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Curr Sports Med Rep. 2016 May-Jun;15(3):191-8. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000261.

Nonoperative Management of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome: A Systematic Review.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Sports Medicine, Iowa City, IA.


Although nonoperative treatment options for chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) are often used in clinical practice, supporting evidence is limited. The objective of this study was to systematically review the literature for nonsurgical treatment options for CECS of the lower leg. The literature search identified seven articles describing in total four different treatment options: massage, gait changes, chemodenervation, and ultrasound-guided (USG) fascial fenestration. Pertinent studies were in the form of case series and one case report, which limited the robustness of the data. Nevertheless, all four treatment options have little to no reported adverse effect profiles and can be considered in clinical practice. In addition, gait changes and USG fascial fenestration were found to have continued effect at 1 and 1.5 years, respectively.

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