Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of RLS and PLMD?

Children and adults with RLS or PLMD commonly have disturbed sleep because of the condition. In children, sleep disturbance may occur before they complain of leg discomfort. The quality and quantity of a child’s sleep are often decreased, resulting in moodiness, irritability, inattentiveness, fatigue or hyperactivity.

Children with RLS tend to seek relief from their discomfort by moving their legs often by fidgeting, stretching, walking, running, rocking or changing position in bed. Parents or healthcare providers may mistakenly attribute the child’s discomfort to "growing pains." At school, a child’s attempts to relieve the uncomfortable feelings of RLS may be perceived by teachers as inattentiveness, hyperactivity or disruptive behavior. Because of this, children with RLS may mistakenly be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Restless legs syndrome is a real medical condition that calls for proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Some children with RLS complain of the sensations more during the day than at night.