Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a painful chronic condition in the lower extremity lasting more than six months that occasionally occurs after an injury. Although the cause of CRPS is often unknown, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of CRPS as the treatment is most effective when started early.
The following are various signs and symptoms of CRPS:
- Intense burning or throbbing pain in a leg or foot
- Pain occurring from a non-painful stimuli
- Sustained muscle contractions or muscle spasms causing twisting, repetitive movements, and/or rigid joints
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Swelling of painful area
- Changes in skin temperature, color, and texture
- Changes in hair and nail growth
The beginning signs of CRPS are most commonly pain, swelling, redness, and hypersensitivity, which may last for days to weeks. Over time, motor changes may occur along with change in skin temperature, color, and texture. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible. If you experience constant, severe pain that affects your leg or foot, call your podiatrist as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis of CRPS as early treatment is vital for this painful chronic condition. Your podiatrist may treat the condition with neurological stimulation, physical therapy, and may recommend taking medications such as vitamin C, Gabapentin, and/or corticosteroids.
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