Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)Sleep disorders
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)
What is it ?
PLMD is characterised by repeated movements of the lower limbs during sleep. Most commonly, it involves flexion and extension of the big toe, the foot and sometimes the knee and hip, and more rarely the upper limbs. It can cause micro-awakenings, thus impacting sleep continuity.
It is a fairly common condition, often associated with restless legs syndrome.
Polysomnography is key for diagnosing PLMD. Indeed, this comprehensive examination can differentiate the condition from other abnormal movements that may occur during sleep.
What are the consequences of PLMD ?
In some cases, PLMD can cause micro-awakenings, thus fragmenting sleep. However, in the majority of cases, this condition doesn’t affect the subject’s quality of life.
How should PLMD be treated ?
In theory there is no specific treatment for isolated PLMD. It is only treated when associated with restless legs syndrome. However, treatment should always be considered on a case-by-case basis, and assessed based on a thorough clinical examination.