Itchy legs when walking or running

Nothing can be more annoying than the itch while running or jogging, forcing even the motivated people to stop exercising. This doesn’t end here, the burning sensation followed by the rash and swelling adds to the discomfort and forces the person to stop doing the activity causing it.

There are various reasons for the itchy legs while running or walking. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, visit a doctor personally to get it diagnosed and make sure there isn’t any underlying disease causing this condition.

However in most people, the condition is simply during the initial days of exercise after a long period of lack of exercise. The itchy legs last for couple of days until the body gets in form and there is no more irritation and itch on the skin while exercising.

itchy legs jogging

If the itch is associated with any other symptoms including breathing difficulty, dizziness, etc. consult a doctor immediately as the allergic reaction can be due to some serious underlying disease too.

Why does legs itch when running after long time

There are various theories explaining why do legs itch when we exercise after a long time. First of all, make sure there isn’t any underlying disease process. Other than that, the usual causes of itchy legs while running are:

Dilation of the small blood vessels on the skin

One theory is that the itch is caused by the dilation of small blood vessels in the skin to provide blood and also to dissipate the heat. As body isn’t used to this feeling, the nerves sense it as itch or irritation in the skin.


Histamine is released from the mast cells in response to any allergen. When we exercise after a long time, mast cells release histamine either as a response to the overall phenomenon or else as a response to vibrations, destabilizing the mast cells. This process results in the itch on the skin of legs, waist and rest of the body including head and arms in some patients too.

Triggers for itch while exercising

Certain triggers for itch while exercising after a long time include heat, perspiration, emotional stress, inappropriate dressing, wrong types of shoes, exercising too hard in the beginning, vibrations, etc. Scratching the legs can sometimes relieve the symptoms, while in some cases, it may deteriorate it more and increase the discomfort.

Fixing these might help in fixing the itching issue. Please note that the itch will be there in most cases, but it will be more tolerable if you take care of these triggers.

Treatment for itchy legs while running or walking

First step towards treating the itchy legs while exercising is to identify the cause. Once you’re sure that it’s not caused by some underlying disease, try to figure out the trigger. Usually allergic reactions are associated with triggers, including any food item which you may eat that day and it may result in higher intensity of itch.

Secondly, the best option is to exercise, keep on jogging and walking and it will eventually subside. It may take anywhere between one day to seven days on average and itch may arise after longer distance and time too with each passing day, indication an improvement and adaptability by the body.

Prevention of itchy legs while jogging or running

Antihistamines and mast cell stabilizer help in managing and preventing the itchy legs too, but should be used after consultation with your doctor.

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