Skip to content

    Restless Legs Syndrome Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Restless Legs syndrome

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Restless Legs syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    • Willis-Ekbom disease

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • None

    General Discussion

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic and sleep related movement disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move in the legs that typically occurs or worsens at rest. It is usually accompanied by abnormal, uncomfortable sensations, known as paresthesias or dysesthesias, that are often likened to crawling, cramping, aching, burning, itching, or prickling deep within the affected areas. Although the legs are usually involved, an urge to move with paresthesias or dysesthesias may also sometimes affect the arms or other areas of the body. Those with RLS may vigorously move the affected area, engage in pacing, or perform other, often repetitive movements, such as stretching, bending, or rocking. Symptoms typically worsen in the evening or at night, often resulting in sleep disturbances. Some individuals with RLS may also develop symptoms during other extended periods of inactivity, such as while sitting in a movie theater or traveling in a car.

    RLS may occur as a primary condition or due to another underlying disorder, certain medications, or other factors (secondary or symptomatic RLS). In primary RLS, the disorder is often genetic in origin or occurs for unknown reasons (idiopathic). Secondary RLS may occur in association with certain conditions, such as iron deficiency, low levels of the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells (anemia), kidney failure, or pregnancy.

    Resources

    WE MOVE (Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders)
    5731 Mosholu Avenue
    Bronx, NY 10471
    USA
    Tel: (347)843-6132
    Fax: (718)601-5112
    Email: wemove@wemove.org
    Internet: http://www.wemove.org

    Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, Inc.
    1530 Greenview Dr SW
    Suite 210
    Rochester, MN 55902
    Tel: (507)287-6465
    Fax: (507)287-6312
    Tel: (877)463-6757
    Email: rlsfoundation@rls.org
    Internet: http://www.rls.org

    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
    White Plains, NY 10605
    Tel: (914)997-4488
    Fax: (914)997-4763
    Tel: (888)663-4637
    Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
    Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

    National Sleep Foundation
    1010 N. Glebe Road
    Suite 310
    Arlington, VA 22201
    Tel: (703)243-1697
    Email: nsf@sleepfoundation.org
    Internet: http://www.sleepfoundation.org

    NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda, MD 20824
    Tel: (301)496-5751
    Fax: (301)402-2186
    Tel: (800)352-9424
    TDD: (301)468-5981
    Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    Movement Disorder Society
    555 E. Wells Street
    Suite 1100
    Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
    Tel: (414)276-2145
    Fax: (414)276-3349
    Email: info@movementdisorders.org
    Internet: http://www.movementdisorders.org

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 3/13/2012
    Copyright 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    woman asleep foot hanging out
    Is it nervous or sleep disorder?
    woman knitting
    Warm baths, exercise, and nixing caffeine will help.
     
    woman stretching leg
    We’ve got four ideas to try and four to avoid.
    patient and doctor
    If you think you may have RLS, see a doctor for an exam.
     
    woman asleep foot hanging out
    ARTICLE
    pharmacist with a client
    ARTICLE
     
    woman walking her dog
    ARTICLE
    patient and doctor
    ARTICLE