How does dystonia present in patients with Parkinson disease (PD)?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Hauser, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Dystonia is a common initial symptom in young-onset Parkinson disease, which is defined as symptom onset before age 40 years. Dystonia in Parkinson disease commonly consists of a foot involuntary turning in (inversion) or down (plantar flexion), often associated with cramping or aching in the leg. Dorsiflexion of the big toe may also occur. Another common dystonia in Parkinson disease is adduction of the arm and elbow, causing the hand to rest in front of the abdomen or chest. Dystonic postures can wax and wane, occurring with fatigue or exertion.

Whether stooped posture is due to truncal dystonia is a matter of debate. One study suggests that the stooped posture may be due to vertebral fractures resulting from vitamin D deficiency with compensatory hyperparathyroidism. [27] Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk for stooped posture.

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