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Could It Be Varicose Veins?


Submitted by Drs. Bohn, Nielsen, Castillo, Benson, and Wright, The Vein Specialists, LLC

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) affects as much as 15 percent of the U.S. population. Those with RLS experience irresistible urges to move their legs; a “creeping” feeling in the legs; persistent leg movement during sleep; or tingling, burning, aching, or numbness of the legs. RLS is a recognized neurological disorder. Symptoms of RLS are worse at night or during periods of relaxation, such as lying down during the day, and tend to improve with activity. The symptoms disrupt the sleep not only of the RLS sufferer but can disrupt the sleep of their bed partner as well, affecting the quality of life of both persons. The standard treatment for RLS is neurologic medication. Unfortunately, the available medications only relieve the symptoms, they do not cure the condition and must be taken long term.

An often-overlooked cause of RLS is venous insufficiency. Studies indicate that as many as 22 percent of those with RLS also have venous insufficiency. In venous insufficiency the blood valves do not work properly and allow some blood to flow backwards and pool in the legs, which can result in a number of symptoms, including restlessness and edema, or swelling. The swelling tends to lessen at night and that is believed to cause somehow the “creeping” sensation described by patients. When restless legs occur with venous insufficiency, the RLS can be improved significantly by treating the varicose veins. A study published in the Journal of Phlebology reported that in patients with both RLS and venous disease, 98 percent had their RLS symptoms relieved with varicose vein treatment and 80 percent of those treated experienced long-term relief.

Anyone who suffers from the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome should be evaluated to rule out venous disease as a possible underlying cause of RLS before beginning a course of therapy. If varicose vein disease is present, various treatment options are available to improve the symptoms of RLS and possibly eliminate the need for medication.

Call The Vein Specialists at 309-862-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of their physicians or request an appointment online at They have convenient locations in Bloomington, Eureka, Peru, Springfield, and Streator.