CRPS diagnostic criteria


Download high resolution PDF of CRPS diagnostic criteria here

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome diagnostic criteria used for most BiM studies


Participants are asked “In the last week, have you noticed any of the following symptoms”:


i) The skin of your hand being sensitive or painful to touch?


ii) One hand feeling warmer or cooler than the other?

iii) One hand changing colour or looking mottled?


iv) One hand being swollen or feeling swollen?

v) One hand sweating a lot?


vi) The fingers of one hand difficult to move, or shaking when you try to move them?


Clinicians completed the following checklist (note – the arm may be in a plaster cast and therefore only the visible area can be assessed):

Are any of the following signs present:


i) Hyperalgesia to pinprick  (gentle pressure of pin on either hand – patient reports whether the two stimuli feel the same or different).

ii) Allodynia to light touch (paint brush stroking on either hand – patient reports whether the two stimuli feel the same or different).


iii) Changes in skin temperature – (infrared tympanic thermometer placed on skin at midpoint of first phalanx of index finger)

iv) Changes in skin colour (observation only)


v) Oedema – (see swelling)

vi) Increased sweating (observation only)


vii) Tremor or dystonia (observation of thumb to finger opposition)

viii) Trophic changes – nails, hair skin (observation)

 The following conditions constituted minimum criteria for diagnosis of CRPS:

  • At least one symptom from A,B,C & D.
  • At least one sign in at least two of A,B,C & D.



  1. complex regional pain syndrome says

    There is no cure for CRPS at the present time but early diagnosis and treatment is certainly crucial to limit the disability from the disease. Early treatment, ideally within three months of the first symptoms, often results in remission.


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