Compartment syndrome of the foot in children

S. I. Silas, J. E. Herzenberg, M. S. Myerson, P. D. Sponseller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Compartment syndrome of the foot following trauma is well known in adults but has not been discussed frequently in texts on pediatric trauma. In the current study, seven children and teenagers were identified as having had compartment syndrome of the foot during a five-year period. The average age at the time of the diagnosis was ten years (range, four to sixteen years). The cause of the compartment syndrome was a crush injury in six patients and a motor-vehicle accident in one. All patients had swelling and pain with passive motion, but none had neurovascular deficits. Only the two oldest children had an osseous injury that necessitated open reduction and internal fixation, but all had elevated compartment pressures ranging from thirty- eight to fifty-five millimeters of mercury (5.07 to 7.33 kilopascals). All seven patients had fasciotomies of the nine compartments of the foot, and the skin was closed primarily within five days after the operation. No patient had complications or needed a skin graft. All patients had a good or excellent result after an average duration of follow-up of forty-one months (range, twenty-three to fifty-three months). Orthopaedists managing children who have a traumatic injury of the foot, especially a crush injury, should have a high index of suspicion for compartment syndrome, even in the absence of severe fracture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-361
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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