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Acute Compartment Syndrome of the Foot Due To Frostbite: Literature Review and Case Report

      Abstract

      Acute compartment syndrome of the foot and ankle is a relatively rare clinical finding. Lower extremity compartment syndrome is customarily due to vascular or orthopedic traumatic limb-threatening pathologic issues. Clinical correlation and measurement of intracompartmental pressure are paramount to efficient diagnosis and treatment. Delayed treatment can lead to local and systemically adverse consequences. Frostbite, a comparatively more common pathologic entity of the distal extremities, occurs when tissues are exposed to freezing temperatures. Previously found in military populations, frostbite has become increasingly prevalent in the general population, leading to more clinical presentations to foot and ankle specialists. We present a review of the published data of acute foot compartment syndrome and pedal frostbite, with pathogenesis, treatment, and subsequent sequelae. A case report illustrating 1 example of bilateral foot, atraumatic compartment syndrome, is highlighted in the present report. The patient presented with changes consistent with distal bilateral forefoot frostbite, along with gangrenous changes to the distal tuft of each hallux. At admission and evaluation, the patient had increasing rhabdomyolysis with no other clear etiology. Compartment pressures were measured in the emergency room and were >100 mm Hg in the medial compartment and 50 mm Hg dorsally. The patient was taken to the operating room urgently for bilateral pedal compartment release. Both pathologic entities have detrimental outcomes if not treated in a timely and appropriate manner, with amputation rates increasing with increasing delay.

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