How Do I Prevent My Legs From Itching When Running

Itchy legs are a common and annoying problem for many runners, but you can learn how to prevent your legs from itching while running.

To prevent itchy legs while running, you will need:

  • An over the counter or prescription antihistamine
  • Lotion
  • new brand of laundry detergent
  1. Run more. One reason that runners get itchy legs is because they may not be getting enough blood flow. If you are new to running, your blood vessels are essentially becoming irritated by the increased demand for blood flow. For you nerds out there, the spinothalamic tract carries an electrical impulse to your insular cortex which, in turn produces the itching sensation. Once you become more active, your capillaries will remain open and the itching will subside.
  2. Take allergy medicine 30 minutes before your run. If you are a seasoned runner and your muscles are not the problem, you could have an outdoor allergy, especially if you are running in the woods and brushing up against sticks and plants. But make sure you read the label to ensure you purchased a non-drowsy allergy medicine.
  3. Switch your laundry detergent. Sweating and/or exposure to sunlight can increase your sensitivity to certain laundry detergents, if you have an allergy. If this is your problem, in addition to being itchy, you will likely have a red rash immediately or within 72 hours of your run. Choose a detergent that doesn't have dyes or perfumes.
  4. Stop Scratching. Your mother was right, scratching will only make the itching worse and expose you to secondary infections.
  5. Moisturize. If your itching is caused by dry skin, get a lotion with cocoa butter and/or colloidal oatmeal. Apply lotion directly after showering, this will allow for maximum absorption. Again, look for lotions without perfumes. 



Basketter, Kimber and Gerberick GF.(2002). "Allergic contact dermatitis". Int. Immunopharmacol. 2 (2-3): 201–11. 

Schmel, Martin. (2001). " A Neural Pathway for Itching." Nature Neuroscience. 4 (9 – 10).

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