• By Laurel Kelly

Sharing Mayo Clinic: From restless legs to dancing feet

December 1, 2019
Sharing Mayo Clinic patient Savannah Brock

For the first four years of her life, Savannah Brock didn't sleep more than a few hours at a time. Though desperately tired, the child couldn't fall or stay asleep due to an unrelenting urge to move her legs. While Savannah's parents knew something was wrong, medical tests didn't reveal the cause. Then they met a Mayo Clinic pediatric sleep specialist who listened to the family's story and pinpointed the problem.

Savannah Brock loves to dance. The 11-year-old is on a dance team and performs in jazz, hip-hop and lyrical dance competitions. For Savannah's mother, Kelly, watching her child gracefully move her legs and arms in choreographed, rhythmic expression is an experience that stands in stark contrast to the girl's difficult early years.

From the time she was born until she was 4, Savannah's legs twitched and jerked incessantly any time she tried to rest. The movements made it hard for her to sleep more than a few hours at a time. "In order for her to get quality rest, we would sacrifice our own sleep and massage her legs for hours during the night," Kelly says. "It got to the point where we were all so sleep-deprived. I started hallucinating."

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This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.