Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2016 Apr;33(2):219-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cpm.2015.12.002. Epub 2016 Feb 3.


Increased tissue pressure within a fascial compartment may be the result from any increase in volume within its contents, or any decrease in size of the fascial covering or its distensibility. This may lead to symptoms of leg tightness, pain or numbness brought about by exercise. There are multiple differential diagnoses of exercise induced leg pain and the proper diagnoses of chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) is made by a careful history and by exclusion of other maladies and confirmed by compartment syndrome testing as detailed in this text. Surgical fasciotomies for the anterior, lateral, superficial and deep posterior compartments are described in detail along with ancillary procedures for chronic shin splints that should allow the athlete to return to competitive activity.

Keywords: Chronic compartment syndrome; Chronic exertional compartment syndrome; Exercise induced leg pain; Exercise neuropraxia; Fasciotomy; Intracompartmental pressure testing; Medial tibial stress syndrome; Shin splints; Soleus bridge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Compartment Syndromes / etiology
  • Compartment Syndromes / surgery*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fasciotomy
  • Humans
  • Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome / diagnosis