Restless Legs Syndrome Health Center

Common symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome are usually uncomfortable sensations in the legs with an uncontrollable urge to move them. These sensations are triggered when resting but relieved by movement. These symptoms sometimes occur in other parts of the body but the legs seem to be most affected by RLS.

Most patients with Restless Legs Syndrome also have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) which causes leg movements during sleep.

Restless Legs Syndrome symptoms feel like creeping, crawling, pulling, tingling beneath the skin and:

  • Can last up to 1 hour or longer
  • Occur when sitting for long periods of time or at night when trying to sleep
  • Can be affected by daily stress, emotional upset, or not getting enough sleep
  • Develop between 1- p.m. and 4 a.m. in most cases
  • Can make it difficult to sit during air or car travel, or through classes or meetings
  • Sometimes occurs in arms, feet, and upper legs

There also appears to be two distinct forms of Restless Legs Syndrome, early-onset meaning those who get RLS at a young age, and late-onset, those who have symptoms starting later in life.

  • People who have Restless Legs Syndrome at a young age (teenage years or younger) tend to have a family history involving it.
  • People with late-onset Restless Legs Syndrome usually do not have a family history but suffer from a problem with the nervous system.
Review Date: 
October 7, 2013
Last Updated:
June 2, 2014