Algodystrophy, also known as complex regional pain syndrome, is a type of long-term pain that typically affects the arm or a leg. This may develop after an injury, a surgical procedure, a stroke or a heart problem. The pain is greater than the seriousness of the underlying injury.

This disorder is rare, and its cause isn’t obviously comprehended. Treatment is best when begun early. In such cases, improvement and even remission are conceivable.


Signs and symptoms of algodystrophy include:

  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in your arm, leg, hand or foot
  • Sensitivity to touch or cold
  • Swelling of the painful area
  • Changes in skin temperature — alternating between sweaty and cold
  • Changes in skin color, ranging from white and mottled to red or blue
  • Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint stiffness, swelling and damage
  • Muscle spasms, tremors, weakness and loss (atrophy)
  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Symptoms may get modified after some time and differ from individual to individual. Pain, swelling, redness, changes in temperature and tenderness may happen first.

After some time, the affected hand or foot can get cold and pale. It might experience skin and nail changes along with muscle fits and stiffness. When these happen, the condition is usually irreversible.

Algodystrophy may spread from its source to somewhere else in your body, for example, the opposite side of the body.

In certain individuals, signs and symptoms of this disorder may disappear. In others, signs and symptoms may continue for a considerable length of time to years. Treatment is best when begun in the early stages.


The diagnosis depends on a physical exam and your clinical history. There’s no single test that can completely diagnose disorder, yet some tests may be requested, which are as follows:

  • Bone scan
  • Sympathetic nervous system tests
  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)



There’s some proof that early treatment may help improve algodystrophy. Usually, a mix of various treatments, customized for you, is vital. Treatment alternatives include:

  • Pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
  • Antidepressants and anticonvulsants
  • Corticosteroids
  • Bone-loss medications
  • Sympathetic nerve-blocking medication
  • Intravenous ketamine

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