Restless Legs

Restless Legs

Restless legs is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you're sitting or lying down. Moving eases, the unpleasant feeling temporarily. Restless legs worsen as you age. It can disrupt sleep, which can interfere with daily activities. Symptoms can range from barely bothersome to incapacitating.

A History on Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome was first diagnosed in 1944 and has been described as a condition were patients experience an urge to move their legs (most commonly at night) and sometimes uncontrollably.

Physicians began to notice patients treated for varicose veins who also had restless leg syndrome started reporting elimination of their restlessness. At the American College of Phlebology, doctors explained that their restless leg patients had experienced resolution of their symptoms after an ablation procedure of their faulty veins.

The theory is that the continued stasis and inflammation of the varicose veins leads to injury to the neural circulatory system in the skin, causing a “restless” feeling in the legs.

Early studies conducted in the 90s reported improvement of restless leg syndrome after patients had sclerotherapy for varicose veins. Sclerotherapy had been an option for treatment of saphenous reflux for decades before the advent of venous ablation with radiofrequency or laser.

In “The Effect of Sclerotherapy on Restless Leg Syndrome” in Dermatologic Surgery in 1995, the authors recommended screening patients who presented restless leg syndrome for venous insufficiency. They found that 98% of the patients had at least some degree of improvement of the restless leg syndrome, with the majority of them seeing significant improvement.

A study published in 2008 in Phlebology evaluated the International Restless Leg Score (IRLS) for 35 patients who were diagnosed with venous insufficiency and had an ablation procedure performed. After the vein ablation, the average patient discomfort score decreased by 80%. 50% percent of the patients had absolutely no symptoms of restless leg syndrome after their vein ablation. About 90% of patients had a near-complete resolution of their symptoms. In this study, the authors also recommend screening patients with restless leg syndrome for venous insufficiency because of the substantial benefit of using a noninvasive procedure is safer than the long-term use of drugs that were being prescribed for restless leg syndrome.

Restless leg sensations are typically described as:

- Tingling

- Creeping

- Pulling

- Throbbing

- Aching

- Itching


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