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What is CRPS and why is it important?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome relating to the knee is not so much as single discreet condition but rather a group of symptoms that occur together and therefore tend to suggest that there is a discreet cause. These symptoms include -

  • unusually intractable pain in the limb, not responding to treatment as one would predict
  • unusual temperature variations in the limb - sometimes the leg is sweaty and sometimes cold and clammy when it is compared to the other limb
  • unusual blotchy colouring of the limb, sometimes a mottled blue colour
  • alterations in sensitivity of the limb - sometimes patchy numbness and sometimes burning sensitivity
  • increased hairiness of the limb compared to the other one
  • muscle weakness in the limb not responding to rehabilitation as one would predict

CRPS may occur in any limb following injury or operation, but it is a very uncommon condition. It is important because it responds to proper management if it is diagnosed and treated early, but if it is not diagnosed it tends to get progressively worse and lead to irreversible damage to the limb.


Updated: 31 Dec, 2014

Dr Sheila Strover

Clinical Editor
BSc (Hons)

Dr Sheila Strover is the founder of the KNEEguru website. Although not a knee surgeon, she has a sound understanding of knee surgery and...

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