Chronic leg pain in athletes due to a recurrent compartment syndrome

Am J Sports Med. 1984 Mar-Apr;12(2):148-51. doi: 10.1177/036354658401200211.


A series of 29 patients, all engaged in sports activity on a regular basis, suffering from recurrent compartmental syndrome, is reported. The syndrome is not restricted only to long distance runners but to athletes involved in a variety of sports activities (soccer, volleyball, cycle racing, gymnastics, judo, physical education, and long distance running). Although most patients presented activity-related leg pain, some patients mainly complained of ankle weakness and recurrent ankle distortions at fatigue. The wick catheter technique proved to be most useful to determine which compartments were involved. The severity of clinical symptoms correlated highly with the anomalies of the tissue pressure measurements. The predominance of deep posterior compartment and multiple compartment involvement are in contrast with most previous reports. Conservative treatment was unsuccessful in every patient, whereas surgical decompression of the involved compartments yielded favorable results in those cases where all the involved compartments were released.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Compartment Syndromes / complications*
  • Compartment Syndromes / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg*
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Recurrence
  • Sports Medicine*
  • Time Factors