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Having leg pain and ankle pain. Occurs after lying down. Get some relief after putting pillow under knee. Suggestions?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2305 Questions
Hi, Over the past several weeks, I have been having leg pain at night - enough to keep me from sleeping. It is on the left side and begins at the knee but is felt most intensely in the front of the leg and ankle. Pressing on the area, does not increase the pain, but rather decreases it. It occurs after I lie down in bed and continues sometimes for several hours. I can get some relief by putting a pillow under my knee and turning the knee to the left a little.
Posted Fri, 11 Oct 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Prasad 27 minutes later
Brief Answer:
You will need evaluation from a doctor...

Detailed Answer:

The symptoms that you describe seems to be due to restless leg. This is a condition that is seen in women after menopause. Most often we do not find specific cause, however I always look for anemia, thyroid disturbances and nutritional deficiencies before I choose to start treatment of this condition.

Therefore you will need to visit a doctor and get a few tests done. I recommend complete hemogram, vitamin D / vitamin B12 / calcium (total and ionized) assay and thyroid profile test to be done. If any of the tests are abnormal treating this problem should make you sleep better.

As you are being investigated if symptoms are severe and affecting your daily sleep, I would add ropinirole for a few days and monitor the benefits.

I understand you are facing sleepless nights. But I don't think we can deal this problem with evaluating.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having leg pain and ankle pain. Occurs after lying down. Get some relief after putting pillow under knee. Suggestions? 17 minutes later
Does your recommendation of ropinirole suggest that my symptoms could be early onset of Parkinson's which my mother had (and died from)?
Answered by Dr. Prasad 45 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Ropinirole is for RLS...

Detailed Answer:

Ropinirole is classified as medicine for parkinsonism; but it is routinely used in clinical practice to treat restless leg syndrome (RLS).

I would start Ropinirole to treat RLS and not parkinson's disease. A starting dose of 0.25 mg might be started and gradually increased to 2-3 mg depending on tolerance and response. A neurologist will know about this medicine.

But as I said earlier it would be better to evaluate and rule out other common deficiency and treat it before proceeding with this drug.

Feel free to clarify your concerns before closing the discussion.

Best regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having leg pain and ankle pain. Occurs after lying down. Get some relief after putting pillow under knee. Suggestions? 7 minutes later
What is restless leg syndrome?
and does it include the feeling in my legs that I have had for years at times, especially I think when I have been inactive, of irritation that has no specific site but improves if I get out of the chair and move, stamp my feet, etc.?
The leg pain at night that I mentioned at first is new in the past 6 months, however.
I understand that I need to see my doctor and will be calling on Monday, but am interested in your answers.
Answered by Dr. Prasad 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
The previous symptoms are not related...

Detailed Answer:

A small group of people experience pain in lower leg especially at night. This pain which is moderate to severe in intensity is relieved with movements. Since theyneed to be moving limbs for most part of the night in order to be relieved from pain, we call this condition as restless leg syndrome.

RLS is caused by neurotransmitter chemical disturbance, therefore regular pain medicine are not useful here.

The symptoms that you had earlier are most likely what is described in layman's words as sleep foot.This happens as blood supply to peripheral nerves get compromised only to become normal gradually.

You will definitely be benefited with the visit to the doctor. As you discuss about RLS with your doctor, I would also recommend blood test mentioned in my first reply.

Hope this information suffices. Feel free to ask your enquiries before closing this discussion.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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