Managing risk: Compartment syndromes of the foot

By Steven L. Haddad, MD

Heightened awareness will assist the observant orthopaedic surgeon in avoiding litigation for the sequela of a missed compartment syndrome.

Acute compartment syndrome of the foot was first described in the literature in 1981. It is similar in pathophysiology to compartment syndrome of the lower leg and results in ischemic changes to both nerves and muscles due to elevated interstitial pressures within tight osseofascial compartments. Prolonged ischemia may lead to irreversible destruction of myoneural tissue and subsequent fibrosis. Thus, a heightened awareness of this condition will assist the observant orthopaedic surgeon in avoiding litigation for the sequela of a missed compartment syndrome.

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