Exertional compartment syndrome of the leg: steps for expedient return to activity

Phys Sportsmed. 1996 Apr;24(4):31-46. doi: 10.3810/psm.1996.04.1304.


The pain and swelling associated with exertional compartment syndrome is caused by raised intracompartmental pressures possibly induced by muscle swelling or increased osmotic pressure. Although either the acute or chronic form of exertional compartment syndrome may occur, chronic is more common. Patients typically experience pain and swelling and may also have sensory deficits or paresthesias, and motor loss or weakness. Diagnosis is confirmed by intracompartmental pressure measurements before and after exercise. Although activity modification may alleviate symptoms, fasciotomy may be required.