Runners at all levels might experience tingling and numbness in the fingertips. The sensation is usually more of a nagging irritation than a medical problem; however, it can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Understand the causes of your tingling and numbness can help you determine a solution.
Our bodies function with physical survival as a goal. During exercise, blood is allocated to the areas of our bodies that need it most. Running demands extensive use of lower body muscles, which means that blood is mainly distributed to the legs. The large leg muscles need the flow of blood more than the hands to meet the demands being placed on the body. Unfortunately, this can cause less blood flow to the fingers than usual, which can result in tingling and numbness in the hands and fingers while running.
While performing intense physical activities, such as running, our bodies experience real-time changes. One such change occurs in our cardiovascular system, which is comprised of the heart and blood vessels. Its job is to circulate blood throughout your body. However, the changes to blood vessels alters the flow of blood to body parts. Vascular constriction is the act of blood vessels tightening and offering a smaller passageway for blood. This results in limited or delayed blood flow to the fingers, which can result in a tingling sensation or numbness.
Raynaud's disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body to feel numb in cold temperatures or during times of physical or emotional stress. The smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin become narrow, limiting blood circulation to the outer extremities. While running, the flow of blood can be reduced by adrenaline, which is released during times of high physical stress or anxiety. In this situation, a runner who suffers from Reynaud's disease may feel numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers.
Both Iron deficiency and anemia, which are common conditions among runners, can contribute to tingling and numbness in the hands. Ensure that you get enough iron in your diet via food or supplements. Avoid smoking and heavy caffeine use because they contribute to vascular constriction. Wear gloves while running to keep your hands warm and limit tingling and numbness.