Touching bottom of feet cause legs to jerk?

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Touching bottom of feet cause legs to jerk?

Postby Mike100 » Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:47 pm

I'm 31, have had RLS since I was in early teens. From what I've read I don't have it too badly, I don't take medicine, and once I fall asleep the twitching either stops or calms enough to not keep me awake.

One thing I have recently found though is that if I touch the bottoms of my feet while experience the jerking (late night, tired, etc.) it will stimulate a twitch, almost instantly. I've tried it several times, and it always works.

Just wondered if anyone else has ever seen this?

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Postby Sara » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:43 pm

Hi, Mike--

You sound like you have a similar case of RLS to mine. Like you, I've had it since my teens, like you, I don't take meds, and like you, I'm able to fall asleep.

I actually find that laying down in bed is the best/only way to tame my RLS symptoms, and the earlier in my evening's symptoms I "give in" and go to bed, the easier it is to go to sleep. My brother-in-law, half-way between your age and mine (39), is also the same.

I think that there aren't more like us on the forum, because many of them don't know what their RLS is (that it's a real "condition" with a name), and if you can "manage" it without medications, you aren't as likely to be looking for support to manage it anyway. I only learned what RLS was a couple of years ago, and by accident found out that my brother-in-law also suffers from it. My husband and his wife and the rest of their family may think we're a little nuts when we're chatting about it in the living room after dinner, but it is NICE to know someone understands! :D

As for the bottom of the foot twitch thing, YES, I have that sometimes, too. My RLS is almost ALL in my feet, rather than affecting my legs a lot or arms, etc. As a matter of fact, I am recovering from the flu today, and just woke up from a (very unusual for me) mid-day nap. My RLS is already working it's way to the highest "gear" it gets into (about two-three hours earlier than usual), and if anyone tried to touch the bottoms of my feet, especially the left right now, they would definitely jerk!!!

Interestingly enough, I was thinking back when I read your post, and I think I ALWAYS was pretty sensitive on the bottoms of my feet, long before my RLS was a nightly thing. My husband, when we were really young and dating, used to try to rub my feet for me, especially when I had a job where I wore high heels all day, and I NEVER could stand for him to do it, even though it felt good. I'd always jerk my feet out of his hands! :( I hadn't thought about that for years, because he's not tried to rub my feet in years... but I think that was the same "mechanism" I have working today.

And let me ask YOU, Mike. Since the bottoms of your feet are sensitive... have you ever noticed that walking barefoot on a rough surface, like gravel, will put your RLS symptom levels through the roof?? We live in a rural area, and our house is surrounded by gravel, and I CANNOT walk on it barefoot lately, at ALL, any time of the day without having an RLS flare-up. And if I do it in the evening, when my RLS is already bad, then I reallllllly suffer for a while after. Ever notice anything like that?

Nice to have you on the forum, Mike. Take good care.

Sara :D

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Postby ViewsAskew » Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:00 am

Sara, interesting thoughts. I'm sure people come here primarily because they need help; if you can manage it by going to bed, why bother, even if you know what it is? Both my mom (64) and my sister (32) can both do that most of the time and rarely do they get RLS more than a few times a month. And neither of them have ever come to an RLS message board! Then again, I fill them in with more than they want to know, so they probably don't need to. :roll: .

I was fascinated by the foot thing. All of my family have 'thigh' RLS primarily. But all of us HATE having our feet be touched. I have tried having pedicures and want to jump out of my seat! Touching them (by someone else) instantly creates the jerky feeling in my thighs.

When my RLS is threatening, ALL the skin on my legs in like that. I equate it to the skin on a horse - you know how they twitch the skin to repulse the flies? My skin feels that type of sensitive. If something touches is, the jerking is like the horse's twitching.

Sara, I remember you talking about the gravel before. That's also intersting. I'm curious to hear what Mike has to say.



Postby Mike100 » Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:46 pm

Sara / Ann, thanks so much for the replies and warm reception!

To be honest, I haven't noticed many (if any) things that I am specifically sure make my RLS levels any worse (or better, for that matter.) By in large, I get it nightly, but only when I am at rest for some period of time, and only if I am tired. The more tired I am, the earlier it will begin, but again my legs have to be still for a bit first. So Sara to your point - going to bed earlier can actually cause it to occur faster, especially if I am tired.
(With all this, if I am standing/walking around, I NEVER experience RLS symptoms.) And unfortunately, I have never noticed floor/ground surfaces making any real difference.

As for the foot stimulation, I found out about it just recently - my girlfriend just happened to rub my foot for a second, and I got an instaneous jerk. So then we experimented with it for awhile. I found I could also lightly bang/rub my foot on something (table, etc.) with the same results. Admittedly, this knowledge is obviously not that helpful, but I'm always interested to see anything new about this, (especially something that's consistent!)

Just as a side note, my RLS occurs only in my front thighs, and seems to switch at random between legs. On rare occassions, both, but usually one or the other.

Thanks again to everyone - looking forward to more discussion!


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Postby Sara » Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:50 am

Hello, again, Mike--

Always interesting to compare notes with other folks. There seem to always be things in common and things we experience differently.

Like you, if I'm walking around, I won't have RLS. Also, like you, my RLS is always worst if I'm tired (how about if you're sick, Mike? that's another exacerbating factor for me, probably "connected" to fatigue, though, really... and/ or cold/flu meds.) And being extra- tired will get it started early. That's happening tonight, but I don't usually get it -- or notice it, anyway-- until I've been still for a while... again like you.

But I CAN have RLS if I'm only standing, not moving. I occasionally have it when I'm laying down, but not usually to an extent where it makes me get back up, THANKFULLY!!!! Most of the time, I get RLS ONLY when I'm sitting. So evening car trips, movies on the couch with my husband, late dinners at my in-laws', etc., are pretty tough. Some people here notice improvvement depending on the height of the seat and other factors, but for me, sitting is sitting--- couch, stool, dining room chair, sometimes even on the floor.

I'm not exactly sure why going to bed "works" for me. Before I knew that RLS existed, I always took my "foot thing" as a sign that I was "done for the day"... and since I couldn't stand to stay up and watch TV with my husband or sit and do anything else, bed was the logical step anyway. Maybe my RLS is just still mild enough that if I'm worn out enough to get my RLS going, I'm worn out enough to fall asleep through the symptoms? I don't know. And since I've had periods this year of early morning RLS and 24/7 RLS, too, I'm not sure how that factors in.

My brother-in-law also sleeps relatively well, and going to bed is his "cure", too, for the time being. But he and I agree, during the day we DON'T sit much... the time we do sit for any length of time is in the evening. On days when I need to be at the computer all-day or am forced to sit for a period of time, like a dentist's waiting room, it seems that I have might have mild RLS almost ANY time of the day, IF I sat still long enough.

It's sure an interesting condition! Just wish I didn't have to find out about it first-hand. :P :D


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