What Are Restless Legs?

Restless legs – also known as restless legs syndrome (RLS) – are characterized by an irresistible urge to move your legs, often accompanied by distracting sensations described as crawling, creeping, tingling, or burning. These sensations typically occur while sitting or lying down, especially at night. The urge to move the legs can be temporarily relieved by movement, but the symptoms often return when you stop moving.

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Causes of Restless Legs

While restless legs can be caused by various factors, including genetics and certain medications, it can also be a symptom of venous disease. When the veins in your legs aren't functioning properly, it leads to poor circulation and pressure buildup that can trigger RLS symptoms. If you're experiencing restless legs syndrome, it's important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and get a proper diagnosis. By addressing any underlying venous disease, you may be able to find relief from your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Restless Legs and Venous Disease

Studies have shown a strong correlation between restless legs and venous disease. In fact, one study found that up to 22% of patients with RLS also had a venous disease. Another study found that patients with RLS were more likely to have varicose veins than those without RLS.

Restless legs and venous disease both involve poor circulation in the legs. When your leg veins become damaged, they are less able to transport blood back to your heart. This can lead to blood pooling in your legs, which can cause a number of symptoms, including RLS.

While venous disease is a common condition affecting up to 40% of the adult population, it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. This is especially true for patients with restless legs syndrome, who may not realize that their symptoms are related to venous disease.

Treatment Options

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and practicing good sleep hygiene, can also help reduce restless leg symptoms.

Compression Stockings

These specially designed stockings help to improve blood flow in the legs and reduce swelling. They can also help to relieve the symptoms of restless legs.


Certain medications, such as dopaminergic agents, can treat restless legs due to venous disease. These medications increase dopamine levels in your brain, which can help reduce restless legs symptoms.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Treating the underlying venous disease with minimally invasive procedures like radiofrequency ablation (RFA), or Endovenous Cyanoacrylate Closure, and sclerotherapy can help close or collapse the affected vein so the body can absorb it. 

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Are Restless Legs Causing You Discomfort?

Restless legs syndrome can interfere with sleep and lead to daytime fatigue and other health problems. By treating any underlying venous disease, you may be able to alleviate your RLS symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. If you suffer from restless legs syndrome, our medical providers at Spartz Vein Clinic can help address the underlying causes of your symptoms to give you long-lasting relief. Dr. Spartz is a board-certified expert in venous health with a compassionate approach to patient care. Contact our office today to get some support with restless legs.

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