Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

  • Kang-Ping Xiong
  • Chun-Feng LiuEmail author


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a very common sleep-related movement disorder which was characterized by an urge to move the legs frequently accompanied by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations that are difficult to describe. Periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) are repetitive, highly stereotypic limb movements. Clinically, PD and RLS share several features, such as responsiveness to dopaminergic pharmacotherapy, exacerbations by dopaminergic antagonists, and association with PLMS. The prevalence of RLS in PD patients is very variable which is ranging approximately from 0 to 50%. It is still unclear if PD and RLS are etiologically related. RLS might be an early clinical feature of incident PD. There are validated genetic risk factors that are associated with both RLS and PD. The dopaminergic dysfunction is crucial in pathophysiology of both conditions. Diagnosis of RLS in PD patients is challenged because of the potential overlap that included evening rigidity and dyskinesia, early morning dystonia, and sensory disturbances. Until now, there are no specific diagnostic criteria for RLS in PD patients. The aim of treatment for RLS in PD is applying safety and effectiveness including both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies.


Restless legs syndrome Periodic limb movement disorder Genetic markers Pathophysiology Imaging Diagnosis Treatment 

Supplementary material

Video 6.1.

PLMS (AVI 20917 kb)


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouChina

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