Restless Leg Syndrome – Could it be Varicose Veins?

Restless Leg SyndromeAre you kept awake at night with the irresistible urge to move your legs; a “creeping” feeling in the legs?

Do you have persistent leg movement during sleep; or tingling, burning, aching or numbness of the legs?

This is known as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and affects about 10 percent of the population. The symptoms of RLS are worse at night or during periods of relaxation, such as lying down during the day. These symptoms disrupt the sleep not only of the RLS sufferer but can disrupt the sleep of their bed partner as well.

The commonly recommended treatment for RLS is a neurologic medication. Unfortunately, the available medications only relieve the symptoms, they do not cure the condition and must be taken long term. There is additionally the risk of side effects, as there is with any medicine you take.

Venous insufficiency, or varicose vein disease, is an often-overlooked cause of RLS. Several studies indicate that as many as 22 percent of those with RLS also have venous insufficiency. In venous insufficiency the blood valves do not work properly and allow some of the blood to flow backwards and pool in our legs, which can, but not always, result in bulging veins and causes symptoms such as pain, swelling, tiredness, redness or restlessness. The swelling that occurs with venous disease often recedes at night and that is believed to somehow cause the “creeping” sensation described by patients with restless leg syndrome. When restless legs occur with venous insufficiency, the RLS can be improved significantly by treating the varicose veins. A study published in the Journal of Phlebology reported that in patients with both RLS and venous disease, 98 percent had their RLS symptoms relieved with varicose vein treatment and 80 percent of experienced long-term relief.

We recommend that anyone who suffers from the symptoms of RLS consider a consultation with a phlebologist to determine if the cause could be venous insufficiency. If venous disease is present, we can treat the varicose veins and improve the symptoms of RLS.

Do you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome?  Call us at (309) 862-4000 or use our contact form to Request an Appointment.