Why Do People Shake Their Legs?

Sometimes, you will be relaxed at a cafe when you notice someone’s leg shaking nearby. To outsiders, it seems like they are just reading a book or talking to a friend. For some reason, their leg keeps shaking. Until someone points it out to them, they may not even realize it. While this is sometimes just due to nerves, there are many reasons why your legs might shake at times. For most people, this happens because of a reflex that they are not consciously in control of. Most cases of leg shaking are not because of a major problem, but there are some medical conditions that can also cause this symptom to happen.

Why Do People Shake Their Legs?

1. Analeptics

Analeptics can cause your legs to shake. In addition, caffeine and nicotine can cause you to feel agitated. This agitation can cause you to start shaking your legs when you are in a sitting position. If you drink more caffeine or use more analeptics, it can increase the amount of shaking that you experience.

2. Restlessness

Sometimes, you do not have to take any stimulants to feel restless. It is normal to feel bored or restless at times. This is especially true if you are normally a hyperactive person. If you get easily bored and your environment is not stimulating enough, then you may start shaking your legs. Many people are used to being constantly stimulated by the gadgets and technology that surround us. When this stimulation suddenly disappears, you can get bored. Your body may try to compensate for the lack of stimulation by creating a type of stimulation of its own.

3. Concentration

Remember that late night studying session or amazing book? You were so focused on it that you did not do anything else. Some studies show that movement can actually help you to concentrate. This is one of the reasons why people tend to pace in circles when they are trying to solve a difficult problem. If you are sitting in a cubicle, you do not really have the space to walk around and really move. Because of this, you may try to shake your legs instead. This is also a good way for your body to release any nervous energy that develops as you focus on the problem.

4. Other Disabilities and Medical Conditions

For most people, shaking legs is due to concentration, boredom or caffeine consumption. At times, there may be a medical condition that is causing this symptom. Some of the potential medical conditions that can cause shaking legs include:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): ADHD tends to make people want to constantly move and stay busy. They may shake their legs as a way to release this desire to move.

Restless Leg Syndrome: Restless leg syndrome can make your legs move constantly. This often happens to people when they are sleeping at night or when they are resting.

Autism: Some people who have autism exhibit certain behavioral changes. Repeated movements like shaking legs are known as stereotyped movements. This is basically a way for the mind to self-stimulate the body that allows the patient to be in control of their movements.

Getting Help for Shaking Legs

If you constantly have shaking legs, then you should go to your doctor to make sure that a more serious condition is causing this. While this is mostly due to boredom or similar problems, it could be a sign of something more serious. If this is a re-occurring problem, then you can get help with a diagnosis from your doctor.

If caffeine or medication is causing your restless legs, then limit your caffeine consumption. You can also talk to your doctor about changing your medication if your medication is causing the problem. If boredom or restlessness is the cause, then try to find something that stimulates your mind and keeps you busy. You can also try working out to burn up some of your nervous energy.

Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome can be treated with medication or home remedies. Some patients find that home remedies like yoga, stretching, physical exercise and stretching are useful for relieving restless leg syndrome.

Other than home remedies, you can also try getting medications that can help. Dopaminergic agents can help treat some of the symptoms of RLS. These work on the dopamine pathways in the brain to reduce RLS. Other medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include anti-seizure, anti-pain and anti-convulsant medication. Some of the medications that are normally used for treating Parkinson’s disease may help. In severe cases, sleeping medication can help to relax your legs as well.

Other than medication, you can try removing things that trigger your restless leg syndrome. Some patients find it best to keep a daily diary. In the diary, write down everything you eat or do each day. Track your sleeping patterns. Over time, you can look at the diary and notice patterns in what you do before you experience RLS. Once you know what the potential triggers are, you can start to remove them from your lifestyle or diet.

Treating Adrenaline Issues

If you are shaking your legs constantly, it may be due to excess adrenaline. Your body is basically trying to use up the adrenaline in your body by making you shake. The easiest way to solve this problem is by controlling your anxiety and naturally burning up the adrenaline.

Some people find that exercise can help use up their adrenaline. This can be exercises like jogging, running or aerobics. Other people try yelling to release adrenaline, although you would need to be in a fairly remote area to try this without surprising anyone.

If you need to calm down, taking deep breaths can help. Meditation and yoga can also help to relax and balance your mind.

Sometimes, the shaking is caused by a lack of vitamins, minerals or water. If you are dehydrated, it may make your legs shake worse. To remedy this problem, make sure to drink plenty of water and to eat a healthy, balanced diet.


  1. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a year ago at the age of 68. For several months I had noticed tremors in my right hand and the shaking of my right foot when I was sitting. My normally beautiful cursive writing was now small cramped printing. And I tended to lose my balance. Neurologist had me walk down the hall and said I didn’t swing my right arm. I had never noticed! I was in denial for a while as there is no history in my family of parents and five older siblings, but now accept I had classic symptoms. I was taking pramipexole (Sifrol), carbidopa/levodopa and Biperiden, 2 mg. and started physical therapy to strengthen muscles. nothing was really working to help my condition.I went off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started on parkinson’s herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, my symptoms totally declined over a 5 weeks use of the Parkinsons disease natural herbal formula. i am now almost 70 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed!!

    • Thank you for sharing your positive experiences with herbal formulas. It is certainly possible that your comment will help someone in the future. Have a great day, Jane!


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