Ask a Charlotte University Foot Doctor: What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

September 24, 2019

Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, is a disorder of the nervous system that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. Because this usually interferes with sleep, RLS is often considered a sleep disorder as well. Below are some symptoms, risk factors, and diagnosis for restless leg syndrome. If you need a foot specialist in Charlotte University, contact Ryan Foot and Ankle today to make an appointment.

Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms & Causes

Sufferers of RLS experience an itchy, “pins-and-needles” sensation that does not diminish until the individual finally stretches or paces in an effort to achieve relief. Many people do not seek help for RLS, for fear that their condition will not be taken seriously. Symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed as nervousness, stress, muscle spasms, leg cramps, or arthritis. The exact causes of Restless Leg Syndrome are unknown, but it is often attributed to genetics and systemic factors, such as jobs which require prolonged periods of standing or sitting.

Risk Factors for Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS affects around 5 million American adults and over 1 million children. Although both genders experience RLS, it is more common in women than men. Most severe cases occur in those who are middle-aged or older. Other risk factors which may trigger symptoms or make them worse include certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants; pregnancy, alcohol, smoking, and diabetes.

Career type also plays a factor, with truck drivers, frequent flyers, and those with desk jobs at high risk for the condition.

Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment

Restless Leg Syndrome treatments are usually targeted towards alleviating the symptoms. Treatment options include leg massages; hot baths; heating pads or ice packs, and compression sleeves. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, decreased use of caffeine and alcohol, and establishment of a regular sleep pattern can also provide relief. In severe cases, your podiatrist or foot doctor might prescribe pain relievers or surgery.

Need a Charlotte University Podiatrist? Call Ryan Foot and Ankle

If you are a Charlotte University resident who is experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet and ankles, call Ryan Foot and Ankle today. Our skilled team of podiatrist will help you get back on your feet in no time!