Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain disorder that typically affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot). CRPS is characterized by severe pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness, color changes, temperature changes, skin changes, and nail growth changes in the affected limb. CRPS is often instigated by a bony fracture, crush injury, or surgery and occasionally by a stroke or heart attack. There are two types of CRPS:
- CRPS Type I (formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy) corresponds to patients without a known peripheral nerve injury.
- CRPS Type II (formerly known as causalgia) develops after a known peripheral nerve injury.
The exact pathogenesis of CRPS is still an active area of study, but is thought to be due to maladaptive changes within the peripheral and central nervous systems. CRPS is considered a relatively rare condition that can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those affected. Although there is no cure, various treatments can help make the disorder more manageable.