Restless Legs (RLS) and Leg Cramps
Restless Legs and Leg Cramps are Common Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Leg cramps and restless legs syndrome (RLS) are usually the first symptoms of varicose veins. One study showed that people suffering from varicose veins have a sixty-seven percent higher chance of experiencing cramps than those without. The same study reported that an overwhelming ninety-one percent experienced cramps most frequently in the calf region.*
Healthy veins in legs collect de-oxygenated blood and return it to the heart and lungs where it is replenished with oxygen and nutrients. Varicose veins are “leaky pipes” in our legs that allow blood to pool and become stagnant. Due to the continued buildup of pressure in the de-oxygenated blood and toxins, muscles in our legs begin functioning improperly. This results in the muscle cramps and restlessness many of our patients have experienced in their legs.
Since pressure is highest after prolonged sitting or standing due to the force of gravity, leg cramps and restless legs are noticed by patients more often at the end of the day. There can be other causes of cramps and restlessness in legs.
However, if varicose veins are the contributing factor, use of medications such as Requip, Mirapex or Quinine may simply mask symptoms of RLS without addressing the underlying cause. Supplements, such as magnesium and calcium, may help relax the muscles and lead us to believe that nutritional supplements alone will rectify the problem. Unfortunately, the poor blood flow devoid of adequate oxygen remains uncorrected and the underlying disease may evolve into more serious problems such as blood clots, bleeding, infection of skin in legs and sores that are slow to heal.
Treatment of varicose veins may alleviate the symptoms of resless legs (RLS). In fact, one study found that ninety-eight percent of patients with RLS and varicose veins noted that the symptoms improved after using sclerotherapy.** Another study reported that eighty-nine percent of patients enjoyed improvement after endo-venous laser ablation and sclerotherapy treatments.*** New treatments of varicose veins are safe, effective, virtually painless and require no downtime. Almost all insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, offer coverage for symptomatic varicose veins. Visit the Alsara Vein Clinic YouTube channel to see patient testimonials, some who have had cramps and restless legs before treatment. If you experience cramps or restlessness in your legs, call us right away to schedule a free consultation at 816-396-0245.
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*Hirai, M, et al., ‘Prevalence and characteristics of muscle cramps in patients with varicose veins’ Vasa, November 2000, 29(4):269-73
**Dermatol Surg. 1995 Apr;21(4):328-32. The effect of sclerotherapy on restless legs syndrome.
***Phlebology. 2008;23(3):112-7. doi: 10.1258/phleb.2007.007051. The effect of endovenous laser ablation on restless legs syndrome.