Diagnosis of chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) is relatively rare but has been well documented in athletes. There are, however, few reports regarding return to athletic activity after surgery among elite-level athletes. We hypothesized that a majority of elite-level athletes would successfully return to their previous level of competition following fasciotomy for CECS. A retrospective chart review was performed to identify elite-level athletes (collegiate or professional sport participation) who underwent fasciotomy for CECS over a 3-year period. Data collected included sport or activity, treatment and surgical details, time away from sport/activity after surgery, and ability to return to prior level of activity. Six males and seven females were included in the analysis. Patient age ranged from 17 to 24 years with a mean of 19.7 years. Six patients underwent unilateral lower extremity compartment release, and seven underwent bilateral lower extremity compartment release. The anterior and lateral compartments alone were released in 11 patients (84.6 %). Two patients (15.4 %) underwent four-compartment releases. Eleven patients (84.6 %) were able to return to their previous elite level of sport participation at a mean of 10.6 weeks following surgical fasciotomy. Patients who had four-compartment release had a more than 3.5 week average longer return to full sporting activities (p = 0.011). Fasciotomy is effective in allowing elite athletes with CECS to return to sport.
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Conflict of interest
The authors of the present manuscript declare that they have not proprietary interest or conflict of interest. The authors of the present manuscript, Val Irion, Robert A. Magnussen, Timothy L. Miller, and Christopher C. Kaeding, declare that they have no proprietary interest or conflict of interest.
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Irion, V., Magnussen, R.A., Miller, T.L. et al. Return to activity following fasciotomy for chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol 24, 1223–1228 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00590-014-1433-0