How to get rid of itchy legs while running?

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Have you decided to go in for sports on a regular basis, but every time you run in the morning, you start to experience uncontrollable itching in your legs? This is a common problem called runner’s itch because it affects many people who run. It is required to establish the cause in order to resolve the problem. It is not always easy, but trial and error will definitely help you understand the essence of the problem. After that, all that remains is to choose the right solution to rejoice in a comfortable workout.

Method 1: Simple solutions

  1. Change your laundry detergent or fabric softener. The chemicals in these products can irritate the skin. Even if you haven’t experienced this before, warm and sweaty skin can become more sensitive.
  • Start buying laundry detergent and fabric softener for delicate or non-dyed leathers. These products can be purchased at the same store and at the same price as other laundry detergents.
  • Wash your gym clothes in hot water to remove any irritants from previous washings.
  • If, after changing detergents, your feet continue to itch, this does not mean that the old washing powder or fabric softener did not contribute to the problem. Several factors may be the cause.

2. Use different clothing. Even the softest cotton can irritate sweaty skin. Some synthetic materials that ward off sweat can help reduce itchy feet while running.

  • Another possible reason is too much clothing. If you are too hot, itching is a natural skin reaction. When choosing to clothe for your workout, remember that a faster heart rate raises your body temperature.
  • When jogging outside in cold weather, wear multiple layers of lightweight clothing so you can take it off easily.
  • Also, look out for labels and seams. Usually, invisible items of clothing can easily irritate warmed skin that is slightly inflamed under the influence of physical exertion. This problem is especially true if you prefer to run in tight clothing.
  • If you work out in shorts, and itching occurs in open areas of the skin, then this reason (as well as the reaction to detergents) can be safely deleted from the list.

3. Moisturize your skin. Especially in winter, when dry air dries out the skin more. If you usually shower more than once a day, sweating on dry skin can cause irritation.

  • A similar situation occurs regardless of the choice of sportswear, be it pants or shorts, although long pants usually increase the itching.
  • Use a moisturizing, non-greasy lotion after you shower. You can also reapply the lotion half an hour before your run if several hours have elapsed between showering and exercising.
  • Choose active moisturizers over cosmetic scented lotions. The latter are often washed off with sweat, as a result of which the feet become sticky and begin to itch even more.

4. Shave your legs. If you usually shave your legs, stick to this habit to avoid itching your legs while running. In long sweatpants and leggings, the fabric can rub against the growth of shaved hairs and irritate the skin.

  • If you never shave your legs (or itchiness occurs even in shorts), then this cause can be ruled out, although leggings or tight-fitting pants can also cause itching due to friction against hair growth on the legs.
  • Try to keep your feet moist enough and use a special shaving gel or lotion that can protect your skin from irritation after shaving.
  • If this solution helped you, then continue to follow the recommendations. Even daily stubble can cause itching again.

5. Try to wait a little. Many runners report that their legs start to itch when they start running again after a break of several weeks or months, or when they first start exercising after a long sedentary lifestyle.

  • Physicians and fitness specialists have not yet come to a definitive opinion about the causes, but itchy legs can occur due to the body’s unpreparedness for a new level of physical activity. Poor circulation in the lower extremities is cited as a possible cause. If, in addition to itching, you experience pain in your legs, then you should immediately consult a doctor.
  • If you have recently started or resumed running, then wait a few weeks and notice how you feel. At this time, you can try to eliminate other possible causes by trial and error.
  • After about a month of running, consider the possibility of medical problems if your feet continue to itch while you run.

6. Start running indoors. If you usually run outdoors and have itchy legs, then try an indoor treadmill. This will eliminate the likelihood of your skin reacting to environmental stimuli.

  • If you do not experience itchy feet while on the treadmill, the cause may be an allergic reaction to pollen or other irritants in the outside air, temperature and humidity, or general outdoor air quality.
  • On the other hand, if itching occurs even on a treadmill in an air-conditioned room, then outdoor conditions are definitely not the only cause of itching, although they can play a role too.

7. Show less often and use cool water. Showering too often or too long or too hot water can dry out the skin and cause itching. If you shower more than once a day, reduce that amount to once (for example, after a run). Use warm, but not hot, water. These simple tips can relieve dry skin and ease your itching while running.

  • If you swim frequently, exposure to chlorine in the pool may be one of the causes of dry skin. Shower after the pool to rinse the chlorine off your skin.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Method 2: Potential allergy

  1. Take a non-hypnotic antihistamine. When the body is injured or stressed, it produces additional histamine in the affected area of ​​the body. This increases blood flow at the injury site and speeds up the healing process, but itching can also occur.
  • Try an over-the-counter antihistamine. The name of the drug does not really matter, but sometimes you need to try several remedies to determine the most effective one. Be aware that antihistamines like diphenhydramine can cause drowsiness, so it is dangerous to take them before running.
  • Never exceed the recommended dose or take more than one product at a time, otherwise, drowsiness and other side effects may occur. Take an antihistamine half an hour before your run.
  • If an over-the-counter antihistamine reduces but does not relieve itching, see your doctor and ask for a more effective remedy.

2. Avoid dehydration. During jogging, a person loses moisture through breathing and sweating. In winter in dry air, itching can be caused by dehydration if you don’t drink enough water.

