Zocdoc Answers

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"Why do my legs hurt only at night?"


It isn't when I'm laying in bed but just at night when it is getting close to being time for bed. My legs both of them start to hurt. it is just about the entire leg below my waist. Why would this leg pain only show up at night?


It is possible that you may have a condition called restless legs syndrome (RLS). RLS is characterized by an uncomfortable tingling, itching, jerking sensation that starts--most often in the legs--during times of resting wakefulness ie when you are resting, reading, or getting ready to go to sleep. People with RLS describe feeling better when they move their legs, hence the name of the syndrome.

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The exact cause of the condition is not yet entirely known, but it is thought that aberrant signaling involving the neurotransmitter dopamine may be involved. Many people with RLS also benefit from the use of iron supplements. Beyond RLS, some musculoskeletal injuries including strained muscles or even stress fractures can also be more painful at night. Since your symptoms could be from many different thing, the best thing for you to do is to see your primary care physician to discuss further. Your doctor will want to ask you more questions about when your symptoms first started as well as any other changes in you health you may have noted during this time. Doing a basic physical exam as well as some lab testing might also be helpful. Based on the results of an office visit, your doctor should be able to help take the next steps towards figuring out what is causing your symptoms as well as how to control them.

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