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B. What Athletes Should Know About Leg Pain

Narrator: This is Science Today. Leg pain in athletes is often caused by stress fractures or shin splints but the source of pain can sometimes be a disorder called chronic compartment syndrome. Dr. Robert Pedowitz, a professor of sports medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says in terms of treatment, it's important to know the difference.

Pedowitz: Because the treatment is very different in a stress fracture versus a chronic compartment syndrome. One of the areas of research here at UCSD has been in developing techniques for making the diagnosis of chronic compartment syndrome.

Narrator: This disorder occurs when pressure within the muscle during exercise goes beyond a certain threshold, restricting blood flow and causing pain.

Pedowitz: So we have provided an evaluation service where we actually measure the pressure within the muscle by putting tiny catheters within the muscle and then we monitor the pressure before, during and after exercise. I suspect more patients in the past haven't had the surgery that can fix their problem because they never had the diagnosis established.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.