Treating Varicose Veins Can Cure Restless Leg Syndrome
Varicose veins are an unrecognized cause of restless leg syndrome (RLS). This condition causes the legs to be "jumpy" and uncomfortable, especially when the patient is reclining or resting with their legs elevated. The exact mechanism that connects the varicosities to the restless condition is not clear, but we think that there is a relationship between the elevated venous pressures seen with venous insufficiency and the stimuli that the leg nerves send to the brain.
When patients have RLS, they note difficulty getting to sleep, and they often say that they awaken in the middle of the night with jumpiness in the legs. Medications like Requip can reduce the symptoms, but we encourage patients with RLS and varicosities to seek evaluation with a recognized expert in the field of vein care. We would typically do an initial venous duplex ultrasound scan to evaluate the vein function. If reflux is found in the veins, treatment and restoration of normal flow can go a long way in reducing the RLS symptoms, often eliminating them completely.
VNUS Closure is the most studied method to treat saphenous vein reflux, but other options are becoming available. Varithena is a sclerotherapy option that may be released soon and will have a role in treating venous insufficiency. Clarivein is another device using a mechanical technique to deliver sclerotherapy to incompetent veins.
Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. McNeill both have a long history of being at the forefront of venous disease management and have been actively involved with a recent FDA Phase III clinical trial using Varithena to treat varicose veins.