by Matthew Ford 16th Nov 2023 (originally
posted 16th Nov 2023)
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This page records my wife's remission from CRPS by treating the symptoms that developed in her foot after she broke her toe.
Why is she not writing this? Because because even now, years later, if she talks about it or thinks about it, the pain and stinging starts coming back and she has to take her shoe off and massage her foot to get rid of it.
The trouble started when she kicked and broke her middle toe. Some weeks later her foot started to be painful, go red, swell up and become sensitive to touch. She went to her GP who gave her an urgent referral to a specialist. He took one look and said, “Forget about your broken toe. It is the CRPS you have to worry about.”, but otherwise did nothing.
So she went home and researched everything she could on treatments and tried them all and kept on with the ones that worked. She went to physio once a week, but only for a check up and gait correction.
No, there is no 'cure', but if you catch it early, before the swelling and pain become unmovable, and put a lot of effort into treating it, you can get it under control.
The good news is that you do almost all the treatment yourself so it is not expensive.
Things to look out for after an injury that may indicate the onset of CRPS
Pain does not subside as injury heals.
Swelling in the limb
That limb hotter/colder than the other (use an optical/infared thermometer). My wife's foot was 2 degC hotter then the other one.
Painful to touch or when clothing touches it
Painful to rub
Deep, burning or cold or aching pain.
Changes in skin colour. My wife got redness that progressed up her foot.
Limited range of movement.
Symptoms come and go (initially)
If you don't commit your life to treating early CRPS, you will be in severe debilitating pain for the rest of your life.
My wife gave up any work and devoted all day every day to working on her foot for over 12 months.
She did the follow:-
Got diagnosed early
Gave up any work and devoted all day every day to working on her foot for over 12 months.
The Things She Did that She Thought Were Most Important
Elevated the foot has high as possible to help reduce the swelling.
Lots of massage to reduce the swelling and stop it becoming permanent. Massaged again each time swelling returns.
Massaged the foot repeatedly to reduce the tenderness to touch (while elevated). Massaged again when tenderness returns.
Mobilised the foot as much as she could to keep the joints working
Walked on her foot to keep natural movement
Other Things She Did
Lay on couch with foot up and relaxed.
Used topical, not oral, anti-inflammatory cream (e.g. Nurofen)
Used mirror therapy to convince the brain she had two good feet.
Went to the physio for very gentle gait re-education, only, not for treatment.
Used bed cradle to keep blankets off the foot and put her leg on a pillow to keep it elevated at night.
Took Vit C every day + Mediterranean diet + gluten free + cut sugar + avoided foods associated with inflammation (eg. seed oils) + no fast food
Avoided stress, no news, no scary movies.
Avoided talking about it. Avoided reading reading sites about other peoples intractable problems unless they had solutions.
Pain medication had no effect. The only drug she took was Lyica but it make her thinking fuzzy. She stopped it once the CRPS symptoms started to recede. She did use topical, not oral, anti-inflammatory cream (e.g. Nurofen)
High dose Vit C (till you get the runs) is reported to reduce the likelihood of developing CRPS after an injury. My wife, unfortunately, did not find out about this until after her CRPS had developed.
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