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February 1965

Symptom of Restless Legs

Author Affiliations


From the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation. Fellow in Medicine, Mayo Foundation (Dr. Gorman); Section of Neurology (Dr. Dyck); Section of Psychiatry (Dr. Pearson).

Arch Intern Med. 1965;115(2):155-160. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03860140035008

BY A SERIES of publications 1-9 beginning in 1944, Ekbom has revived interest in "the syndrome of restless legs" which, although first described in 1685,10 had been almost completely neglected in the medical literature. As he defines it, the clinical features are straightforward and easily recognized. Patients with the condition complain of discomfort in the legs and sometimes the thighs as well. The discomfort is usually described as having an aching, crawling, or restless quality. The distinctive feature is that it commences when the legs are immobile and that it is lessened when they are moved, with more lasting relief being given if the patient walks about. Manifestations are often worse when the patient is in bed at night. Many possible etiologic factors have been reported, but in essence the cause or causes of the condition remain unknown and the results of treatment are variable.

Material and Procedure  The