Highly active people, including competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts, have a higher risk of developing certain vascular (blood vessel) problems. Without treatment, these problems — including popliteal entrapment syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome — can make it hard to safely do these activities.
Fortunately, Rush vascular surgeons specialize in treating even the rarest vascular disorders in athletes. We offer the expertise you need to get relief from your symptoms — and back on the field, court, treadmill or trail.
When to Seek Care From a Vascular Surgeon
Although vascular disease is usually treatable, it’s often misdiagnosed in people who are young, active and otherwise healthy. Symptoms of vascular disorders that tend to affect these individuals include:
- Aching, cramping or heaviness in or around your calf muscle
- Hand weakness or discoloration
- Lower leg swelling accompanied by pain, itching or skin discoloration
- Numbness, weakness or cramping in your thigh
- Pain, numbness and tingling in your hand
- Pain, swelling or protruding veins in your shoulder or upper arm
If you haven’t found effective treatments from other providers, it may be time to see a vascular surgeon at Rush.
We’ve diagnosed and treated athletes with all types of vascular disorders, even those that are uncommon in the general population. Our areas of expertise include:
- Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Digital ischemia
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
- Iliac artery endofibrosis
- May-Thurner syndrome
- Paget-Schroetter syndrome (also known as effort thrombosis)
- Palmar arch injury
- Pectoralis minor syndrome
- Popliteal entrapment syndrome
- Quadrilateral space syndrome
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
We can also provide a second opinion to explore your treatment options if you’ve already been diagnosed with a vascular disorder.
A Diagnosis You Can Count On
The earlier you’re diagnosed with a vascular disorder, the sooner you can begin treatments that provide relief.
Rush vascular surgeons use a combination of technology and talent to identify what’s causing your symptoms. We offer:
- Advanced vascular imaging procedures: We use one or more tests to confirm whether certain blood vessels are compressed, narrowed or blocked. These include computed tomography angiography (CTA), vascular ultrasound and ankle-brachial index (ABI) tests.
- Extensive experience: Our vascular surgeons know what signs and symptoms to look for, and how they’re affecting your endurance or performance. And we know what tests to order to diagnose you quickly and accurately.
- Unique expertise in vascular sports medicine: We see active people of all ages, ranging from high school, college and professional athletes to everyday runners and cyclists. We understand how important it is for you to continue playing or performing at your highest level.
Once we confirm your diagnosis, we’ll create your treatment plan using standardized guidelines that are routinely reviewed and updated. In other words, we use the latest scientific research to decide which nonsurgical or surgical treatments can help you.
Rush Excellence in Vascular Disease Care for Athletes
- Collaborative care: Untreated vascular disease can cause problems such as pain, decreased mobility and skin ulcers (open sores). If you need additional care for any complications, your vascular surgeon will refer you to other Rush experts who can help. Depending on your needs, this may include providers who specialize in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedic care, cardiology or wound care.
- Rehabilitation you can rely on: For many of our younger vascular disease patients, physical therapy is key to reducing pain and regaining function. Rush physical therapists take the time to understand how your symptoms affect you. They’re skilled at creating rehabilitation plans tailored to your personal goals — and helping you meet those goals.
- Sophisticated surgical solutions: Not everyone with vascular disease needs surgery. But if nonsurgical treatments can’t restore normal blood flow in your affected blood vessel, surgery may be your best option. Rush vascular surgeons offer a wide range of procedures to address your symptoms. For example, we can “debulk” (remove small amounts of) a muscle that’s pressing against an artery. Or we can reroute blood flow around a narrowed or blocked blood vessel using a procedure called vascular bypass surgery.