Vein Care 101

Do Varicose Veins Cause Restless Legs?

By Metro Vein Centers
February 5, 2024

Many people are surprised to learn that restless legs are a common symptom of vein diseases like varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. In simple terms, this is because varicose veins result from poor circulation in your veins, which can lead to various symptoms such as leg pain, heaviness, aching, and restless legs. In this article, we will explore why restless legs may manifest as a symptom of varicose veins and how you can achieve permanent relief through modern vein treatments.

Understanding Vein Disease

Vein disease, or chronic venous insufficiency, arises when the veins struggle to efficiently pump blood back from the legs to the heart. The circulatory system relies on valves within the veins to prevent backward blood flow. However, when these valves weaken or fail, blood can pool in the veins, leading to the development of bulging varicose veins. The stress and strain of inefficient blood flow can actually distort the vein walls, which leads to visibly enlarged, twisted veins often noticeable to the naked eye near the skin's surface. Varicose veins primarily affect the legs due to the additional pressure of gravity against blood flow in your venous system. Symptoms of varicose veins may include pain when standing, swelling or edema, and tingling sensations, all stemming from the increased pressure within the veins caused by the compromised valves.

One of the most common symptoms, and among the most underdiagnosed, is restless legs. After a long day on or off your feet, depending on lifestyle and work factors, restless legs can negatively impact sleep, keeping patients awake well into the night and further stressing the body.

Restless Legs and Varicose Veins

Restless legs, a condition where you may have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs (often at night or during prolonged periods of rest), can be more than an isolated phenomenon that keeps you from finding a comfortable sleeping position. Restless legs as a symptom are commonly associated with neurological concerns — “restless leg syndrome,” or RLS, is an issue with the nervous system. However, a similar feeling can also emerge as a symptom of vein disease, specifically in the presence of varicose veins.

When venous insufficiency compromises blood flow, and valves fail to function correctly, blood accumulates, causing elevated pressure in the veins, which, in turn, may contribute to unpleasant sensations in the legs. Your body may intuitively urge you to move around because as you do, your muscles will promote circulation organically through compression and contraction. This may be why you feel the need to twitch, move, or shift your position so often while lying down to sleep.

Another reason restless legs can be caused by vein issues is that stagnant blood within varicose veins may lead to inflammation and irritation of leg nerves, triggering a difficult-to-ignore discomfort associated with restless legs. Additionally, chronic venous insufficiency linked to varicose veins may result in insufficient oxygen supply to the leg muscles, intensifying the sensations that characterize restless legs.

All this may sound like a recipe for serious concern; however, restless legs related to varicose veins and vein disease can be easily treated: Modern advancements in vein care have led to a wide variety of minimally invasive vein treatment options that can restore proper blood flow and stop restless legs. Because varicose veins can cause pain, discomfort, and symptoms that negatively impact your quality of life (mainly mobility and ease of sleep), most insurance providers offer coverage options for their treatment. At Metro Vein Centers, we accept over 200 insurance plans for varicose vein treatments!

Poor Circulation and Restless Legs

Understanding the link between varicose veins and restless legs involves recognizing how venous insufficiency and vein disease can impact blood flow. Restless legs can, of course, manifest due to neurological issues, separate from vein disease. However, as this is one of the most common symptoms of vein disease, and is often accompanied by symptoms of discomfort, swelling legs (edema), heavy legs, or tingling sensations. The chronic nature of this condition emphasizes the importance of discovering and addressing the root cause to alleviate both physical and sensory symptoms.

Poor circulation can result in the formation of varicose veins and result in bulging, twisted veins protruding against the surface of the skin. When the valves in your veins are not working correctly, your blood can pool and cause distortions in the veins (the visible twisting nature of varicose veins is a result of pooling blood).

Most patients seek the care of a vein specialist when they experience restless legs because it is one of the more frustrating (and seemingly unrelenting) symptoms that impact sleep. When our sleep suffers, our stress levels are heightened, patience runs short, and our overall quality of life worsens.

Solutions Are Shorter Than a Nap (We’re Serious!)

Effectively treating restless legs as a symptom of varicose veins begins with treating the underlying vascular issue. Modern medical advancements offer a wide variety of minimally invasive procedures, including endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), sclerotherapy, varithena, and Venaseal™. These treatments require only about 30 minutes from start to finish, on average, and they provide lasting, meaningful relief as well as cosmetic improvements.

Individuals experiencing restless legs or other symptoms associated with varicose veins (take our test to find out more about your symptoms!) should seek professional medical assistance at a vein clinic near you. A comprehensive evaluation by a board-certified vein specialist can lead to a personalized treatment plan, addressing both the physical and sensory aspects of vein disease, and put an end to restless legs.

At Metro Vein Centers' nationally accredited vein clinics, we offer the latest state-of-the-art vein treatment technology to treat both varicose veins and spider veins. Our team of board-certified vein specialists takes a personalized approach to your treatment, crafting care plans tailored to your unique symptoms and lifestyle, ensuring that you receive the best possible results for your vein-related concerns. Additionally, we work closely with your insurance, accepting 200+ plans to ensure you receive the maximum possible coverage for your vein treatments. We offer free vein evaluations in all 40+ New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona vein clinics. To schedule your free consultation with a board-certified vein doctor, don't hesitate to reach out to our patient care team at 866-353-5230. We're here to help, and we look forward to supporting you toward meaningful relief and healthy legs!

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