Differential diagnosis of restless legs syndrome

Sharon Muzerengi

Edited by K. Ray Chaudhuri and David Rye

in Restless Legs Syndrome

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780199234882
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191739989 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Neurology Library

Differential diagnosis of restless legs syndrome

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The diagnosis of RLS can be made from a simple clinical history using the validated questionnaire and clinical examination (to exclude peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease).

Laboratory investigations such as those for vitamin B12 and folate, rheumatoid factor, thyroid function tests, renal function, nerve conduction studies of lower limbs may be useful in cases where the diagnosis is unclear.

Conditions with motor restlessness, nighttime leg cramps, and insomnia may mimic restless legs syndrome. It is, therefore, essential that the entire criterion be satisfied before the diagnosis is made.

Common conditions that may be confused with restless legs include akathisia, positional discomfort, nocturnal leg cramps, myoclonus, and periodic limb movements (PLMs).

PLMs are frequently associated with RLS and occur in 80–90% of the patients.

Chapter.  2911 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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