What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) also known as Wittmaack-Ekbom syndrome is a neurological condition that is characterized by burning, itching, gnawing or creeping sensations of the legs. Some people have even described the feeling as insects crawling up and down the insides of their legs!
Who is affected?
It is thought that 12 million Americans may be plagued with this condition! Although both males and females are affected, it occurs slightly more frequently in women. The disorder can occur at any age – from infants to the elderly. The majority of those affected with RLS lie in the middle-age to geriatric age range. Unfortunately, the intensity of syndrome increases with age. Older individuals experience longer episodes of symptoms with greater frequency.
What are some characteristics of this condition?
The most unusual and distinguishing feature of this disorder is that relaxing or lying down will trigger the symptoms of this condition! If left undiagnosed and untreated, this syndrome will cause sleep deprivation which can lead to exhaustion and fatigue during the day as well as the lack of concentration, reduced memory and the inability to accomplish daily activities.
What are signs and symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome?
Paresthesias which are irregular sensations and dysesthesias which are unpleasant irregular sensations are indications of RLS. These abnormal feelings usually occur in the leg – between the knee and ankle, deep inside the body. RLS may also occur in the torso, arms, hands, thighs and feet! This condition usually occurs bilaterally (on both sides of the body), but in some cases only one side of the body may be affected.
The way to relieve these abnormal sensations is by continued movement – so people with RLS usually keep their legs in constant motion to prevent the uncomfortable feelings from arising. A person with RLS will pace around, toss and turn in bed and shift their legs continuously while seated.
Individuals with RLS usually find that the symptoms of the syndrome are less obvious during the day and more definite in the evening hours. This condition may be brought about by stillness, immobility, or inactivity such as sitting in a theater, airplane, or car seat for extended periods of time.
If you liked this blog, please “Like!” it! Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Ahh! My Legs!” Please call Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A., today if you need a foot, ankle or lower leg specialist! Dr. Nisha Krishnan would love to discuss your condition and treatment options! Contact us at (352) 513-4867!
About the Author
Dr. Nisha Krishnan is the President of Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. She specializes in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and offers a full-range of foot, ankle and lower leg services.