Case Report

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome, type 1

S.H. Botha
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 8, No 2 | a133 | DOI: | © 2004 S.H. Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2004 | Published: 09 June 2004

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S.H. Botha, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS), type 1 is a pain disorder that develops unpredictably and can follow a minor injury. A 12-year-old boy presented with severe pain in the feet and could not walk or stand weight bearing. Normal X-rays showed osteopenic changes and radiolucent lines, which appeared to be stress fractures. Three-phase bone scintigraphy showed no uptake in the left lower leg on the blood pool phase or on the immediate or delayed images. This indicated typical CPRS type 1 in children. The uptake in the right foot was increased and the stress fracture and other illness could not be differentiated. Computed tomography was done to exclude stress fractures. Only osteopenic changes in both calcaneus bones were found and there was no evidence of cortical stress fractures. Magnetic resonance images revealed oedema in the calcaneus and talus bones of both feet. The patient received epidural narcotic infusion with sympathetic blockage for 1 week combined with extensive physiotherapy. The blood pool phase of the bone scan became normal within 2 weeks, and increased uptake in both feet was noticed. The patient was followed up with MRI every 3 months and the bone marrow oedema disappeared after 6 months.


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