Childhood restless legs syndrome

Jose Carlos Pereira Jr. Márcia Pradella-Hallinan Rosana Cardoso Alves About the authors


The last 20 years witnessed increased medical awareness regarding restless legs syndrome (Willis-Ekbom disease) among adults and children. However, it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Diagnosis relies exclusively on the history described by patients in their own words. Children who cannot adequately describe their symptoms represent a difficulty. To circumvent this, probable and possible restless legs syndrome have been instituted as diagnostic alternatives.


This review aims to emphasize to general Pediatricians that among children restless legs syndrome is not only common, but also has the potential to impair the quality of life of affected patients and their caregivers.


We performed a search in the database of Medline-PubMed for articles dated from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2013. Many relevant articles before 2008 were also studied. Key words used were: restless legs syndrome and/or restless legs syndrome children. The Google Scholar database and pages in Portuguese were also investigated. We also searched for the theme in various relevant textbooks. We have added our personal experience to published literature.


We observed that restless legs syndrome is common in children, and its diagnosis requires knowledge and intuition on the part of the Pediatrician.

Restless legs syndrome; Willis-Ekbom disease; Restless legs syndrome in children.

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