As blood flow increases
If your legs tingle after walking or exercising, the sensation can be caused by a number of factors, such as increased blood flow, impingement of a nerve or a muscle spasm. It's usually no cause for concern — as long as it goes away with rest.
Chronic Tingling Needs Evaluation
If your tingling doesn't go away after a reasonable amount of time — say, an hour or so after you stop exercising — it's important to chronicle it in your workout journal. Note when you first noticed the tingling: Does it appear after you've been working out for several minutes or only after stopping?
Jot down exactly where you're feeling the sensation. For example, new running shoes can rub nerves on the top of your foot that make your legs tingle after walking if they're laced too tightly. Tingling in muscles after exercise that runs down the back of your thigh could indicate problems in your lower back.
Your notes will come in handy, particularly if
Tingly? Or Itchy?
If your tingling in muscles after exercise feels a bit itchy up and down your legs, perhaps traveling to your buttocks and lower abdomen, it could be a histamine response. Yes, you're officially "allergic to exercise," but don't tie your running shoes together and throw them over a telephone line just yet.
Histamine plays an important role in helping your muscles combat fatigue through regulating
Histamine pouring into your H1 histamine receptors can actually be a beneficial thing for the body — so most people don't need to worry about popping an allergy pill to try to reduce the effect. The substance helps your skeletal muscles produce nitric oxide, a beneficial chemical stored in the muscles that decreases with age. Nitric oxide positively affects the health of mitochondria — the energy powerhouses of the body's cells — helping them be more efficient at converting food to energy and clearing away old or broken cells. Be aware that in rare instances, exercise could cause anaphylaxis, so it's best to be safe and talk to your doctor.
Rapid Onset of Tingling
If tingling isn't normally part of your exercise experience and you haven't added any new constrictive clothing items to your wardrobe, a sudden onset of leg tingling after a workout could indicate injury. It's vital to visit your
Injury to your lower spine's sacroiliac (SI) joint — such as when you take a misstep on the gym equipment or step unexpectedly onto an uneven surface when jogging — can cause tingling down the leg on one side of the body. Women are particularly susceptible to SI injury when they experience hormonal changes due to their monthly period or pregnancy that cause the ligaments to soften, causing
Stiffness in the joint is another cause of pain and tingling requiring rest, evaluation by a medical professional and sometimes physical therapy. A herniated disc causes tingling, burning and pain down one leg and is common in those who are aging or have arthritis of the spine. Massage, rest and stretching can help the symptoms, which usually clear up in a few months.
Both Legs Tingling After Workout
When the sensation of leg tingling after a workout runs down both of your legs, chances are the problem is in your lower back. It's important to visit your doctor to have an evaluation to rule out any potentially serious conditions.
Spinal stenosis is a compression of the spinal cord in the lower back, and can be an indicator of arthritis, injury or aging. Tingling or numbness is often accompanied by pain traveling down both legs that is worse when standing upright and lets up when you're seated or bending forward at the waist. You might also have trouble with your balance or changes in bowel or bladder control.
Other causes of pins and needles in both legs include neuropathy, a nerve impingement that can be caused by structural issues or diabetes. Narrowing of the blood vessels or arteries or other systemic disease could also be the reason. Take a break from your workout routine and get a thorough medical evaluation should your tingly legs give you cause for concern.
Rest Your Body
If the tingling is minor and doesn't bother you, it's just fine
The National Institute for Fitness & Sport recommends a
- Mayo Clinic: Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome
- Medscape: Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health: The Intriguing Role of Histamine in Exercise Responses
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health: Roles of Histamine in Exercise-Induced Fatigue — Favouring Endurance and Protecting Against Exhaustion
- Medical News Today: What Are Mitochondria?
- ACE Fitness: Training Recovery — The Most Important Component of Your Clients’ Exercise Programs
- National Institute for Fitness & Sport: The Importance of Recovery After Exercise
- Buoy Health: What Causes Tingling in the Legs After Exercise?