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Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome of the Foot

Padhiar, Nat MSc, PhD, FCPodS* † ‡; Allen, Mike MBBS, FRCS§; King, John B. MBBS, FRCS* ‡

Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review: September 2009 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 198-202
doi: 10.1097/JSA.0b013e3181a6a263
Review Articles

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) usually refers to myoneural ischemia from a reversible increase in tissue pressure within a myofascial compartment. CECS of the leg is well documented, as its first description by Mavor in 1956. CECS of the foot remains underdiagnosed, and has been reported in the literature only on an anecdotal basis. Wood Jones proposed that there were 4 compartments in the foot, but Manoli and Weber suggest that there are 9 separate compartments. Clinical signs and symptoms of CECS of the foot remain vague, diverse, and lack the consistency of its counterpart in the leg. The most effective treatment is a fasciotomy. We present a literature review of the condition to increase the awareness and high index of suspicion among the clinicians as the symptoms are often vague and, to consider the condition as part of the differential diagnosis.

*Centre for Sports & Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London

Sports Injury Clinic, The Royal London Hospital

London Sportscare, London Independent Hospital

§Sports Medicine Department, Leicester General Hospital, London, England, UK

Reprints: Nat Padhiar, MSc, PhD, FCPodS, London Sports Care, The London Independent Hospital, 1 Beaumont Square, London E1 4NL, England (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.