Forearm Compartment Syndrome: Evaluation and Management

Hand Clin. 2018 Feb;34(1):53-60. doi: 10.1016/j.hcl.2017.09.006.


Compartment syndrome of the forearm is uncommon but can have devastating consequences. Compartment syndrome is a result of osseofascial swelling leading to decreased tissue perfusion and tissue necrosis. There are numerous causes of forearm compartment syndrome and high clinical suspicion must be maintained to avoid permanent disability. The most widely recognized symptoms include pain out of proportion and pain with passive stretch of the wrist and digits. Early diagnosis and decompressive fasciotomy are essential in the treatment of forearm compartment syndrome. Closure of fasciotomy wounds can often be accomplished by primary closure but many patients require additional forms of soft tissue coverage procedures.

Keywords: Compartment syndrome; Fasciotomy; Forearm trauma; Upper extremity trauma; Volkmann.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Compartment Syndromes / etiology
  • Compartment Syndromes / surgery*
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Fasciotomy
  • Forearm / blood supply
  • Forearm / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Time-to-Treatment