The compartment syndrome has been defined as an elevation of the interstitial pressure in a closed osteofascial compartment resulting in microvascular compromise. The only effective treatment is early decompression of the involved compartment. In acute conditions, this decompression can only be established if skin and fascia are incised over the muscular part of the compartment. A good knowledge of the anatomy and importance of the fascia generalis, communis and propria is necessary for successful and complete decompression. Classic and more recent anatomical and clinical data are selected from the surgical literature to provide comprehensive and anatomically based guidelines for fasciotomies of the upper and lower limbs.