The International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group described the following symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS):
- Strange itching, tingling, or "crawling" sensations occurring deep within the legs; these sensations may also occur in the arms.
- A compelling urge to move the limbs to relieve these sensations
- Restlessness -- floor pacing, tossing and turning in bed, rubbing the legs
Symptoms may occur only with lying down or sitting. Sometimes, persistent symptoms worsen while lying down or sitting and improve with activity. In very severe cases, the symptoms may not improve with activity.
Other symptoms of RLS include the following:
- Sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness
- Involuntary, repetitive, periodic, jerking limb movements that occur either in sleep or while awake and at rest; these movements are called periodic leg movements of sleep or periodic limb movement disorder. Up to 90% of people with RLS also have this condition.
In some people with RLS, the symptoms do not occur every night but come and go. These people may go weeks or months without symptoms (remission) before the symptoms return again.