Fasciotomy for Lateral Lower-leg Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Aniek Philomena Maria van Zantvoort*, Johan Anthonius de Bruijn, Henricus P. H. Hundscheid, Marike van der Cruijsen-Raaijmakers, Joep A. W. Teijink, Marc R. Scheltinga

*Corresponding author for this work

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Exercise-induced lower leg pain may be caused by chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS). Anterior or deep posterior compartments are usually affected. Knowledge about CECS of the lateral compartment (lat-CECS) is limited and outcome after fasciotomy is unknown. The purpose of this study is to report on success rates of fasciotomy in patients with lat-CECS. Surgical success rates in patients with lat-CECS diagnosed with a dynamic intracompartmental pressure (ICP) measurement were studied using a questionnaire (success: excellent or good as judged by the patient; unsuccessful: moderate, fair or poor). We conducted ICP measurements in 247 patients for suspected lat-CECS, of whom 78 were positively diagnosed. Following exclusion (n = 11), 30 of the eligible 67 patients completed the questionnaire. Bilateral (70 %, n = 21/30) exertional pain (97 %, n = 29) and a feeling of tightness (93 %, n = 28) were the most frequently reported symptoms. Four years after fasciotomy, severity and frequency of symptoms had dropped significantly. Long-term surgical success was reported by 33 % (n = 10; excellent n = 4, good n = 6). Seventy-three percent (n = 22) had resumed sports activities (9 same level, 13 lower level). In conclusion, a fasciotomy for lat-CECS was successful in the long term in just one of three operated patients in this retrospective study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1087
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • CECS
  • surgery
  • intracompartmental pressure measurement
  • operation
  • PAIN

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