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Itchy legs when running.

Posted Aug 30 2011 10:43am

This is actually something I’ve known deep down for awhile. It’s not that I haven’t had the desire to run. And it’s not that my feet aren’t runner’s feet. Just ask my yoga instructor. Or the poor souls who’ve been plagued with giving me pedicures. (I’ve been asked several times if I was a runner. Ashamed of my feet, I finally lied and said yes.)

Every time I start a running regime, no matter how slowly I ease into it, my legs get this painful itchy burning sensation. It usually starts behind my knees and travels upward to my lower back. I’ve tried to push through it but the more I run, the worse it gets. I have a pretty high threshold for pain having suffered from migraines since I was 18, but this “itching” makes me want to cry. It’s also happened when hiking. Not while traversing or going uphill, but when hiking downhill. I think it has something to do with the impact of my feet hitting the ground. It’s also worse in the morning than in the evening so that makes me think it’s related to my circulation (I know I have bad circulation. Just ask anyone who’s had to shake my cold, dead hand.) I’ve mentioned it to doctors and have gotten everything from strange looks to an MRI of my lumbar spine, but no answers. It’s frustrating because I think I would be a good runner. I think I would enjoy it. I don’t want to run an ultra marathon, I just want to run a 5k. Or go for a morning jog with my son.

I’ve done some Googling and it seems as though I’m not alone. It looks like my condition could be one of two things:  Exercise Urticaria  or the more rare Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome . Or it could be something totally different. I’m not a doctor. Just a woman with a hyperactive mind and the Internet at her disposal.

The Urticaria is like an allergic reaction to exercise in the form of hives. I do get red where the itching occurs but it’s not raised and bumpy. Wouldn’t that be something if I was allergic to exercise?! Compartment Syndrome has no real cure aside from surgery and takes months of testing to officially diagnose. Not going down that road.

I just found out about the Urticaria, so I haven’t had a chance to test the suggested remedy. They recommend taking an antihistamine such as Benedryl 30-60 minutes before exercising. While this will make me very groggy, but if it works, at least means I can run. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to find a more low-impact workout option. And I’ll also have a BOB up for sale:)

Does anyone else have this “itchy legs when exercising” issue?










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