Incidence of complex regional pain syndrome type I after fractures of the distal radius

Eur J Pain. 2003;7(5):457-62. doi: 10.1016/s1090-3801(03)00015-6.


Aim of this study was to analyse the incidence CRPS-I after a fracture of the distal radius and to analyse risk factors. Patients who visited the Emergency Unit of the University Hospital, with a fracture of distal radius were asked to participate. As risk factors for CRPS-I, number of repositions (with or without local anaesthesia), additional cast changes and pain during the cast period, were assessed. In a structured interview social life events (SLEs) and psychological and/or psychiatric history were assessed. The patients filled out the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90). In total 88 patients participated in the study. One female (1%, 95% CI: 0.2 to 6%), age 69 years with the following characteristics developed CRPS-I: one set of local anaesthetics, one repositioning attempt, no additional cast changes, average pain scores, no life events and her total score on the SCL-90 of 117, was slightly above average. Based on the results of this study it is concluded that the incidence of CRPS-I may be low (1%, 95% CI: 0.2 to 6%) after fractures of the distal radius. Further the risk factors described in literature play a minor role in the development of CRPS-I.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Casts, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Radius Fractures / complications*
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / epidemiology*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / etiology*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide