Ekbom started his medical studies in Stockholm in 1928 and was licensed in 1934. He received the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1945. After working at the Karolinska Institute from 1945 to 1958, he became Professor of Neurology at the University of Uppsala where he worked until 1974.
Ekbom's doctor thesis "Restless Legs Syndrome: A Clinical Study of a Hitherto Overlooked Disease in the Legs Characterized by Peculiar paresthesia ("anxietas Tibiarum"), Pain and Weakness and Occurring In Two Main Forms, asthenia Crurum Paraesthetica and asthenia Crurum Dolorosa" was published in 1944 or 1945. He introduced the term of the disease and described how to diagnosis it. For this he received the Swedish Lennmalms Prize in 1949. The first case report of RLS was published by Thomas Willis in 1685. RLS has been referred to also as Willis-Ekbom syndrome and Wittmaack-Ekbom syndrome.
- Coccagna, G; Vetrugno, R; Lombardi, C; Provini, F (2004). "Restless legs syndrome: an historical note". Sleep Medicine. 5 (3): 279–83. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2004.01.002. PMID 15165536.
- "Biography of KA Ekbom". Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
- Ekbom, Karl-Axel (2009). "PREFACE". Acta Medica Scandinavica. 121: 1–123. doi:10.1111/j.0954-6820.1945.tb11970.x.
- List of winners of the Lennmalms Price Archived 2016-08-07 at the Wayback Machine
- Ekbom K, Yorston G, Miesch M, Pleasance S, Rubbert S (2003). "The pre-senile delusion of infestation". Hist Psychiatry. 14 (54 Pt 2): 229–232. doi:10.1177/0957154X030142007. PMID 14521159. S2CID 444986.