Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes unusual tingling or crawling sensations and an irresistible urge to move your legs. You may not think to consult Mark Matey, DPM, at Jacksonville Vein Specialists about RLS, but he can help. More than one-third of patients with this leg condition have a chronic venous disorder, and he can expertly treat the underlying problem, which may relieve your RLS. To schedule an appointment, book an appointment online or call one of the three offices, with two locations in Jacksonville and one in Palm Coast, Florida.

request an appointment

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological movement disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, accompanied by unpleasant sensations. The sensations come from deep in your leg and cause feelings described as crawling, creeping, itching, and pulling.

The irresistible need to move your legs begins after you lie down to rest or when you sit for a long time. In most cases, the urge to move gets better when you walk or stretch.

The symptoms of RLS worsen at night, when leg twitching or kicking increases as you fall asleep and often continues throughout the night. As a result, you can’t get a good night’s rest, and you feel fatigued during the day.

What causes restless legs syndrome?

Your risk is higher if you have a family history, suggesting there’s a genetic component. However, RLS may be caused by many underlying conditions, including:

  • Neurotransmitter dysfunction
  • Iron deficiency
  • Low vitamin D
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Fibromyalgia

RLS is also closely associated with venous insufficiency.

What is venous insufficiency?

Studies show that more than one-third of patients diagnosed with RLS also have venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when blood backs up in your leg veins. The problem develops due to dysfunctional valves in the veins. Normally, the valves open to let blood flow up the vein on its way back to your heart, then they close to stop it from flowing backward.

When the valves weaken or become damaged, blood flows back down the vein, where it accumulates and enlarges the vein. This condition, called venous insufficiency, causes problems like varicose veins, changes in your skin, swelling in the lower legs, and ulcers.

How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed and treated?

There are currently no tests available to diagnose RLS. Your doctor determines if you have the condition by carefully assessing your symptoms and ruling out an underlying health condition.

Treatment for RLS typically includes iron supplements, anti-seizure medications to reduce your symptoms, and medications to boost brain chemicals. However, before you start to take medications, you should consider being screened for venous insufficiency.

Venous conditions should be ruled out as the cause of your RLS, or they should be diagnosed. Treatment of an underlying venous condition usually alleviates RLS.

Dr. Matey diagnoses venous insufficiency with ultrasound imaging, which is available at all the office locations. Ultrasound screening is quick, painless, and is usually covered by insurance. To schedule an appointment, call Jacksonville Vein Specialists or book an appointment online.