When you exercise, you might expect the muscles of your abdomen, arms or legs to feel sore, but not your tongue. Pain in your tongue during and after exercise usually is temporary and rarely a cause for medical concern. You can often prevent or treat tongue pain with changes in your dietary, dental and exercise habits. If pain is persistent or you notice additional symptoms, consult a doctor.
You might feel thirstier than usual after completing your workout or have a mouth that's drier than usual after exercising. Tongue pain can even interfere with your ability to rehydrate after you finish exercising or with swallowing during and after exercise. Tongue pain may occur each time you exercise, or just after performing certain types of exercise, and the pain might last for just a few minutes or continue for several days. Consult your doctor if you develop additional symptoms such as swelling, difficulty breathing or numbness in your extremities. These may be signs of a serious medical condition.
If your mouth becomes too dry during exercise due to dehydration or mouth breathing you may experience a burning, painful sensation in your tongue. Other oral habits like grinding your teeth when you exercise or clenching your jaw also cause tongue pain. According to MayoClinic.com, your tongue pain may be due to psychological causes, such as excessive worries about your health, depression or anxiety. Exposure to irritants and allergens, such as pollen in the air, air pollution or smoke when you exercise, or an allergy to exercise also may lead to tongue pain. Rarely, a condition called giant cell arteritis is the cause of tongue pain. This condition occurs most often in people older than 72, according to the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center.
Staying hydrated before, during and after your workout by drinking water or electrolyte solutions will treat tongue pain resulting from a dry mouth during exercise. If have oral habits like grinding your teeth, your dentist might recommend using a mouth guard during exercise as well as oral exercises. Medications and psychological counseling may help reduce tongue pain due to psychological concerns. If you have allergies or are sensitive to environmental irritants, discuss taking an anti-histamine medication with your doctor because this can reduce or eliminate your tongue pain. Your doctor might prescribe prednisone to treat severe allergies or giant cell arteritis.
Exercising in a climate-controlled environment helps prevent tongue pain resulting from contact with irritants and allergens during exercise. Alternately, exercise later in the day or after a rain when pollen counts are lower. Avoiding exercising in extreme weather conditions that hasten dehydration helps prevent your tongue from hurting. Monitoring your stress levels and taking time to relax helps you avoid tongue pain due to psychological causes.