Pediatric restless legs syndrome: analysis of symptom descriptions and drawings

J Child Neurol. 2011 Nov;26(11):1365-76. doi: 10.1177/0883073811405852. Epub 2011 Jun 2.


The specific aims of this study were to collect and analyze detailed symptom descriptions from patients with pediatric restless legs syndrome, ages 6 to 17 years, as well as assess symptom impact and the usefulness of drawings. Trained qualitative interviewers conducted face-to-face audio-recorded interviews of children and adolescents who met criteria for definite restless legs syndrome. Thirty-three patients in 3 age groups used 16 different categories of descriptors for restless legs sensations, with a mean of 3 or more categories used per patient in each age group. "Need to move/kick," "pain/hurts," "uncomfortable/cannot get comfortable," and "like bugs or ants/crawling" were the most common descriptors. Two-thirds reported daytime sensations, and nearly half had arm involvement. They described impact on sleep, cognitive function, and affect. Drawings provided useful diagnostic information. These detailed empirical data will be useful in clinical practice, as well as in the development of formal diagnostic tools and severity measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology*
  • Pediatrics*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / complications*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / psychology*
  • Tape Recording / methods