chronic compartment syndrome

anterior compartment syndrome

A condition that typically arises in the anterior compartment of the lower leg, characterised by cramping, pain and tightness, often with numbness and tingling in the foot.

chronic compartment syndrome

An increase in intracompartmental pressure that may occur during exercise or other forms of exertional activity. The increased intracompartmental pressure decreases blood flow to the distal extremity and impairs nerve function.


Individuals who have herniated muscles that occlude the neurovascular network, unyielding fascia in a closed compartment, or excessive hypertrophy of muscles during exercise are predisposed to chronic compartment syndrome.


The patient will complain of pain, numbness, and weakness in the involved extremity during exercise. Inspection may also reveal cyanosis and swelling in the distal portion of the involved limb. Symptoms may subside following activity or may lead to muscle necrosis, requiring fasciotomy.

References in periodicals archive ?
The pain and swelling of chronic compartment syndrome, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is most often caused by athletic exertion.
1990) Modified criteria for the objective diagnosis of chronic compartment syndrome of the leg.
1999) Effort-related chronic compartment syndrome of the lower extremity.
Styf J, Lysell E: Chronic compartment syndrome in the erector spinae muscle.
Soderberg TA: Bilateral chronic compartment syndrome in the forearm and the hand.
Pedowitz RA, Hargens AR, Mubarak SJ, Gershuni DH: Modified criteria for the objective diagnosis of chronic compartment syndrome of the leg.
Kitajima I, Tachibana S, Hirota Y, et al: One-portal technique of endoscopic fasciotomy: chronic compartment syndrome of the lower leg.
Patients with chronic compartment syndrome complain of fullness in the lower leg and a painful pressure that occurs at a specific moment in training and may persist for hours after exercise.

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