Case series of painful legs and moving toes: Clinical and electrophysiologic observations

Maria V. Alvarez, Erika E. Driver-Dunckley, John N. Caviness, Charles H. Adler, Virgilio Gerald H. Evidente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We present a retrospective review of cases of painful legs and moving toes (PLMT) syndrome. Out of 4,780 database patients with movement disorders diagnosed at Mayo Clinic Arizona from 1996 to 2006, we identified 14 cases of PLMT and its variants (6 men, 8 women). Ages ranged from 25 to 84 years (mean, 69 years). Movements were bilateral in 12 and unilateral in 2. Pain preceding the movements was most commonly burning; movements consisted of flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, fanning, or clawing of toes, fingers, and sometimes the foot or hand. The most common predisposing factors were neuropathy and radiculopathy. Surface electromyography showed movements suggestive of both chorea and dystonia. Movements were partially suppressible and were diminished but still apparent during light sleep. GABAergic agents were most effective in controlling the pain and the movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2062-2066
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 30 2008


  • PLMT
  • Painful hands and moving fingers
  • Painful legs and moving toes
  • Painless hands and moving fingers
  • Painless legs and moving toes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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