What are the signs and symptoms of foot drop caused by anterior compartment syndrome?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: James W Pritchett, MD; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Clinical presentation of an acute anterior compartment syndrome includes pain with passive toe flexion, some weakness of toe extension, and diminished sensation in the first web space because of deep peroneal nerve compression. The extensor hallucis longus (EHL) usually is the first muscle to show weakness. Anterior compartment syndrome may follow trauma to the extremity but also can be observed in march gangrene (ie, ischemic myositis of leg muscles following exercise [7] ). In march gangrene, local erythema, heat, and brawny edema over the anterior compartment are present.

Regardless of the cause, wide fasciotomy of the anterior compartment must be performed to salvage the ischemic muscles.


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