itchy stinging legs during physical activity.
November 15, 2005 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I get itchy and stinging legs (no hives) when I jog for 15 minutes (indoor or outdoor, hot or cold weather) and when I hike in cold weathers. When I stop walking or jogging, while I am still outside, it disappears after a while. Any contact to my skin during this period, triggers the itching and stinging. I tried to wear different fabrics, from cotton to microfibres, and applied mosturizing lotions, nothing worked. I had allergy test that is clean. I don’t know if any relation to this but most of the times my legs are cooler than my rest of body, even in indoor. Any body has an idea what is this?
posted by breeze01 to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't really know about itchy legs but I think it's going to help everyone answer you if you describe where the itching occurs.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:42 PM on November 15, 2005

Oh my god! I get this on my legs too! Usually it's in slightly cold weather, but it's definitely due to the jogging - not just standing there. I just tell myself I'm allergic to running. Doesn't always happen, and has happened a lot less since moving to a warmer climate.
posted by barnone at 6:47 PM on November 15, 2005

hmm. i'm not sure if it's the same thing, but sometimes when i start exercising and my skin is cold, i get itchy all over my back and shoulders for a few minutes. it goes away after a few minutes, once i warm up and start sweating.

i always thought it was because my skin was going from cold to hot and the rapid onset of sweat production somehow irritated the pores, or something. i have no idea what i'm talking about though. does it go away after a while if you keep running?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 6:55 PM on November 15, 2005

I have the same problem. I'm betting it's a lot more common than people let on. My wife gets it worse than I do: She has an accompanying rash.

We've both attributed it to the fact that she has always had really really dry skin. When she sweats, particularly in an otherwise dry atmosphere (like when we're doing housework during the winter), she starts scratching all over.

She's tried lotions, and the like. I tend to just wait it out. Once I get my juices flowing, it goes away after a bit. I'm betting it has to do with pores, just like sergeant sandwich suggested.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:58 PM on November 15, 2005

Yeah, I get this every time I run too, in any weather, and I've always attributed it to sweat coming out of pores. My itching goes away after about 15 minutes of running.
posted by brownpau at 7:01 PM on November 15, 2005

Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis
posted by substrate at 7:09 PM on November 15, 2005

Um, that article is a pretty severe case, but I think the mild versions are the same thing (my doctor told me when I was a teenager anyway)
posted by substrate at 7:11 PM on November 15, 2005

This exact same things happens to me. Usually when I'm running, but even when I'm swimming. That is why I've always attributed it to some sort of circulatory effect, rather than to sweating. However, it usually only lasts about a couple minutes. It usually happens when I suddenly sprint.

This is a total long shot, but do you get enough of a warm up before you start jogging or hiking? Maybe do some more relaxed walking and stretches for a couple minutes before you start really exerting yourself and see what happens.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 7:19 PM on November 15, 2005

Your reaction isn't all that uncommon. My gums get itchy as hell when I exercise. If it's really bad, you can get meds for it (an anitleukotriene (like Singulair) or an antihistamine (like benadryl) can supposedly help). Ask your doc at your next checkup.

p.s. If you get any mild redness/rash with your symptoms and you want to show your allergy to the doc, instead of repeating the allergy test, tell your allergist that you'll jog for ten minutes before your exam. Take a couple of laps around the parking lot (or maybe there's cardiology clinic in the building that'll let you use their treadmill).

p.p.s. also extreme, but this describes hives (urticaria) in response to temp change, as well the aforementioned exercise-induced allergic reaction. kinda interesting.
posted by neda at 7:34 PM on November 15, 2005

I get this on my legs when I take the dog for a walk when it's cold. It usually kicks in at about the twenty minute mark and then doesn't stop until I stop moving. It hurts badly enough that I end up cutting our walks short...I would *love* to find some way of preventing it.
posted by youcancallmeal at 7:43 PM on November 15, 2005

Try holding an ice cube to your skin for a while and see what happens. Some people have a type of "allergy" to the cold, something like neda mentioned above.
posted by idiotfactory at 8:25 PM on November 15, 2005

Previous AskMe thread.
posted by desuetude at 10:37 PM on November 15, 2005

Wow, I didn't know anybody else got this. Yes, this happens to me. Sometimes when I get it, I can keep walking and kinda "tune it out." Other times, though, I have to stop walking for a bit and rub my legs a little, otherwise it gets worse.

A couple doctors have suggested it was because of claudication, but then they all immediately dismissed it because I'm too young to have that ailment. (I'm in my 20's, and claudication usually affects the 50+ crowd)

I'd love to find out the cause of this.
posted by afroblanca at 11:18 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm wondering if the E.I.A. applies to me or not.

Usually, it's more of a stinging then an itching. I should note that although it often happens after vigorous excersize, it also happens when I'm just out walking around.

The weird part is how it seems to get worse unless I stop and rest for a second. It almost feels like a "skin cramp" if that makes any sense at all. Sort of a pinching sensation. I wouldn't really call it an itch.
posted by afroblanca at 11:22 PM on November 15, 2005

No answers from me -- just wanted to chime in with "this happens to me too!" And like the other folks above, I had no idea that there were others who had this "condition" whatever it is...
posted by davidmsc at 4:23 AM on November 16, 2005

sounds like 'prickly heat' caused by sweat from the glands being blocked from going to the skin surface and instead being retained under the skin. i had this a lot (mainly on my back) when i first started excercising after a few years of little excercise. after a few months of regular excercise it slowly went away and i don't get it at all now.
posted by tnai at 5:54 AM on November 16, 2005

This happens to me, too, usually when I'm really warm and then go out into the cold and exercise. It also happens when I'm cold and go back into a warm house. It's mostly on the front of my thighs, but if it's really bad, it extends around to my hamstrings and my calves. I too sometimes have to stop and scratch my legs, but this makes it so much worse.

It gets less and less noticeable as I continue to exercise in the cold, and it's also less noticeable the more fit I am (if I take a long break from physical activity, the itching is much worse). One thing that's helped me is a pair of lined running tights (mine happen to be Brooks). The reduced friction seems to help. I wear shorts or loose rain-proof pants over them.
posted by peep at 9:01 AM on November 16, 2005

Some folks can be allergic to something in their laundry detergent; it leaves the clothing and gets onto the skin when a person sweats into the clothes. Perfumes are common culprits.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:52 PM on November 16, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I will try them and post the answers later. To answer the questions, it dissapears only when I stop hiking or jogging. Last time I hiked for 2 hours, never went away. (I had to continue hiking for 2 hours to reach my car).
I don't think mine could be directly related to exercise. because I also dance and sweat alot. But I don't get such a skin reaction. Also I do long distance biking nothing happens. Except once. I was doing mountain biking and got kind of lost. And my legs start itching and stinging. But the difference was went away after 5-10 minutes.
posted by breeze01 at 6:56 AM on November 19, 2005

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