Characteristic trends of lower-extremity complex regional pain syndrome

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2004 Sep-Oct;43(5):296-301. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2004.07.004.


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a multifaceted, progressive, and potentially devastating disorder generally affecting the extremities. In addition, scant information is available regarding the types of patients who develop lower-extremity CRPS. This is a retrospective chart review study of 64 patients who presented to a pain clinic with CRPS of the lower extremity. The study examined 23 variables broadly classified under demographic characteristics, CRPS characteristics, and healthcare utilization. The sample was found to consist of predominantly white, middle-aged women with CRPS I. Subjective complaints consisted of burning, sharp, throbbing, or aching pain with shooting symptoms. Initial presenting clinical findings included allodynia, edema, erythema, and hyperesthesia. The most common precipitating injuries were blunt trauma of the foot with or without fracture or ankle sprain. The most common inciting surgical events were bunionectomy, tarsal tunnel release, and heel-spur surgery. Referral to the pain clinic was delayed more commonly in trauma patients than in postsurgical patients, with a corresponding increase in pain clinic visits for treatment. This study may act as a guide for physicians treating the lower extremity to aid in the recognition of lower extremity complex regional pain syndrome and its characteristics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ankle Injuries / complications
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / etiology
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Foot Injuries / complications
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Clinics
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies