Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 468, Issue 12, pp 3419–3425 | Cite as

Case Reports: Painful Limbs/Moving Extremities: Report of Two Cases

  • Tsuyoshi MiyakawaEmail author
  • Mitsunori Yoshimoto
  • Tsuneo Takebayashi
  • Toshihiko Yamashita
Case Report



Painful limbs/moving extremities is a relatively rare condition characterized by aching pain in one limb and involuntary movement in the affected fingers or toes. Its pathomechanism is unknown. We report two patients with painful limbs/moving extremities. In one patient with a painful arm and moving fingers, the symptoms were resolved after surgery.

Case Descriptions

Patient 1 was a 36-year-old man with a painful arm and moving fingers. Treatment with administration of analgesics was not effective. Postmyelographic CT showed stenosis of the right C5/C6 foramen attributable to cervical spondylosis and a defect of the contrast material at the foramen. He was treated with cervical foraminotomy. Patient 2 was a 26-year-old woman with a painful leg and moving toes. The pain and involuntary movement appeared 2 weeks after discectomy at L5/S1. Lumbar MRI and myelography showed no indications of nerve root compression. She was treated with a lumbar nerve root block. The pain and involuntary movement completely disappeared in both patients after treatment.

Literature Review

Numerous studies report treatments for painful limbs/moving extremities, but few report successful treatment. Recently, botulinum toxin A injection and epidural spinal cord stimulation have been used and are thought to benefit this condition. Successful surgical treatment previously was reported for only one patient.

Purposes and Clinical Relevance

If imaging indicates compression of nerve tissue, we believe surgical decompression should be considered for patients with painful limbs/moving extremities who do not respond to nonoperative treatment.


Nerve Root Lumbar Disc Herniation Involuntary Movement Cervical Spondylosis Unaffected Side 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MPG 8712 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MPG 1911 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsuyoshi Miyakawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mitsunori Yoshimoto
    • 1
  • Tsuneo Takebayashi
    • 1
  • Toshihiko Yamashita
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgerySapporo Medical University School of MedicineHokkaidoJapan

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