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How To Find Fitness After Exertional Compartment Syndrome

How To Find Fitness After Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Read about how Glenneth found fitness after exertional compartment syndrome. Be inspired and motivated to get in shape again.

Welcome to the third installment of the series “How To Find Fitness After…”.

Our guest for this month is Glenneth Reed from Your Path To Fit.

How To Find Fitness After Exertional Compartment Syndrome with Glenneth Reed.

Hi! My name is Glenneth Reed. I am currently 46 years old and live in Knoxville, TN.

Join Glenneth on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

While I still enjoy walking 5Ks from time to time, I also love sprint training on the elliptical and weight lifting.I am an AdWords Specialist by day and a personal trainer/health coach on the side.

Finding fitness after Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

In June 2010, I was halfway through my 40th year and decided it was time to get healthy. Hubby had run a 5K in early June and asked if I wanted to start walking while he ran. I walked three times per week building up each week and on July 3rd, 2010 I walked my first 5K. I was hooked. I got into a routine of walking “practice” on Tuesdays and Thursdays and doing a 5K (or shorter walk) on the weekends.

By early 2011, I was feeling great and was healthier than I had been before I started walking. I was fast (for me) and had a PR around 48 minutes. Then things changed. 5Ks became harder and harder. Instead of getting faster, I was getting slower and had pain in my calves while walking.

In September 2011, I saw my GP for the first time about this problem. Originally he thought shin splints. Since my calves were what was hurting, I took his advice and rested 4 to 6 weeks. Then back to walking. And more pain. For someone who a 5K had been easy, I was walking a mile then taking 20 minutes to recover from it. I went back and forth to the GP until August 2012 when he finally sent me to a specialist. With our healthcare, we have to be referred to a specialist.

I met with an orthopedic surgeon in August 2012. I told him my symptoms – legs/feet tingling, calves numb/hard, getting slower, painful, etc. He immediately thought exertional compartment syndrome. While he did run some tests, he was immediately convinced that was my problem. The short version of exertional compartment syndrome is that instead of the fascia letting your muscles breathe, the fascia tightens and constricts blood flow. The only answer is surgery.

So in November 2012, I had surgery on my left leg. The pain was much more significant on my left and they thought maybe the right leg was fine but was sore due to overcompensation. The doctor cut the fascia from the knee to the ankle.

My recovery/treatment was rest. I was not allowed physical activity until February 2013. Then in March 2013 when I did my first 5K after surgery. Less than half mile into the walk I wanted to sit down and cry – both happy and sad tears. I could feel how much better my left leg was, but knew we needed to do the right leg. The 5K was on a Sunday and I called the doctor first thing on Monday morning.

In April 2013 I had surgery performed on the right leg. Again, I was down until July 2013 and walked my next 5K August 2013. The relief was amazing. But, once again, I was starting over.

Finding #fitness after #health issues isn't easy. Here's how @YourPathToFit did it. Click To Tweet

How physically active were you before the injury and surgery?

Before I was diagnosed, I was pretty active. I was walking 2-3 miles (or more) 3 to 4 times per week and biking 1-2 times per week. This was the most active I had been in my adult life.

How long did it take you to be fully recovered?

It was probably a full year before I was completely recovered and back up to my fastest 5K speed.

"One step at a time". Check my interview with Glenneth Reed about her fitness comeback after exertional compartment syndrome.

During recovery, what activities could/couldn’t you perform?

During my recovery, the doctor did not want me doing anything physical for 3 months. I listened to him and followed his instructions.

What was the most difficult part of your recovery?

Honestly, just the not walking. It was a part of hubby and my week to spend that time together (he would run, I would walk, then we would walk together). At every 5K, when he finished his run, he would walk back and finish with me. I missed this time with him and also missed being active – I no longer had any energy.

Learn how @YourPathToFit found #fitness after exertional compartment syndrome. #inspiration Click To Tweet

What treatment(s) did you follow to get back on track?

The surgeries were what got me back on track. Nothing else I had tried before worked at all.

What are three tips you’d give to someone to find fitness after exertional compartment syndrome and fasciotomy?

  1. Start back slowly and listen to your doctor. You have had major surgery.
  2. Find some alternate forms of exercise when you can return to exercise that you love as an alternate.
  3. Don’t give up!

The series “How To Find Fitness After…”

For this blog series, I chose the interview format because, in the next months, I’ll be sharing the stories and experiences of other athletes. What we all have in common is that we come from being very active to having to lie down for longer than expect to recover from injuries or surgeries.

Our objective is to connect with others who have been through similar situations (or are still struggling). We ourselves had to learn how to start from scratch and overcome different challenges. We want to inspire, motivate, and help others through our own experiences.

Take one step a time on your journey back to #fitness after injury or surgery. #coaching Click To Tweet

Would you like to join the “Find Fitness After…” project?

Are you (or do you know) an athlete who went through a long period of recovery after a medical condition, surgery or injury (non-related to any physical activity)?

If yes, please drop me a line at with subject RECOVERY INTERVIEW. I’d love to hear, and share your story!

Read all the posts in this series:

Please check the list of link parties I join here.

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How To Find Fitness After Exertional Compartment Syndrome.

NOTE: Please feel free to ask questions, but keep in mind that neither the participants or I am doctors or health care providers. We’re sharing information and tips about our specific cases. Although the same practices may also apply to your situation, please consult a professional before doing anything that may harm your wellness.

About The Author

Debbie Rodrigues

Debbie Rodrigues is a powerhouse Executive Assistant by day and a Planning aficionado by night. During her free time, when she is not cycling, you'll probably find her journaling.

Hello, my name is Debbie Rodrigues.

By day, I am a powerhouse Senior Executive Assistant; by night, I am a planning enthusiast. When I'm not cycling, you'll probably find me journaling in my free time.

On my website, you'll find tips to elevate your skill set, build confidence, improve productivity, and achieve success in the things that truly matter to you.