Exercise & Fitness Community
5.94k Members
Avatar universal

Itchy legs....help

About a month ago I started jogging/running. My problem is my legs start itching so bad that I have to stop. It starts at my ankles and then goes up my legs. My dh told me to start pushing through it and it will go away if I just keep going. So I did that today and it started going up my stomach, so I decided it was time to stop because it was just too much to handle, and I was afraid that my whole body would end up like that. I usually start out with a 5-10 min walk and then work my way up to running. After about 20 min of fast walking the itching starts. It doesn't matter if I'm outside or on my tredmill, wear shorts or loose pants. I have tried putting lotion w/ no purfume or anything in it before I exercise, but it's not working. I have also had my dh spray my legs with water to cool them off, but that isn't working either. I don't want to give this up, but I can't take this itching anymore. I walk and/or my tredmill everyday, sometimes several times a day, so I don't think just getting used to it is the problem. Does anybody have any idea how to make this stop? I will try anything!
232 Responses
Avatar universal
Benadryl lotion or the caps? Maybe it is only seasonal. Try walking instead of running. I like the stairs at the gym personally, my motto is I don't run unless someone is chasing me :)
Avatar universal
I have the same problem, too. It started years ago that when I had hadn't walked or run in a few days, the first day back would be really bad. But now, it's all the time. It's definitely worse after a few days of inactivity, but my legs itch every time I walk or run. I find if I go really slowly, it's not as bad, but I find they still itch even if I'm walking at 3.0 mph! I'm a personal trainer, too, and it's driving me crazy that I can only tolerate 10-15 mintues of walking!!! I've been doing some research, and some think it's dermatological, and some think it's circulatory-related. I don't know, but I'm dying.... It's so frustrating!!!
Avatar universal
The itchiness is related to a collapse of small capillaries from inactivity. When you start strenuous activity like running, the capillaries open up again but in the process it sends electrical impulses to the brain, which then reads the sensation as an "itch." It should  subside as you continue your  running.  Topical lotions won't help.

One reason why it's important to STAY in shape, as opposed to stopping and starting a vigorous exercise program.
Avatar universal
I have a similar problem (perhaps), but I don't feel like it's that easily solved.  I played collegiate athletics as well as intramurals, and I continue to play in leagues now that I have graduated.  I never work out outside of when I play.  Sometimes that will be months apart.  If I play a game (football, soccer, basketball) I NEVER have the itching problem and when I just go out an jog I always have it.  So, I don't feel like it's related to being out of shape, since I experienced this problem in college when I was in shape.  I suppose that sports just keeps my mind off of it, but I'd still like to know what "it" is.  Other possibilities?
Avatar universal
I've had this same problem since childhood.  It has nothing to do with circultaion or being out of shape like some people say.  The condition is called Exercise uticaria.  It is caused by a rise in body temp.  Check out the link below to learn more.

Avatar universal
I know exactly what you mean Nalla and ChattyCush!  I have always been an active individual and use to run a lot.  I gave up running a number of years ago now but have remained active.  Ever since I tried to start running again I suffer from intense itching to the point where I just cannot run any longer.  I definately didn't start off with a "vigorous exercise program".  I've tried to push myself thru this but only end up feeling overwhelmed by the itch, short of breath, head feels dizzy and faintish and I think I'm going to be sick.  I'm no where near my physical limits either when this happens. I've even tried just walking at a fast pace but it still happens.  I've tested every scenario I can think of and have concluded that weather, clothing, temperature, creams, dry skin, laundry detergent, medication, hydration...has nothing to do with it.  I'm really frustrated by this and must say the symptoms scare me a little.  I've read all sorts of stuff and the only thing that makes sense is a histamine response.  As I'm typing this my husband has decided he's going for a run!  How I would love to join him!!!  I'd love some answers/possible solutions if anyone has one.
Take an antihistamine before you run. I've had this problem my entire life. It does get better the more consistently I run, but the itch was so overwhelming that I couldn't even just enjoy the run. I think it's just running and oxygen related. It still happened when I was in top shape, it never happened when I ran indoors. Your story sounds exactly like mine. Tried everything under the sun then one day ran across a running blog and learned it's an allergic reaction. Took Claritin (children's dose) 15-30 min before I run and now no matter how long it's been since I last ran, no more itch OR its at least bearable/barely noticeable and I actually CAN run through it.. Light years away from how tortuous as it used to be. If I keep running consistently I notice it does eventually stop itching. BUT until then I Claritin up before I run outside.
Have an Answer?
Top Healthy Living Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
14 super-healthy foods that are worth the hype
Small changes make a big impact with these easy ways to cut hundreds of calories a day.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.