Are restless legs linked to varicose veins?

Restless leg syndrome is a common issue that young and old alike deal with. It is described as an uncomfortable sensation in your legs that is usually more noticeable at rest or night that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs. The sensations are difficult to describe: they can be an uncomfortable, itchy, ‘pins and needles’-type feeling or ‘creepy crawly’ sensation in the legs.

In most cases, we do not know or cannot pinpoint the exact cause of restless legs (RLS), but it is suspect that genes play a role. Over half of the people with RLS have a family member with the condition. Other causes of RLS include chronic diseases such as iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, kidney disease, certain medications, pregnancy, and venous disease.

We do know that varicose veins are not the only cause but can play a major role. We have found that patients with RLS and venous insufficiency who undergo vein treatment often have marked reduction in their symptoms. One hypothesis is that venous congestion or high pressures is often associated with restless leg syndrome and that relieving that congestion with vein treatments is often helpful.

The final word is if you have any of these symptoms and the possibility of varicose veins get evaluated. We can tell you if your symptoms are related to venous insufficiency or guide you in the proper direction to get help.