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. Read on to learn more about this condition, its causes and how to prevent it!
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:
Basically, an allergy is the main cause of runner’s itch. But apart from allergies, there are other reasons behind this irksome affliction.
1. Lack Of Exercise:
Inactivity or lack of exercise is also a major reason for itchy legs, as inactivity triggers a decrease in blood flow. A decrease in blood flow causes the capillaries to contract; and a sudden jog makes these contracted capillaries expand with a vengeance. Thus, when you don’t run/exercise as often or you do so only when you feel like it, then you are susceptible to runner’s itch. How?
Our body contains millions of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. When you exercise, the heartbeat quickens and so does the blood flow, which triggers an expansion of capillaries, which in turn causes the nerve bundles surrounding these capillaries to send impulses to the brain. The brain interprets these signals as itches, which in turn leads to legs itch while running.
2. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Treat Shin Splints ]
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.
We hope you found this information helpful! So, have you ever faced runner’s itch? What were the steps you took to find runners itch relief? Do share with us in the comments section!
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