Compartment Syndrome in the Foot and Leg

Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2023 Jan;40(1):1-21. doi: 10.1016/j.cpm.2022.07.002. Epub 2022 Oct 13.


Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is a common cause of exercise-related leg pain that can be debilitating to many athletes. Diagnosis of this syndrome is based on patient history and clinical examination in correlation with intracompartmental pressure measurement or other advanced diagnostic tests. Treatments include initial nonsurgical management, such as modification of causative activity and gait retraining with physical therapy. If symptoms persist, surgical fasciotomy may be warranted via an open or minimally invasive approach. In this article, we review the anatomy, pathophysiology, history and physical examination, diagnostic modalities, treatment, and complications of chronic exertional compartment syndrome in the athlete.

Keywords: Athletes; Chronic exertional compartment syndrome; Compartment syndrome; Exertional-related leg pain; Sports injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome
  • Compartment Syndromes* / diagnosis
  • Compartment Syndromes* / etiology
  • Compartment Syndromes* / surgery
  • Fasciotomy
  • Humans
  • Leg*