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Popliteal entrapment syndrome G047

Last amended 
14 September 2017
Current RMA Instruments
SOP bulletin information on new SOP

SOP Bulletin 198

ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 447.8.
  • ICD-10-AM Codes: I77.89.
Brief description

This condition involves intermittent obstruction to blood flow in the popliteal artery at the back of the knee (popliteal fossa).  It manifests as lower leg pain arising from activities that involve repeated flexion of the calf muscles. There may also be involvement of the popliteal vein or tibial nerve. It may arise due to a developmental defect and/or muscle enlargement due to exercise.  

Confirming the diagnosis

This diagnosis may be suspected on clinical grounds, but requires confirmation by appropriate clinical imaging studies (incl. ultrasound, angiography) that show partial or complete occlusion of the popliteal artery during plantar flexion. 

The relevant medical specialist is an orthopaedic surgeon or vascular surgeon.

Additional diagnoses that may be covered by SOP
  • popliteal artery entrapment syndrome

Conditions that are excluded from SOP
  • Shin splints*
  • Atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease*

* another SOP applies

Clinical onset

Clinical onset is usually under the age of 30.  The condition presents with ischaemic symptoms in the calf with exercise, similar to a compartment syndrome.

Clinical worsening

Clinical worsening may be evidenced by an increase in ischaemic manifestations or the development of arterial dilatation or aneurysm in the popliteal fossa.  Surgical treatment may be required and is usually effective.