DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Once or twice a week my legs feel “jumpy,” to the point that I can’t fall asleep. Is this normal, or could it be restless legs syndrome? Does having restless legs syndrome usually mean that something else is wrong?
ANSWER: If the sensation in your legs is making it hard for you to fall asleep, and it’s happening on a regular basis, you may have restless legs syndrome, or RLS. You may hear it called Willis Ekbom disease, too, based on the names of the physicians who first described this condition. RLS doesn’t lead to other health problems. But it can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. See your doctor to have your condition evaluated. Treatments are available that can often reduce or even eliminate RLS.
Restless legs syndrome is characterized by an unpleasant or uncomfortable urge to move your legs. Some people describe it as a crawling, pulling or burning sensation in the thighs, calves or feet. The sensation is temporarily relieved when you get up and move around or when you shift or stretch your legs. RLS symptoms typically begin in the evening or at night after you have been sitting or lying down for some time.