Orthoteers homepage Advertise on Orthoteers
Orthoteers Junior Orthoteers Orthopaedic Biomechanics Orthopaedic World Literature Society Educational Resources Image Gallery About Orthoteers Orthoteers Members search


Also: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Sudeck's Atrophy, Causalgia

First clinical description was in 1864 when Doctor Mitchell published a classic description of causalgia in a paper entitled, "Gunshot Wounds and Other Injuries of Nerves" 


  • An abnormal reaction to injury characterised by pain, swelling, stiffness, vasomotor changes and osteoporosis of the affected part

New Classification:

CRPS type I (RSD)

  •  the clinical findings include regional pain, sensory changes, allodynia, abnormalities of temperature, abnormal sudomotor activity, edema, and an abnormal skin color that occur after a noxious event.

CRPS type II (Causalgia) 

  • includes all foregoing features with a peripheral nerve lesion.

Old Classification of RSD (Langford):

Minor causalgia
Purely sensory nerve to distal portion of limb
Minor Tramatic dystrophy
Most common type
Shoulder hand syndrome
Proximal trauma or painful visceral lesion (shoulder or neck injury, cervical disc, PU, MI, pancost tumour etc)
Major traumatic dystrophy
Trauma that produces swelling, redess, dysfunction eg crush injuries and colles fractures head the list
Major causalgia
Partial injury to a major mixed nerve in the proximal part of the extremity

Making the Diagnosis of RSD/CRPS

The diagnosis of RSD/CRPS can be made in the following context. 

A history of trauma to the affected area associated with pain that is disproportionate to the inciting event plus one or more of the following:

  1. Abnormal function of the sympathetic nervous system.
  2. Swelling.
  3. Movement disorder (stiffness).
  4. Changes in tissue growth (dystrophy and atrophy).

This is a preview of the site content. To view the full text for this site, you need to log in.
If you are having problems logging in, please refer to the login help page.

© 2005-2007 Orthoteers.co.uk - last updated by Len Funk on 10 February 2005Medical Merketing and SEO by Blue Medical 
Biomet supporting orthoteersThe British Orthopedic Association supporting OrthoteersOrthoteers is a non-profit educational resource. Click here for more details
Specific Nerve Injuries & Tendon Transfers
Acute Wrist Trauma
Advances in Distal Radius Fracture ...
Algorithm for distal Radius fractur...
Anatomy & Pathophysiology
Aphert Syndrome
Carpometacarpal arthritis of the th...
Chronic Wrist Pain
Colle's Type Fracture Manipulation
Compressive Neuropathies
Congenital Hand Disorders
Distal Radius Fractures
Dupuytren’s - Related Research
Dupuytren's Disease
Hand - Tendon Transfers
Hand Fractures
Hand Infections
Hand Syllabus for FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Hand Trauma & Compartment Syndrome
Hand Tumours
Indications for Reduction in Distal...
Inflammatory Arthritis
Jules Tinel
Kienbock's Disease
Nerve Injuries - Principles
Replantation & Microsurgery
Scaphoid Fractures
Scapholunate Ligament Rupture
Tendon Injuries
Tendon Transfer - Principles
Ulnar Nerve Palsy Signs
Vascular Disorders
Wrist Arthroscopy
Wrist Instability
Wrist Osteoarthritis
Hide Menu