Chronic exertional compartment syndrome of the foot

Sports Med Arthrosc Rev. 2009 Sep;17(3):198-202. doi: 10.1097/JSA.0b013e3181a6a263.


Chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) usually refers to myoneural ischemia from a reversible increase in tissue pressure within a myofascial compartment. CECS of the leg is well documented, as its first description by Mavor in 1956. CECS of the foot remains underdiagnosed, and has been reported in the literature only on an anecdotal basis. Wood Jones proposed that there were 4 compartments in the foot, but Manoli and Weber suggest that there are 9 separate compartments. Clinical signs and symptoms of CECS of the foot remain vague, diverse, and lack the consistency of its counterpart in the leg. The most effective treatment is a fasciotomy. We present a literature review of the condition to increase the awareness and high index of suspicion among the clinicians as the symptoms are often vague and, to consider the condition as part of the differential diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / pathology
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Chronic Disease
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Compartment Syndromes / pathology
  • Compartment Syndromes / surgery
  • Foot / anatomy & histology
  • Foot / pathology*
  • Foot / surgery
  • Foot Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Foot Injuries / pathology
  • Foot Injuries / surgery
  • Humans
  • Physical Exertion*