(RLS or Ekbom Syndrome)
People find the symptoms difficult to describe, but If you’ve ever had the urge to move your feet or legs, a crawling sensation, electric feeling or an ache like toothache in your legs, especially at the end of the day or when resting, you may have RLS.
Who does it affect?
Most people will have experienced this sensation at some point in their lives but the cause is not really known. However, experts agree it is more likely to affect people who
- are stressed or tired
- have a history of RLS in the family
- drink caffeine and/or alcohol
- are lacking in iron
- have Diabetes
- kidney problems
- an underactive thyroid
- Parkinson’s Disease
- are on certain prescription drugs such as steroids, anti-depressants, etc.
- lack zinc in their diet
It is more likely to affect women and often first appears in early adulthood. Some research suggests it could be related to the amount of dopamine in the blood system, especially if it is common in families, but this does not explain all cases.
What can you do to alleviate the symptoms?
Firstly, see your G.P. to eliminate any underlying cause such as iron deficiency, Diabetes, etc. , or to discuss current medication
Improve your sleep pattern – difficult to do if you are kept awake by RLS! Ensure you are not napping during the day
Eliminate caffeine and/or alcohol but at separate times to see if one of them is the cause
Try reducing salt in your diet and increasing foods high in zinc
Exercise – but not late in the evening
Take a bath to relax or soak your feet in a bowl of warm water and Epsom Salts
Whatever the cause, it can be serious enough to affect everyday life and even cause depression. So, don’t put up with RLS but seek professional help.
Lorna Pullman (Foot Health Practitioner)