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Case report
Unusual presentation of acute compartment syndrome of the forearm and hand
  1. Ruchi Maniar,
  2. Ali Hussain,
  3. Mohammad Abdur Rehman and
  4. Nikos Reissis
  1. Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Bedford Hospital, Bedford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruchi Maniar; ruchi.maniar1{at}


A 49-year-old man was referred to orthopaedics with an acute onset of left forearm and hand swelling, widespread blisters and erythema after lying face down on the floor for an unknown period of time. He also presented with left wrist stiffness due to pain and clawing of the fingers and glove-type loss of sensation in the whole hand. Any attempt to straighten the fingers or extend the wrist exacerbated the pain. Symptoms deteriorated rapidly. Compartment syndrome was diagnosed and surgical fasciotomies of his left forearm and left hand were performed following multidisciplinary urgent discussions between plastic surgeons, microbiologists, anaesthetists and orthopaedic surgeons. The left forearm and left hand underwent extensive decompression and subsequent skin grafting and had good healing despite the initial skin presentation. The patient has made a satisfactory recovery and has required extensive hand physiotherapy and social care.

  • pain
  • medical education
  • orthopaedics
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • plastic and reconstructive surgery

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed equally to this case report and were involved with planning, conception and design of this report. RM and AH were involved with direct conducting, acquisition and interpretation of data as well as writing of the report. MAR and NR were involved with checking the report.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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