Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Caused by an Injury

Melanie Burden Personal Injury Solicitor
Melanie Burden
Partner, Head of Employer's Liability - Serious Injury

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) can develop after you suffer an injury in an accident. Common triggers can include:

      • A musculo-skeletal injury such as a crush injury or injury to the nerve
      • Surgery, often procedures to repair fractures or damaged nerves after injuries to hands
      • Being immobilised in a cast or splint
      • Minor injuries such as a cut to the finger

CRPS can occur in any body part and sadly it can spread. Over the years we have dealt with a number of claims where CRPS has been diagnosed, often in the hands, feet and knees.

It’s an extremely painful condition that leads to persistent, severe and often debilitating pain, and something that’s often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

But as this month is CRPS Awareness Month, we want to help raise awareness of CRPS and remind people that it can be caused by even minor injuries.

We’re keen to help raise awareness of the condition to help people get an earlier diagnosis so they can get the help they need.

Our Personal Injury Solicitors have helped many people who have developed CRPS after sustaining seemingly small injuries, so they can get the care, support and rehabilitation they need to live with their condition.

We offer a free claims assessment, so get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation with you and how we can help you. Ask us if we can help you on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 0808 239 3227 or request a callback

Symptoms to Look Out for After an Injury

If you suffer an injury and experience severe and persisting pain, there are several symptoms of CRPS to look out for, including:

      • A burning, intense stabbing pain
      • Experiencing pain from the lightest of touches (known as allodynia)
      • An extreme pain response to painful stimulation
      • Continued intense pain after an injury, when you’d normally have expected to have fully recovered
      • Abnormal swelling in the area affected (known as oedema)
      • Skin colour changes, such as mottling, redness
      • Excessive sweating in the affected area
      • Abnormal hair and/or nail growth
      • Abnormal skin temperature in the affected area
      • Tender and stiff joints
      • Restricted or painful movement
      • Cracked, grooved or brittle nails
      • Tremors and muscle spasms (known as dystonia)

There are two main types of CRPS and a third sub-type.

Type 1

Where the symptoms come on after a trauma or injury to the affected area, but where there’s no actual damage to the nerves.

Type 2

This comes on after a distinct injury to the nerve.

If you experience any of these unusual symptoms or you’re suffering with burning and intense pain that doesn’t seem to be improving, we’d strongly recommend you to get medical advice and ask to be referred to your local pain clinic for a diagnosis. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can get the treatment you need.

CRPS - NOS (Not Otherwise Specified)

This is a third sub-type which has been added for the diagnostic criteria specialists used to diagnose CRPS (the Budapest Criteria), where some people display some but not all of the signs and symptoms set out in the criteria.

CRPS Case Study

Six-Figure Compensation for Crush Injury to the Hand

We helped a woman claim compensation after she was injured in an accident at work. Ms H, 25, was working as a nurse and had gone into a room to deposit laundry bags when her hand became trapped between a large wheelie bin and the door.

She suffered a crush injury to her hand, and it later began to swell up rapidly. She also started struggling to move her middle and index fingers.

Ms H’s employers sent for an X-ray, which didn’t show up any fracture, but her pain didn’t improve and she had to have an operation to release the tendon in her injured index finger.

From what seemed to be a minor injury, Ms H began experiencing significant symptoms and was diagnosed with CRPS Type 2, which left her hand in extreme and excruciating pain. The injured hand was visibly swollen in appearance and she was medically retired from her role as a nurse. 

Ms H trialled several pain medications, but these caused terrible side effects. So to manage the pain and eventually reduce her reliance on heavy opiate painkilling medicines, she opted to have a spinal cord stimulator fitted.  

This was a difficult and important decision for Ms H, who at her young age had always planned to have a family. For her, it was crucial to be able to come off the painkillers so she could plan to have a baby without fear that heavy pain medications could cause damage to her child.

With our help, she was awarded a six-figure sum in compensation, which will help pay for her future care needs and help her care for a baby.

Happily, Ms H has since had her first child. She still has the spinal cord stimulator fitted to control the pain and still lives with the pain day to day, but she has learnt to adapt and both mother and baby are doing extremely well.

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