increases, which restricts blood flow.

Is there more than one kind of Compartment Syndrome?

There are two main types of the condition:

  • Acute – This comes on quickly and is often after and server injury such as a sever break. Symptoms can include a change in sensation such as tingling or burning as well as numbness or a tight feeling.  This is generally accompanied by severe pain which does not seem proportionate to the injury.
  • Chronic – This comes on more gradually and similar numbness or tingling. There may be swelling or bulging of the muscle. The pain is normally in the form of cramping during exercise. People may also have trouble with movement and the area feeling cold or turning pale.

Compartment Syndrome


What causes Compartment Syndrome?

Acute Compartment Syndrome is normally caused by trauma to the affected area such as a badly broken bone, burns or even swelling associated with surgical repair to blocked or damaged veins. It can, however, occur in rare cases without a clear injury. It can also be caused by as cast or bandage being applied to tightly before swelling has stopped.

The exact cause of Chronic Compartment Syndrome I unknown but it normally occurs in young people who perform regular repetitive exercise (eg cycling/rowing/running/swimming)

How can it be treated?

Acute compartment syndrome should be treated as quickly as possible to try to reduce the potential of permanent damage. The treatment provided may be given the patient oxygen to help increase oxygen delivery to affected area.

In many cases, a procedure called a fasciotomy will be required. This procedure involves opening up the effected area relieving the pressure. Dead muscle is removed. Closure od the wound will be performed and take place gradually to ensure there is no increased pressure on closing.

Chronic compartment syndrome can also be relieved by stopping the exercise that triggers it and switching to different activities or by physiotherapy of orthopedic apparatuses. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed.


If left untreated compartment syndrome can result in permanent damage to muscles and nerves. This can reduce the function of the limb and in some extreme cases loss of the affected limb or even death.

It can also cause infection and in some cases kidney failure as a result of damages caused by chemical released by the dying muscles. The performance of a fasciotomy procedure also results in scarring to the limb.

If you believe you have suffered from compartment syndrome as a result of the incorrect application of plaster or bandages by a medical professional or feel that there has be delay in diagnosis or treatment of the condition please do not hesitate to contact  us and one of our dedicated Clinical Negligence team will be on hand.



How do I make a claim?

If you feel that your diagnosis has been delayed or that your treatment has been inappropriate then you may be entitled to bring about a claim.

The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

Who can bring about a claim?

The victim of the negligence can bring about a claim in their own right however it is often sadly the case that the victim is either unable to bring about a claim or has sadly passed. In such circumstances a claim can be brought about on their behalf either by an appropriate person or litigation friend if the victim is still with us or by the executor of the estate of surviving dependant if the victim has passed.

Our specialist team will be able to discuss whether you have a right to bring about a claim so if you or a loved one has been affected do not hesitate to contact us.

How long do I have to claim?

Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of rather the date the negligent act occurred or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred. In cases involving deceased victims this limitation period commences from the date of death and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th Birthday.

The law surrounding limitation periods is complex, our specialist team will be able to advise further.

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued.

Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.



How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – This is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Special damages – This is an award of money for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost.

If you are successful in your claim a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why use Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make your Clinical Negligence case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Medical Negligence.

We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.


For any advice about where to go next with your case, get in touch today for a free initial consultation in complete confidence. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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