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What is periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)?

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Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep. The movements are repetitive and rhythmic, about every 20-40 seconds, and it happens only when you're asleep.

PLMD is also considered a sleep disorder, because the movements often disrupt sleep and lead to daytime sleepiness. You can have it along with other sleep disorders.

It's often linked with restless legs syndrome, but they're not the same thing, although at least 80% of people with restless legs syndrome have PLMD.

Author: Wayne E Anderson, DO, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine/Neurology, Western University of Health Sciences; Consulting Staff, Department of Neurology, Pain Management, California Pacific Medical Center. Editors: Selim R Benbadis, MD, Director of Comprehensive Program, Professor, Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, Tampa General Hospital; Mary L Windle, Pharm D, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine.com, Inc; Stephen Berman, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Neurology, Dartmouth Medical School; Chief, White River Junction VA Neurology Service, White River Junction VA Hospital.  


Epilepsy

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2018

Author: Wayne E Anderson, DO, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine/Neurology, Western University of Health Sciences; Consulting Staff, Department of Neurology, Pain Management, California Pacific Medical Center. Editors: Selim R Benbadis, MD, Director of Comprehensive Program, Professor, Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, Tampa General Hospital; Mary L Windle, Pharm D, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine.com, Inc; Stephen Berman, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Neurology, Dartmouth Medical School; Chief, White River Junction VA Neurology Service, White River Junction VA Hospital.  


Epilepsy

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2018

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