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Surg Radiol Anat. 2012 Dec;34(10):929-33. doi: 10.1007/s00276-012-0982-3. Epub 2012 May 26.

Compartments of the foot: topographic anatomy.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University Hospital of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 62, 50924, Cologne, Germany.


Recent publications have renewed the debate regarding the number of foot compartments. There is also no consensus regarding allocation of individual muscles and communication between compartments. The current study examines the anatomic topography of the foot compartments anew using 32 injections of epoxy-resin and subsequent sheet plastination in 12 cadaveric foot specimens. Six compartments were identified: dorsal, medial, lateral, superficial central, deep forefoot, and deep hindfoot compartments. Communication was evident between the deep hindfoot compartment and the superficial central and deep central forefoot compartments. In the hindfoot, the neurovascular bundles were located in separate tissue sheaths between the central hindfoot compartment and the medial compartment. In the forefoot, the medial and lateral bundles entered the deep central forefoot compartment. The deep central hindfoot compartment housed the quadratus plantae muscle, and after calcaneus fracture could develop an isolated compartment syndrome.

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