Restless Leg Syndrome and Venous Insufficiency

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder of the part of the nervous system that causes an urge to move the legs. Because it usually interferes with sleep, it also is considered a sleep disorder by many medical professionals. 



Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

People with restless legs syndrome have uncomfortable sensations in their legs (and sometimes arms or other parts of the body) and an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve the sensations. The condition causes an uncomfortable, "itchy," "pins and needles," or "creepy crawly" feeling in the legs. The sensations are usually worse at rest, especially when lying or sitting.


The severity of RLS symptoms ranges from mild to intolerable. Symptoms can come and go and severity can also vary. The symptoms are generally worse in the evening and at night. For some people, symptoms may cause severe nightly sleep disruption that can significantly impair their quality of life.

Venous Insufficiency and Restless Leg Syndrome

The venous system and it’s affect on the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.  The primary job of the venous system is to take waste products out of the blood stream.  When these waste products (lactic acid, carbon dioxide, creatinine and urea) don’t get out of the system, or better yet settle in the legs it causes restless leg syndrome.  The heart of the venous system is the calf veins, they are the reservoir of the venous system. This is the primary reason top athletes wear compression when exercising. Graduated compression helps the venous system get un-oxygenated blood back to the heart and thus the removal of lactic acid, aiding in the recovery time.  Venous insufficiency  causes pooling of this un-oxygenated blood in the lower legs. 

If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, there is a good chance you also have venous insufficiency.  Treatment of venous insufficiency has many positive health benefits including reduced symptoms with RLS. 

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