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Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms
and Causes

Restless leg syndrome usually begins slowly. Over time, the legs become more affected. Less frequently, restless leg syndrome can affect the arms.


A chronic sensation of discomfort in the legs, generally between the knees and feet, which urges a person to move his legs. There may be twitching of the leg muscles or deep creeping, crawling sensations. Sometimes it feels like a pain, cramps, or aches.

It tends to occur shortly after retiring at night or after sitting still for quite some time. Sometimes this happens several times a night.


Restless leg syndrome is not a serious neurological disorder, and moving the legs or walking around a little terminates the sensation for a time.

Women and older people have the syndrome more often than men; a full 5 percent of the U.S. populations have experienced it. Yet the cause is not certain. Mild weakness of the legs may be present.

It seems to be related to iron deficiency, exposure to cold, stress, heredity, and motion sickness. It also seems to be related to pulmonary disease, stomach operations, diabetes, and uremia.

Very likely, there is a circulatory factor involved: Blood circulation is impeded in the legs or blood is being drawn away from the legs in excessive amounts, to care for a problem in the trunk.

People who have food or other allergies often have restless leg syndrome.

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