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What Causes Tingling in the Legs After Exercise

author image James Roland
James Roland started writing professionally in 1987. A former reporter and editor with the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune," he currently oversees such publications as the "Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor" and UCLA's "Healthy Years." Roland earned his Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Oregon.
What Causes Tingling in the Legs After Exercise
Tingling legs during exercise can signal circulatory or neurological damage. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Tingling in the legs after exercise may not be a big deal if it only happens once in a while. But if you start to notice a pattern of tingling in the legs, you should be evaluated by a physician who can help narrow down the causes and try to find a source and treatment for your leg trouble.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Damage to one nerve or a bundle of nerves in the legs or other parts of the body away from the brain or spinal cord is a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. Muscle weakness and trouble coordinating your muscles are also signs that you're suffering peripheral neuropathy. The symptoms can start as tingling in the legs, which may be more acute after exercise. However, continuing to exercise, with a range of cardiovascular workouts, strength-training, flexibility and balance exercises may actually help improve your symptoms. A physical therapist, trained in treating patients with peripheral neuropathy, may be able to suggest specific exercises to help you with your condition.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spine down each leg. Signs of piriformis syndrome include tingling in the legs that is often made worse after running, climbing stairs and other forms of exercise. Stretching and massage can help, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and possibly corticosteroid injections in the area affected by the disorder.

Pregnancy Complications

One of the many side effects of pregnancy can be tingling or numbness in the legs and feet, caused by the expanding uterus pressing on nerves that run down the legs. While exercise may at first seem to exacerbate those feelings of numbness or tingling, regular exercises, such as those prescribed by a physical therapist trained to work with pregnant women, may actually help strengthen your muscles and promote healthy circulation to help reduce those tingling feelings in your feet an elsewhere.

Shin Splints

Shin splints tend to be marked by pain or discomfort after exercise, but tingling in the legs also can be caused by shin splints, which is inflammation or damage to muscles along the shin bone. If those muscles swell too much during exercise, they can compress on the nerves of the lower leg and leave your leg feeling tingly. Rest and ice are the best treatments for shin splints, as is special attention to your running shoes and mechanics, to make sure you're not putting too much pressure on the nerves as you run or play sports.

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