How are nocturnal leg cramps differentiated from restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Updated: Feb 22, 2017
  • Author: Ali M Bozorg, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Nocturnal leg cramps are typically unilateral, painful, palpable, involuntary muscle contractions that are often local with a sudden onset. Like RLS, they may have a circadian pattern and often occur at rest. However, nocturnal leg cramps are associated with physical changes, including a muscle hardening not seen in RLS.

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