Complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS) is thought to be caused by dysregulation of the
nervous system. There are two types. The first is caused by direct injury to the affected nerve
and the other happens without any obvious injury to the affected nerve. Symptoms and
progression are the same for both types. CPRS is quite painful and requires immediate
Common symptoms of CPRS include itching, burning, swelling, and discoloration of the foot and
ankle. Severity of the symptoms will depend upon how the condition has progressed. In the
early months or acute stage you should look for chronic, burning pain, joint stiffness and
warmth or redness of the affected area.
During the dystrophic stage, or after about four to nine months symptoms include increased
sensitivity to touch, brittle nails, more intense pain experienced over a larger area. Finally in the
third or atrophic phase, after the condition has progressed beyond a year, there is less mobility
in the foot and ankle. There may be less pain but additional complications as the condition
often spreads to other parts of the body.
Early diagnosis and treatment is critical for best outcomes. Our Atlanta podiatrist will review
your medical history and perform a physical examination. Additional testing may be required
for the most complete understanding of the symptoms and their impact.
Over the counter medications such as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication provide
some relief. Prescription medication may also be appropriate. For example, stronger pain
relievers or antidepressants. Living with extreme, chronic pain and sensitivity to touch can
impact quality of life to such a degree that depression results. Antidepressants may offer some
relief. Talk therapy is another useful option.
Physical and/or occupational therapy and injections have also been successful for treating
CPRS. Again, CPRS is best treated early. Once the condition has progressed or if there is no
response to non-surgical treatment, surgery may be an appropriate option.
Surgical interventions include implantation of a spinal cord stimulator that delivers impulses to
the affected nerve.
If you suspect you have complex regional pain syndrome of the foot or ankle, don’t wait. Please
call today for an appointment. Our Atlanta podiatrist will evaluate your condition and work with
you to develop a treatment plan. We have many years’ experience treating a variety of
conditions. Trust our knowledgeable, caring staff to understand your health concerns and help
you feel better fast.