Intramuscular pressure varies with depth. The tibialis anterior muscle studied in 12 volunteers

Acta Orthop Scand. 1993 Jun;64(3):377-81. doi: 10.3109/17453679308993649.


Pressures in the tibialis anterior muscle were recorded at rest and during exercise with transducer-tipped catheters in 12 volunteers while they were supine or standing. The recordings were repeated with venous stasis created by an inflated tourniquet cuff on the thigh. Catheters were placed at 3 different sites in the muscle: catheter I adjacent to the deep surface of the fascia over the anterior compartment; catheter II between the fascia and the central tendon; and catheter III deep in the muscle close to the interosseous membrane. In both the supine and standing positions the intramuscular pressure at rest and the muscle relaxation pressure during exercise, obtained by catheter II, were greater than the corresponding pressures measured by the superficially located catheter I in the normal as well as in the volume loaded limb. The same conditions for pressure measurement consistently revealed lower pressures recorded by catheter III compared to II, but the difference was not significant. Our results indicate that intramuscular pressure increases centripetally, as the centrally lying tendon is approached. We conclude that pressure measurements for diagnosis of acute and chronic compartment syndromes and in ergonomic studies should be based on recordings from a standard location of the catheter within the muscle and a standard posture of the subject.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Pressure
  • Reference Values