Chandra Crawford, gold medal winner in the women’s cross-country sprint at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, experienced chronic compartment syndrome on and off for four years. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an exercise induced condition caused by increased pressure in the compartments surrounding the muscles and tissues in the leg. The increased pressure compromises the muscles, circulation and nerves and results in severe pain and limited function. Chronic compartment syndrome is not a common injury, but competitive cross country skiers and skate skiers are more prone to developing the syndrome because of the repetitive nature of the sport and the increased lower leg stabilizing required by the muscles in the lower extremity. Runners, exercise walkers and cyclists are also at a greater risk. She missed competitions last season, although she said she had a great training season in 2008 prior to a late November flare which produced more pain and problems in her foot and leg and led to her decision to have surgery. Chandra has fully recovered and is heading to Vancouver.
From Chandra’s latest blog update: “I’m racing the classic sprint on the 17th for sure. Beyond that I hope to be on the Feb 22nd Freestyle team sprint and February 25th 4x 5 km relay but with our strong women’s team I’ll just have to wait and see what the coaches decide.”