Two minimal incision fasciotomy for chronic exertional compartment syndrome of the lower leg

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2006 Feb;14(2):193-7. doi: 10.1007/s00167-004-0613-6. Epub 2005 May 18.


Chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) of the leg is a pathological condition often related to overuse in subject who engage repetitive physical activities. Fascial release is the mainstay of surgical management. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results obtained with a double incision decompressive fasciotomy. Eighteen consecutive athletes with a diagnosis of anterior and/or lateral CECS of the leg were operated on with a minimal double incision fascial release after a mean period of 4 months after onset of symptoms. In 11 cases (61%) CECS was bilateral. Surgery was performed without tourniquet and active mobilization was starting immediately. Sports activities were resumed gradually at a mean period of 25 days. The athletes were followed until 2 years. All resumed pre-injury level sports activity. Two patients (18%) of the 11 who underwent to bilateral fasciotomy referred a sensation of leg weakness for an average period of 3 months. The surgical technique presented in this paper seems to be a good mean to treat anterior and lateral leg CECS. The use of tourniquet is deconselled to obtain an accurate intraoperative haemostasis so reducing the risk of post-operative haematoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Compartment Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Compartment Syndromes / surgery*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Fasciotomy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiopathology
  • Leg / surgery*
  • Male
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome