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Best Exercises/Activities For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

  • Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is not a very common condition(1)
  • It affects the athletes or people involved in vigorous exercise(2)
  • Surgery is the primary treatment option for the disease.
  • Exercise, activities, or yoga may help during the recovery process after the surgery(3)

There is no specific exercise regime as an alternative treatment protocol(4)

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is a rare condition of the vascular system in the legs which affects certain young athletes. The muscle and tendon located near the knee compress the popliteal artery — the main artery that passes through the knee and extends behind the knee. Artery compression restricts blood flow to the lower legs and may damage the arteries. It is also known as PAES.(1)

Best Exercises/Activities For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

Adjust the Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome management to suit the presence or absence of symptoms. Asymptomatic patients with accidental occlusion symptoms of an asymptomatic pop artery usually need treatment, as most of these patients never show symptoms or progression of the disease. Conversely, even in asymptomatic patients, where PAES originates from abnormal muscle insertion, surgical correction is also the treatment of choice.

Thus, Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome treatment is usually surgical and involves the consultation of a blood vessel (vascular surgeon) specialist surgeon. The surgery involves lessening the compression by releasing the artery from the muscle. If the artery is blocked, the surgeon must bypass the area affected and repair any muscle problems.

Hospitalization time is usually one to two days. Physiotherapy may be performed in an outpatient clinic to help with stretching and flexibility exercises to promote rehabilitation. You can resume training and normal daily activities once you have fully recovered.

Aerobic exercise and yoga will also assist in the healing process. Most athletes can start aerobic exercise without impact in one week after the operation, and then start exercising within about four weeks.(2,4)

Follow Up Care For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

An ultrasonic examination after the repair will be performed in the office and the blood pressure of the feet will be checked within one to two months after one year. If the artery has returned to normal, follow-up will no longer be needed unless your symptoms worsen or you have to bypass the artery.

PAES is a rare but important cause of sports-people suffering from leg pain. Because the PAES diagnosis relies heavily on careful vascular examination, this document has gained greater recognition in the literature on vascular surgery.

Patients with PAES however come to the clinics for orthopedics and sports medicine. PAES diagnosis cannot be overlooked, because the missed diagnosis can lead to delays in care, possible morbidity, and the possibility of inadequate surgical intervention. Severe sequelae, such as damage to the arteries may occur.(1,4)

Symptoms Of Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome patients have a history of pain, numbness, exhaustion, or calf cramps during exercise. Symptoms usually resolve after a 3 to 5-minute rest time. In certain cases, during exercise, pain is often present concurrently and affects the same leg. They may notice, in some cases, leg swelling. PAES symptoms are similar to an unspecified cystic disease. If the young patient senses pain while walking, both conditions will be examined by the doctor.(1)

Diagnosis Of Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

Since the condition is fairly rare, the PAES can be difficult to identify, and its signs and symptoms are somewhat close to those seen in young and active populations of other clinical institutions. The incidence of functional PAES is lower compared to another activity-related diagnosis of leg pain: the reported incidence ranges from less than 1 percent to 3.5 percent in military recruits. In the examination and health examination of our patients, certain functions should remind the attending physician to pay attention to the possibility of developing PAES.(2,3)

Risk Factors For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome occurs most commonly among male athletes under the age of 30, especially those who run or play football, soccer, or similar sports. This condition affects young female athletes too, however. As the muscles alongside the artery grow, the compression risk increases. This can be seen as injury caused by overuse of the muscles.

Inherently, fewer than 3 percent of people are prone to develop PAES, and most people never experience symptoms.(3)


  1. Grimm N, Danilkowicz R, Shortell C, Toth A. Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome. JBJS reviews. 2020;8(1):e0035.
  2. Hameed M, Coupland A, Davies AH. Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome: an approach to diagnosis and management. British journal of sports medicine. 2018;52(16):1073-1074.
  3. Shahi N, Arosemena M, Kwon J, Abai B, Salvatore D, DiMuzio P. Functional Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome: A Review of Diagnosis and Management. Annals of vascular surgery. 2019.
  4. Gaunder C, McKinney B, Rivera J. Popliteal artery entrapment or chronic exertional compartment syndrome? Case reports in medicine. 2017;2017.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 19, 2020

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