Case Reports: Painful Limbs/Moving Extremities: Report of Two Cases

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, S1 W16, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-8543, Japan.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (Impact Factor: 2.77). 12/2010; 468(12):3419-25. DOI: 10.1007/s11999-010-1437-y
Source: PubMed


Painful limbs/moving extremities is a relatively rare condition characterized by aching pain in one limb and involuntary movement in the affected fingers or toes. Its pathomechanism is unknown. We report two patients with painful limbs/moving extremities. In one patient with a painful arm and moving fingers, the symptoms were resolved after surgery.
Patient 1 was a 36-year-old man with a painful arm and moving fingers. Treatment with administration of analgesics was not effective. Postmyelographic CT showed stenosis of the right C5/C6 foramen attributable to cervical spondylosis and a defect of the contrast material at the foramen. He was treated with cervical foraminotomy. Patient 2 was a 26-year-old woman with a painful leg and moving toes. The pain and involuntary movement appeared 2 weeks after discectomy at L5/S1. Lumbar MRI and myelography showed no indications of nerve root compression. She was treated with a lumbar nerve root block. The pain and involuntary movement completely disappeared in both patients after treatment.
Numerous studies report treatments for painful limbs/moving extremities, but few report successful treatment. Recently, botulinum toxin A injection and epidural spinal cord stimulation have been used and are thought to benefit this condition. Successful surgical treatment previously was reported for only one patient.
If imaging indicates compression of nerve tissue, we believe surgical decompression should be considered for patients with painful limbs/moving extremities who do not respond to nonoperative treatment.

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