Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Restless Legs

Q: About four years ago, I started a rigorous exercise program, including daily workouts with Jane Fonda's "Aerobic Challenge" video tape.

Three months later I started experiencing restless legs at night, so I can't sleep. I've taken sleeping medications such as Sinemet, Desyrel, Elavil, Zanex, Baclofen and Clonopin off and on over the years. I quit the exercise, but the discomfort is still there.

The condition has since been diagnosed as restless legs syndrome, a type of sleep disorder I've been to a sleep disorder clinic, tried physiotherapy massage, acupuncture and I am now considering biofeedback. I am at the end of my rope.

Hendersonville, Tennessee

A: Restless legs syndrome is a very perplexing condition, now thought to be a type of sleep disorder with its cause in the brain. Just as you're ready to fall asleep, your legs go into uncontrollable twitches. It's like having hiccoughs of the lower extremities.

Restless legs syndrome seems to come and go of its own accord; however, it does seem to be more common during periods of increased stress. It may also be associated with anemia, thyroid disorders, pregnancy, alcohol abuse, and metabolic or neurologic diseases. There may also be a genetic component.

It was probably not brought on by your exercise program - and this is one thing you should not give up. A physically tired body usually sleeps better.

You may benefit from vigorously exercising your legs before going to sleep, being careful to stretch your calves after the workout. A thorough stretching of your legs may reduce the condition. Biofeedback or yoga may help you relax.

New studies have shown that medications such as Tylenol, anti-inflammatories, Clonazepam, and some anti-seizure drugs may help. Write and let us know how you're doing.

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

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