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Exertional Medial Compartment Syndrome of the Foot—Referred Pain and Sequelae of Delayed Diagnosis

A Case Report

Park, Young Hwan MD*; Ahn, Jeong Hwan MD*; Choi, Gi Won MD; Kim, Hak Jun MD, PhD*

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: November 2019 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p e83–e85
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000582
Case Report

Abstract: In a 31-year-old man, the diagnosis of medial compartment syndrome of foot was delayed for 8 days. In contrast to previously reported cases, the patient presented with mainly bilateral lateral thigh-referred pain rather than foot pain. Although delayed decompression of the medial compartment provided dramatic relief of the referred pain, the patient complained of sensory deficit at the medial side of the foot and flexion deformity of the great toe at the final follow-up visit. Medial compartment syndrome of the foot can cause referred pain, and delayed or missed diagnosis can cause irreversible damage. Therefore, prompt diagnosis of compartment syndrome is crucial, and clinicians must consider the possibility of referred pain when the origin of pain is uncertain.

*Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea; and

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, Korea.

Corresponding Author: Hak Jun Kim, MD, PhD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Korea University Guro Hospital, 148 Gurodong-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul 08308, Korea (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received October 10, 2017

Accepted January 11, 2018

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