Itchy legs when walking – Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

Itchy legs when walking - Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

Itching in the legs can be due to different reasons. It is an uncomfortable sensation between the legs while walking or doing any physical activity. Usually, itchy legs are often accompanied by unsightly bumps or inflammation, which makes it painful to wear certain outfits. On the other hand, keeping your legs covered up can lead to chafing and sweating, which only makes the itching worse or intolerable. 

Itching in the legs can be frustrating as it makes any physical activity difficult or impossible. Finding a relief or solution for itchy legs depends on correctly identifying the problem. 

Symptoms Of Itchy Legs

Symptoms can be mild and tolerable to severe and unbearable. The primary symptom is itching in this situation, but it can get extreme according to the condition of the affected area that includes:

  1. Red and inflamed skin
  2. Dry skin
  3. Swelling
  4. Red streaks
  5. Hives

In some cases, only itching occurs in the affected area, but in others, such as hives and red streaks, it could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction or infection. In these cases, consultation with a doctor ensures right treatment and prevention.

What Causes Itchy Legs When Walking

itchy legs

Recognizing the reason or causes of itching is the first step towards getting relief. While itchy legs are caused by factors that directly irritate the skin in most cases, certain underlying conditions can also cause legs to itch.

1. Dry skin

The dry skin is more likely to itch. This goes not just for legs but every other body part. Dehydration in skin and weather conditions like low humidity or temperature can cause dry skin. Certain medicines can also cause dry skin, especially those treating acne and allergies.

Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis (1) may also develop dry skin.

2. Razor Bumps

razor bumps

Shaving legs or hands with a razor is very common nowadays. Shaving makes legs or hands smooth and causes razor bumps on the body parts. These ingrown hairs develop when cut hairs curl and grow back into the skin. Using a dull razor or shave against the grain increases the razor bumps. 

3. Allergies

Allergic reaction is the common cause of itchy legs. Itchy legs can be triggered by coming in contact with an allergen. It might happen in the following cases:

  1. If a person is allergic to grass and sits on a lawn.
  2. Many people are allergic to some metals and may face rashes or itching.
  3. Allergic to soaps and any beauty product.

The trick is figuring out the allergen causing the stretch and how you’re being exposed to it. Patch tests before using any new product can help control this condition.

4. Insect bites

Many insects, such as mosquitoes, fleas, and bedbugs bites, causing itching. Insect bites and stings can cause itching or burning sensation on the skin. Sometimes, insect bites can cause a severe reaction or infection as well. The other symptoms of insect bites include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • vomiting

This type of reaction needs medical attention and may require emergency care.

5. Diabetes

Itchy legs are an early sign of diabetes. In this case, itchiness means the glucose level isn’t under control, and may damage the nerve fibers in the body. It may also give inflamed and irritated skin. This condition is known as peripheral neuropathy (2).

6. Folliculitis

This is a kind of skin infection. In this condition, hair follicles become inflamed. Any medical condition affecting your system may increase the risk for folliculitis (3). Clusters of itchy bumps may occur on the legs, and the area around the bumps may become red and sore. In some cases, the affected one may face pus-filled blisters.

7. Expanded blood vessels

This condition may occur when the person is starting a new exercise routine. From a new routine, a person may feel itchy sensations in the legs. This is because capillaries expand in the legs and increase the blood flow to muscles and surrounding nerves.  The sensation temporarily subsides once the body acclimates to a new workout.

8. Swimming

Swimming is considered the best exercise; however, it may cause itchy legs, bumps and blisters. At the same time, if the person swims in a natural body of water such as under waterfall, hot springs or pool, parasites in water can cause hives, blisters, and bumps. In man-made swimming pools, the combination of water and chlorine can cause itchiness to people with sensitive skin.

9. Chronic Skin Conditions

Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis are all chronic skin conditions that can cause itchy legs when walking. Here’s the information about each one.

a. Eczema

It is a chronic skin condition where the skin becomes dry and patchy. It can be genetic or develop due to environmental factors such as temperature, pollens, and allergens. It also can be triggered by stress. Commonly, eczema is found on the face, but in some conditions, it can be experienced on the legs.

b. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is another chronic skin condition that can cause itchy and inflamed skin. This condition results from an overactive immune system where the skin cells grow too quickly, leading to the build-up of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. In this condition, a person may experience red, flaky patches, which can be intolerable, especially while walking. 

c. Dermatitis

This term covers many allergic reactions in itself. Allergic reactions, irritants, and infections can all cause contact dermatitis. For example, if a person has been in the woods recently and has stumbled upon poison ivy, oak, or sumac, the oily resin called urushiol (4) comes in contact with the skin. In such cases, the person may suffer an allergic reaction with red, itchy bumps. 

How To Prevent Itchy Legs When Walking?

Prevention becomes easy when the underlying cause of itchy legs is understood. Here are some common preventive measures-

  1. Use moisturizer
  2. Avoid irritants
  3. Change your bath routine
  4. De-stress
  5. Stop scratching
  6. Avoid scented soaps, lotion, and laundry detergent, which can irritate the skin.
  7. Wear loose fabrics to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs on your legs.
  8. Practice proper shaving techniques. Dull razors can develop in-grown hairs.

Home Remedies For Itchy Legs

Along with the prescribed medicines, certain home remedies may help to relieve the itchy legs such as-

  1. Cold compress
  2. Warm bath
  3. Oatmeal bath
  4. Aloe vera

Conclusion

The cause of itchy legs when walking can be anything from minor to major. If the home remedies don’t work on the affected area or get worse, the affected person should take immediate action or schedule an appointment with the doctor.

References

  1. Psoriasis – https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/psoriasis
  2. Peripheral Neuropathy – https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/peripheral-neuropathy
  3. StatPearls- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547754/
  4. Urushiol – https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Urushiol

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