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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Clinical Overview

Reviewed by Brian R. Robinson, MD

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS or Ekbom syndrome) is characterized by sensory-motor problems that occur mainly at rest and it is often associated with difficulty sleeping. The condition runs in families and can occur more frequently during pregnancy.

RLS may be caused by irritation from venous congestion in the leg muscles usually when the patient is at rest, or perhaps from peripheral nerve abnormalities. While walking, normal circulation allows the leg muscles to draw blood from the superficial (surface) veins into the deep veins. In RLS patients, this system is disrupted by vein abnormalities and blood remains in the superficial veins, irritating the leg muscles.

Last updated: Jan-01-00

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