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Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Periodic limb movement disorder is a disorder characterized by periodic episodes of repetitive and highly stereotyped limb movements that occur during sleep.

The movement in the leg is the extension of the big toe, while at the same time the ankle, knee and sometimes the hip are partly flexed. These repetitive episodes of muscle contraction last from ½ second to 5 seconds, with an interval of about 20 to 40 seconds.


  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Movements that wake the patient or the bed partner


A sleep study (polysomnogram) is done to determine the cause of sleepiness. Once PLMD has been diagnosed, medication can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms. 

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Last Updated: 10-10-2016
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