Restless legs syndrome is a common lifelong neurological disorder with a negative impact on the patients’ sleep and quality of life. Despite its common occurrence in the general population, the condition usually remains undiagnosed. Patients with diabetes run at a higher risk to suffer from restless legs syndrome. Diabetic neuropathy, in particular, shares similar clinical characteristics with restless legs syndrome and reduces significantly the patients’ quality of life.

Our aim was to report on an interesting case of restless legs syndrome in a patient with diabetes seeking medical advice for a ten-year long insomnia. Sleep deprivation was falsely attributed to diabetic neuropathy. A literature overview of the up-to-date knowledge was performed in order to summarize available information and provide primary care physicians with a comprehensive way of clinical thinking to differentiate peripheral neuropathy and restless legs syndrome manifestations.


restless legs syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, diagnosis, primary care