Fractures account for 75% of cases of acute compartment syndrome. Other injuries to tissue that can cause the condition include crush injuries, burn injuries, contusions, overly constrictive bandages, and gunshot wounds. Burns, envenomation injuries, intravenous (IV) extravasation, and bleeding diathesis / vascular disorders are other non-traumatic causes.
- Tibial fractures (eg, tibial shaft fractures) are most common cause for compartment syndrome of lower leg.
- Lower leg is the most common place to develop compartment syndrome, followed by forearm, thigh, and upper arm.
- For the forearm, distal radius fractures in adults are most common; in pediatrics, the most common cause is supracondylar humerus fractures.
- Compartment syndrome may also occur in the hand secondary to intravenous medication / fluid extravasation.
Early diagnosis, pressure monitoring, and fasciotomy can preserve function. If not treated immediately, damage to nerves and muscles may be irreversible. When muscle has become necrotic, amputation may be required.