Swollen Legs After Running – Prevention, Causes & More 2022
A good run can strengthen the muscles and bones and make the heart more efficient. However, a good run also can be slightly damaging to the body. That’s why you might have experienced swollen legs after a run.
The body endures constant pounding as you run. So, that means by supporting your entire body weight with every stride, it gets damaged and fatigued.
Because of this, swollen legs after running is quite widespread. But what is the actual cause of this, and is it normal?
In this article, we discuss why you might have swollen legs after running and how you can prevent it. So, keep reading to find out more.
What Causes The Legs To Swell After A Run?
If you are someone that experiences this, you may be wondering what causes the legs to swell after a run.
Swelling can be caused by several reasons. However, long-distance runners or runners that run high mileage may experience swelling after training because of low sodium levels.
If you are experiencing low sodium levels, you will not only find that your legs swell after your run but other parts of your body too.
So, it is important to know if low sodium is a cause. However, if you are only experiencing it in the legs it can also be venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency is when the valves that help flow blood with each heartbeat become leaky. Resulting in blood not being able to flow backward between each heartbeat. However, this is generally not that common.
The most common reason you may be experiencing swelling after a run is because of cortisol. As you exercise your body produces cortisol. This in turn can impact your fluids and then make your body retain water. It is important to note, that this is not always a bad thing, as better blood flow is another reason why you may have swollen legs after a run.
Last but not least is heat. As you run, your muscles generate heat. This makes your body push blood vessels closer to the skin, which results in perspiration and may contribute to the swelling you have after a run.
Generally having swollen legs after training, is not a big reason for concern. It will typically pass in the hours after a run. However, if this is something that happens regularly, speak to a professional about it.
How To Prevent Swollen Legs After Running?
Since most runners have experienced swollen legs after exercising, many people look for ways how to prevent swollen legs after running. Luckily, there are some things to help relieve swollen muscles. These include:
– Apply ice directly after a run for 20 minutes
– Elevate your legs after a run
– Reduce the amount of salt you take each day
– Start using compression clothing after a run
Alternatively, a quick fix is using an ice bath. An ice bath will help to reduce inflammation after a run and also help to reduce the swelling. Alternatively, self-massage is another form of recovery you can use. It will help to increase blood flow to the muscles and help reduce the swelling. Just make sure if it is directly after a run, that you don’t go too deep. The focus should be on increased blood flow to the muscles, rather than a deep tissue massage to remove the knots.
While stretching can help, the other recovery methods work much better. However, stretching can help keep mobility and suppleness in the muscles, so it is wise to continue this after following some of our other tricks.
For most people swelling will only show after a long run or an intense session. If you are experiencing swelling after every run, you may not be following the correct training plan. So, look over your past training and make sure you have adequate recovery between long runs and more intense sessions.
Is It Normal To Swell After Running?
If you are new to running you are more likely to experience swelling of the legs after a run. However, regardless of whether you are new or not, swelling is rather common.
it is important to note though if it is becoming a regular thing after every type of run, you may have underlying issues that are worth getting checked out.
If you only experience swelling in the legs after a long run, race, or intense effort it is rather normal. Either try adjusting your training, reducing your salt intake, or continue to ice your legs after these types of runs.
Generally, swelling is the first healing response. Increased stress on our body causes micro-tearing damage to the muscle fibers. Which then also causes water retention in the body. So, yes it is normal to a degree, but it should happen periodically.
While swelling can cause shoes to fit incorrectly after training, it can also cause discomfort. But for most people, the swelling should reside after a few hours. Alternatively, you can speed this process up by following some of our guidelines in this article.
If you are still unsure about the causes, speak to a doctor or physiotherapist. They can help you understand what the body goes through after a run.