Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

Reviewed by Sheila Tsai, MD
Repeated leg contractions or movements characterize periodic limb movement disorder or PLMD. These movements may occur in the toes, feet, ankles and/or legs, during sleep.

A person may be unaware of these movements during sleep, but a sleep partner may notice them. This disorder is common in older adults and in people with restless legs syndrome or RLS.



If you are felt to have periodic limb movement disorder, management is similar to management of restless leg syndrome. Similarly, medications such as certain antidepressants and antihistamines can contribute toperiodic limb movement disorder. Medicines are available for people with symptoms. Ask your doctor what medicines and therapy would be best for you.

Low blood levels of iron can also cause this disorder. If an iron deficiency is present, iron supplements may be given. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and certain medications can make this disorder worse.


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