Atypical Dermatologic Manifestations in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

A Case Report

Brendan Langford; Thomas P. Pittelkow; Arnoley S. Abcejo


J Med Case Reports. 2022;16(251) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition characterized by autonomic dysfunction, changes in sympathetic and vasomotor activity, and sensory and motor changes. Complex regional pain syndrome is a clinical diagnosis and may occur after trauma or surgery. Complex regional pain syndrome-related pain may occur spontaneously and is out of proportion with the inciting event. We report herein the rare case of a man who developed concomitant painful generalized ulcerations after diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome.

Case Presentation: A 43-year-old Caucasian male with history of four-extremity complex regional pain syndrome type 2 secondary to right rotator cuff surgery performed at an outside hospital presented to a tertiary care center for treatment of generalized ulcerations on all extremities of unknown etiology. Dermatology performed an extensive work-up including laboratory evaluations and biopsies, which were relatively unremarkable. His ulcers were treated with vinegar-based dressings, hydrotherapy, and irrigation and debridements. He was started on methadone (replacing a home fentanyl patch), ketamine infusion, and amitriptyline in addition to his home adjuncts. He obtained good symptom control, improved sleep, and diminished cognitive slowing, compared with his fentanyl patches.

Conclusion: This case report emphasizes an atypical case of generalized ulceration formation in the setting of complex regional pain syndrome. This case highlights the challenging nature of treating complex regional pain syndrome and using multimodal analgesia to target various nociceptive receptors to successfully reduce symptoms.