REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY (RSD)

REFLEX SYMPATHEIC DYSTROPHY / CHRONIC REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a painful condition of the arm, hand, leg or foot that occurs after an injury or trauma , such as a fracture. Symptoms vary and may last months or years. Early diagnosis and intervention is essential for a quick recovery. RSD is most likely to occur after an injury that did not heal correctly or a minor trauma to a limb after which the body segment was immobilised for an extended period.

Symptoms
The symptoms and signs of CRPS may include:

  • Burning pain in the arm, hand, leg or foot
  • Pins and needles sensation in the area injured and surrounding areas on the limb
  • Pain that changes in intensity but often feels much worse than may be expected
  • muscle wasting from disuse
  • Tremors or spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Changes to the skin, hair and nails on the affected limb
  • Temperature changes in comparison to the other limb ( very warm and sweaty or cold/clammy)

DIAGNOSIS

Early diagnosis is vital to prevent delayed recovery ( months to years). Seek assessment from a musculo-skeletal physiotherapist or Sports Physiotherapist, Gp, or Rheumatologist or Orthopaedic Surgeon for diagnosis

MANAGEMENT

1. Medical Management for evaluation of bone density changes and pain management

2. Physiotherapy Management involves:

  • de-sensitization of the affected limb
  • restoration of movement
  • weight transference
  • restoration of function

Below is a photo on a foot with RSD following trauma to 5th toe: