Free QuestionsGeneral Surgery

Compartment syndrome of limb

Q) All are true about compartment syndrome of limb except?

a) Diagnoses is unlikely if pulse is felt distally

b) There is pain on passive stretching of the limb

c) Pain is out of proportion to the signs

d) Muscles of calf and forearm are commonly involved


When hydrostatic pressure within a fascial compartment increases sufficiently it will compromise the effective circulation within the compartment leading to tissue ischemia and necrosis. Muscles of forearm, calf and, hand and foot are commonly involved.

The most reliable CLINICAL symptom is disproportionate severe pain and most USEFUL SIGN is pain on passive stretching of the involved compartment. 

Of note is that peripheral pulses are generally NOT affected and alteration in sensation is a late sign. There can be compartment syndrome and pulses may still be paalpable

Ref: Bailey 26th 431