Are you unable to enjoy your morning jogs because of those irritating itches that bother you? Are these recurring itches the reason you stopped jogging altogether? Itchy legs when running or runner’s itch is a common condition and it affects most people.
What Is Runner’s Itch?
Runner’s itch is an itching sensation that mostly occurs when we are taking a jog or exercising. It is characterized by an itch, sometimes severe enough to disrupt your jog and force you to stop.
Causes Of Runner’s Itch:
- Exercising/Jogging after a long break
Anytime you exercise more than your body’s threshold, your body is prone to muscle tear and exhaustion
When our System detects this it releases Histamine as a way to protect it against exercise induced fatigue, Histamine is also known Vasodilator that increases blood flow thus helps transport immune system to the torn tissues.
This means an increase histamine production in your body could induce general feelings of itchiness, which seems to be what you’re experiencing,so the more regularly you exercise, the less sensitive you’ll be to the histamine response. So keep it up to keep the itch away.
Note:Histamine is a substance found in the body that’s most commonly associated with allergic reactions, itching, and inflammation
- Cold Weather:
Sometimes cold weather can cause runner’s itch. When the weather is cold, the body prioritizes the blood flow to maintain body temperature. Thus, the organs receive most blood and lesser blood is pumped to the extremities and muscles. When you warm up and stretch around, the blood flow is returned to normal and the increase can trigger itches in the legs and even in the arms.
Tight clothing is perhaps the most obvious reason for runner’s itch. Fabrics that rub against the skin can cause irritation and hence, remember to keep your exercise gear as simple as possible. If you wear loose fitting exercise clothing, you may want to take a closer look at the detergent or fabric softener you are using.
- Skin Care Products:
Sometimes those moisturizers and other skin care products you use can trigger itches. Although these are primarily caused by allergies to the skin and are not exactly runner’s itch, you should still double check your moisturizers and skin lotions.
- Dry Skin:
Another reason for itchy legs is dry skin. If your problem is skin related, moisturize your legs with a lotion or a cold cream. However, remember to do an allergy test to know whether the moisturizer is suitable for your legs.
- Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis:
If you experience other symptoms like vomiting or hives on the skin where you are itching, you may want to visit the doctor. Exercise induced Anaphylaxis can block the flow of oxygen to the brain and can even lead to death. This is probably the only dangerous condition associated with runner’s itch.
Preventing Runner’s Itch:
Now that we know what causes runner’s itch, here we look at some of the ways to prevent runner’s itch.
Remember to warm up for 5 minutes. Wait for the body to cool down for another 5 minutes. Begin your workout, and follow the same routine as you finish.
Take breaks while jogging to allow your body to resume the normal blood flow and regulate your breath.
Dress in layers when jogging/exercising in cold weather.
For exercise-induced anaphylaxis, consider adopting a milder exercise like swimming.