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Pins & Needles in Arms When Running

by
author image Meredith Crilly
Meredith C. has worked as a nutrition educator, chef and community health projects since 2011. She received a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from the University of Tennessee and is currently completing an MS/DI program in nutrition.
Pins & Needles in Arms When Running
Tingling in your arms while running is a common symptom in regular runners. Photo Credit Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Most people experience temporary pins and needles in their arms from time to time, but if you notice this symptom occurring frequently while running, you may want to determine the underlying cause. Because tingling in your arms indicates reduced circulation, your cause may be your running stance, a nutrient deficiency or even a disease or condition, in some cases. Determine the cause of these symptoms and make the necessary changes to avoid experiencing numb arms while running.

Running Stance

When you run, your arms are generally in a bent position, at a 90-degree angle. This position allows your arms to generate more force in your runs, improving your running time and ability. However, because your arm is bent, you may be cutting off circulation to the area. If you have the tendency to bend your arms and then stay in that position throughout the run, with all arm movement coming from your shoulders, focus on creating more movement in your elbow joint. This simple change increases circulation to the area by allowing increased blood flow.

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Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamins B12 and folate play an important role in forming healthy red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy. Because tingling in your arms may be caused by problems in the circulatory or nervous systems, inadequate intake of these two nutrients may be the cause. You may want to see your doctor to determine any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or consider taking a supplement. A B-complex vitamin is easily absorbed into your system or your doctor may prescribe a different form to meet your needs. B-vitamins are found naturally in animal sources so if you are a vegetarian or vegan and run regularly, you may be at higher risk for a vitamin B deficiency.

Compressed Nerves

The ulnar nerve starts in the neck and runs down the inside of your upper arm to your elbow. Compression of this nerve causes a pins and needles sensation in your hands and arms. Relieving this symptom may be achieved by stretching out your arms while running and avoiding running in a bent-over position. Make sure to keep your back and neck straight and your arms moving during runs. In most cases, a nerve becomes temporarily compressed with the sensations disappearing after the pressure is taken off the area.

Damage or Disease

Certain disease or damage to the area may also be causing tingling in your arms while running. If you have atherosclerosis or enlarged blood vessels from scar tissue or infection, running may cause a tingling sensation. Certain types of medications also cause these symptoms so be sure to look at your medication labels to determine side effects. You may also be experiencing pins and needles in your arms due to nerve damage caused by alcohol, tobacco or certain medications. In some cases, diseases such as multiple sclerosis cause a tingling sensation in the arms that may be more pronounced during exercises such as running. For prolonged symptoms, see a doctor to determine the root cause of these sensations.

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