  • Dehydration also increases the production of histamine, which can cause itching, especially if the problem recedes during the warmer months or with indoor treadmills.
  • In cold weather, you don’t really want to drink water. It is not at all necessary to drink ice water (for the cooling effect on the body). Try to drink a glass of water 30-45 minutes before running and another glass when you finish your workout.
  • Whenever possible, try to take a bottle of water with you to drink while running, especially if you’re training on a treadmill or running for a long time.

3. Wounds and rashes. If itching is accompanied by redness, hives, or sores, an exercise-induced allergic rash may be the cause. This reaction is triggered by training and should be treated with medications.

  • If you often have rashes and hives as a reaction to stress and anxiety, then this situation is very likely.
  • If you think you have exercise-induced hives, see a physician or allergist. Situations like this are rare, so you may need to consult with several specialists.

4. See a therapist. If itching lasts more than four to six weeks and does not improve with antihistamines or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be caused by a serious medical condition.

  • Organize all the information prior to your appointment to prepare for answering your doctor’s questions. Try measuring your heart rate after 10 minutes of running and at normal before starting your workout.
  • Tell your doctor about any exacerbations such as dry skin and reactions to laundry detergents that you have handled on your own.
  • It should be understood that finding a solution with a physician can also require trial and error to select the optimal drug or appropriate treatment for a problem.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Method 3: More serious problems

  1. Stop exercising immediately if you feel dizzy or short of breath. The most common itching, especially in the legs, can be a symptom of a more dangerous disorder called exercise-induced anaphylaxis. This is a rare disorder that can be fatal. If you stop exercising after symptoms start, in most cases, you will be able to recover without urgent medical attention. At the same time, it is still better to come to the doctor’s office to confirm the diagnosis and find out the method of treatment.
  • Look for symptoms such as dizziness, sudden loss of muscle control, feeling tight or tight in your throat, or difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • Symptoms are considered relatively mild as long as they can be safely ignored and continued to exercise. If they get worse, stop running. If your symptoms are mild, you can get rid of them with a short break and then resume your workout.

2. Relax and calm your breathing. If symptoms force you to stop running, then you should move to a calm place and straighten up. Use deep breathing and relax your muscles. You will feel better soon.

  • Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. When breathing becomes regular, you can drink some water. Be aware that symptoms can last for several hours.
  • If symptoms worsen even after you stop exercising, call an ambulance immediately.
  • Do not continue running if you have bounced back and your symptoms have subsided. Try to walk, but if you resume running soon after the attack, symptoms can return very quickly with increased intensity.

3. Record your seizures in a diary. It will be important for the doctor to know all the details, including your activities a few hours before training. The more information you can provide, the more accurately you will be able to establish the possible causes of such a reaction.
List where you run, time of day, weather (outdoor), and how long you run until the first symptom appears. If possible, measure your heart rate or try to estimate your heart rate or exercise intensity.

  • Make a list of commonly used household foods and toiletries and everything you ate before your run. Even if you have ruled out a possible allergy to such products, the doctor will want to study this information.
  • If you recently started using a different soap, laundry detergent, or other product to relieve itching, include that information along with information about the results of these actions.
  • Be sure to include running clothes and the possible feeling of unusual warmth on the skin prior to the onset of symptoms.

4. List the symptoms. A complete understanding of the symptoms will help the doctor find the right solution. Write down each sensation as soon as it occurs, even if the sensation does not resemble a symptom or seems insignificant.

  • Symptoms can be very different, so people may not be aware of the disease, and doctors are faced with a lack of information to make a correct diagnosis.
  • Generalized itching is most common in combination with hives or wounds. Sore throat and trouble breathing or swallowing are common symptoms of anaphylaxis, but you may experience other symptoms.
  • Other symptoms include nausea, low blood pressure, sudden loss of muscle strength or motor control, fainting, dizziness, and headaches.

5. Make allergy tests. Exercise anaphylaxis can be caused by mild allergies to other irritants, including allergies to shellfish, wheat, or other foods and medications.

  • Allergies can be so mild that you will not be aware of them until you start exercising shortly after exposure to the antigen. Fever and heart palpitations after exercise will exacerbate the allergic reaction.
  • You can find out about this only by passing allergic tests.
  • If you test positive, you will have an easy way to get rid of itchy legs while running – avoid exposure to irritants that cause an allergic reaction.
  • Prescribed antihistamines can also help, but talk with your doctor about the appropriate remedy for ongoing use.

6. Work with your doctor. Exercise-related anaphylaxis is a rare but extremely dangerous condition with seizures that are difficult to predict. If the doctor diagnosed you with this disease, then continue to go to appointments to go jogging without risk to life or health.

  • Your doctor will tell you about preventive measures to help prevent seizures and suggest wearing a medical bracelet. You may also need to carry an epinephrine self-injecting syringe with you in case of acute symptoms while jogging.
  • If you have been diagnosed with exercise-related anaphylaxis, it is best to never exercise alone, even if symptoms are controlled or if there are no problems for a long time.
  • This does not mean that you will no longer be able to run. By its very nature, exercise-induced anaphylaxis (if this is the definitive diagnosis) can come back and go back again. Symptoms are often absent for months or years, after which a sudden attack occurs.
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