Jumpy Legs


Jumpy Legs: Causes and Cures


Restless Leg Syndrome, alternatively referred to as jumpy legs, is a situation where the patient is unable to fall asleep because of a feeling of extreme discomfort below the knees. It is variedly described as a tingling sensation and as a compulsive need to move. Patients say that they are unable to lie still and that they find themselves writhing and jerking their feet for much of the night.


‘Jumpy legs’ is a fairly widespread problem but strangely it is not spoken about much. The website dedicated to Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) helps understand some of the contexts in which the problem occurs. While there has been no single cause identified as being the reason for the problem, patterns have been recognized:

RLS seems hereditary in that it tends to appear in families. So, there is on-going research to isolate the RLS causing gene. This type of RLS is called primary RLS.

In some cases where the RLS symptoms seem like the side-effect of another problem, that is referred to as secondary RLS. Patients dealing with renal disease, especially in the end states seem to exhibit signs of jumpy legs.

Many pregnant women, an estimated 25 per cent, develop RLS symptoms during pregnancy and the problem tends to disappear after childbirth.

Jumpy legs are a sign of anemia and low levels of iron.

Nerve damage in the hands or feet is found to trigger RLS.

Attention Deficit Disorder and RLS are found to have some correspondence in adults and children.


In some cases, RLS comes with an additional element of complication – it is not a matter of difficulty in falling asleep alone. Some patients feel a twitch several times a night that disrupts their sleep and reduces the quality of the nights rest.

Depending on the severity of the problem, the doctor may suggest some life style changes before attempting to treat the problem with medication. Many people find that some diet modifications help. So avoiding tea or coffee late in the evening to limit caffeine intake is a good idea. Similarly making sure that you are drinking enough water during the day to stay hydrated is highly recommended. So some people make sure that they take a bottle of water when they go to bed as drinking some in the middle of the night seems to do the trick in terms of settling the discomfort. The best way to test these cures is to try them one at a time to figure out which one is effective.

Since jumpy legs are sometimes triggered by other medication, you may want to talk to your doctor about skipping a day to see if that helps. If that is found to be the source of the problem, your doctor can probably find a substitute.

Your physician is also likely to suggest a test for checking for vitamin and iron deficiencies. If this is found to be the case, taking the right supplements can make a big difference in the patient’s situation.

RLS or jumpy legs tend to improve when the patient practices a regimen of moderate exercise. It helps to take up regular stretching exercises, walking and even biking – many patients worry that exercise may aggravate the problem but this is generally not the case.

In general this is not a hard to manage problem once it has been diagnosed properly. Educate yourself and talk about your symptoms with a medical professional. Take an active part in isolating the likely triggers so that you can give as much data as possible to the doctor. This is a problem that tends to worsen with age and so it is best if you take care of earlier rather than later.