The most common symptom of RSD is a continuous, intense pain that gets worse rather than better. The pain often spreads to include the entire extremity, even though the injury might have been only to a finger or toe. Symptoms typically affect one of the arms, legs, hands, or feet. RSD signs and symptoms often occur in stages and can also include burning sensations, increased skin sensitivity, and changes in skin temperature and color.
RSD Signs and Symptoms: An Introduction
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS I), is a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of problems in the central or peripheral nervous system.
What Is the Most Common Symptom of RSD?
The most common RSD symptom is continuous, intense pain that is out of proportion to the severity of the injury, which gets worse rather than better over time. Symptoms most often affect one of the arms, legs, hands, or feet.
The pain associated with RSD often spreads to include the entire arm or leg, even though the initial injury might have been only to a finger or toe. Pain can sometimes even travel to the opposite extremity. It may be heightened by emotional stress.
Other RSD Symptoms
Besides continuous, intense pain, additional symptoms of RSD can include:
- "Burning" pain
- Increased skin sensitivity
- Changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler compared to the opposite extremity)
- Changes in skin color (often blotchy, purple, pale, or red)
- Changes in skin texture (shiny and thin and sometimes excessively sweaty)
- Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
- Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
- Motor disability with decreased ability to move the affected body part.