Numbness In Legs After Exercise & During – A Complete Guide
A common reason many people head to a sports medicine specialist is because of numbness in the legs when exercising. Although, not only during, after exercise is common too.
Often people can feel symptoms of tingling and numbness which can arise from muscle or nerves. However, there can be many causes of numbness in the legs after exercise and during.
In this article, we discuss why you might get numb legs during and after a workout regardless of the exercise. So, if you suffer from this, keep on reading.
Can Exercise Cause Leg Numbness?
Unfortunately, numbness in the legs during and after exercise is all too common. This usually comes on during or after strenuous physical activity.
Numbness is often related to nerve compression or exertional compartment syndrome. It can be also caused by a lack of blood flow or other underlying complications.
When you perform sustained movements for some time, it can slow down the blood flow in your legs, which causes numbness and tingling sensations.
In other cases, a pinched nerve in the legs or back can be another cause. For example, a herniated disk in your spine is often related to numbness in the leg.
Some of the symptoms you may initially feel may be numbness in a specific area. For example, in your calf, thigh, or hamstring. You may also experience other things like tingling sensations, minor loss of mobility, and slight paleness in the affected area.
Once the numbness has disappeared, you may find you have weak muscles, dizziness, and muscle spasms. Then in the worst cause scenario, you may feel pain and nausea. If this is the cause you may have a more serious underlying issue, and you should speak to a doctor or go to the hospital immediately.
Exercise Induced Leg Numbness
You may have heard of exercise-induced leg numbness, but what is this?
Exercise-Induced Nerve Pain or Numbness is related to exertional compartment syndrome. Exertional compartment syndrome is a condition when individuals develop pain or numbness with strenuous physical activity.
Exertional compartment syndrome can affect muscle compartments in the limbs. However, it is more widely common in the lower legs. The lower legs have four compartments, and because of this, any of the four can be affected.
Some of the signs and symptoms of compartment syndrome can be localized pain, pale skin, faint pulse, and weakness with movements. Also, lack of mobility is relatively common with this condition
Exertional compartment syndrome usually occurs when muscles start to expand during strenuous activity. The muscles expand and fascial covering the muscles become tight. This causes an aching and sharp feeling if the person tries to continue to exercise.
What Causes Numbness In The Legs During Exercise?
Many reasons cause numbness in the legs during exercise. Some of the most common reasons are:
– Exercise-Induced Nerve Pain
– Exertional Compartment Syndrome
– Compression of the nerves
While there are multiple reasons, the cause will vary between each person. However, usually, numbness will subside directly after a workout or within a few hours. The numbness should go away on its own. However, if it doesn’t some slow movements may help restore feeling back in the legs. For example, slow walking or easy cycling. Alternatively, light massage can help increase the blood flow back to the muscles, resulting in a reduction of numbness.
Intense exercise like running can blood flow to your feet or lower legs and high impact exercises like lifting or team sports can also cause this. Many high-intensity exercises can cause compression of the nerves, similar to that of sitting or when you tie your shoes too tight.
Generally, numbness in the legs while working out is relatively common and should last long. If it lasts longer than a few minutes, you may need to seek medical advice.
Numbness In The Legs After Exercise
Numbness after a weight-bearing exercise is fairly common. Many people experience a slight tingling and numb feeling after exercising.
However, there are some more serious causes of numbness. Some of these may be:
During the winter months when you are exercising outdoors, mild frostbite can also be a cause. This is when your body is exposed to extreme cold weather. Resulting in frozen skin or mild frostbite. However, with mild cases, it should pass within 30 minutes.
However, if it is during the warmer months, numbness after exercise is usually caused by a compressed nerve, shoes that are too tight, dehydration, or even clothing that is too tight when working out. This is usually nothing to worry about and will pass in a matter of time.
Other causes may be reduced blood flow to the muscles. If this is the case, introducing a light warm down after exercise can help to elevate the problem.
If you find that you experience numbness in the body, anywhere after working out. Make sure you are fully hydrated after working out, check that your clothing hasn’t been too tight (your muscles may swell during a workout), or that your not compressing a nerve when lifting weights or from shoes that are too tight when running.
Alternatively, if nothing of the above is causing the numbness it is wise to speak to your doctor. They can help identify the symptoms and help prevent it from happening again in the future.