Itching on legs

Itching on the legs is common, it affects the ankles, calves, thighs and/or the area between the legs. The reasons for itchy legs vary from person to person. Once the cause of the itching has been identified, there are solutions to relieve the itching.



Why do your legs itch?

Having an itchy body can come from:

  • A dermatological cause: eczema (on the legs, it is called varicose eczema), psoriasis, skin infection, etc.
  • A non-dermatological cause: this is called pruritus sine materia, i.e., without any skin lesions that could explain the itching. The causes of this pruritus are varied and sometimes complex to identify: liver or kidney disease, endocrine disorders, cancers, medication, advanced age, pregnancy, neurological or psychological disorders, etc.

In the case of itching on the legs, a few causes often come up:

  • Sports: wearing technical clothing, rubbing and sweating cause itching on the legs. This itching usually appears during exercise but can persist afterward. Sports such as cycling or running are particularly prone to itching on the legs and more specifically itching between the thighs.
  • Skin dryness: legs should get all of your skin care attention, just like the face or the hands. In reality, however, this is far from the case. Due to a lack of time or desire, the legs are not properly moisturized, resulting in drier skin and itching on the legs.
  • Circulatory disorders: venous insufficiency concerns many people, both men and women. Pregnant women are particularly prone to venous insufficiency. This is very often expressed by a feeling of heavy legs and itching on the legs. Wearing medical compression socks, stockings or tights is highly recommended in cases of venous insufficiency. However, these medical devices can in turn lead to itching on the calves or itching between the legs, especially if they are not changed daily or if they are made of synthetic fibers. Medical compression stockings are sometimes responsible for itching on the thighs due to the presence of irritating or allergenic components in the fastening band.
  • Allergies: to body lotion, wax, detergents, ankle jewelry, etc.
  • Irritation: pants that are too tight or too stiff cause irritation and itching on the legs. The same thing happens after hair removal, the skin is irritated for a few hours or even a few days afterward. Itching on the legs is sometimes more intense at night because of irritating friction with bed sheets and the increase in temperature.
  • More serious diseases: deep vein thrombosis, also called phlebitis, results in a heavy, swollen and painful legs. Other symptoms are sometimes associated with phlebitis, including itching on the shin. In cases of phlebitis, the person must be quickly placed on anticoagulants at a curative dose. Another disease to be aware of is erysipelas. It is a bacterial infection marked by a red, shiny leg and fever. Again, itching on the leg may accompany the primary symptoms. Treatment should be prompt and include the administration of antibiotics.

How do you relieve itching on the legs?

In cases of itching on the legs, a few simple rules can soothe the skin and restore comfort to the legs:

  • Wash legs with warm water, using a superfatted soap, a syndet or a soothing cleansing oil. Rinse and dry without rubbing, dabbing gently with a soft cotton towel.
  • After the shower, apply a generous amount of anti-itching cream. Renew application as many times as necessary, and in particular before exercise to limit the risk of itching on the legs.
  • Avoid pants that are too stiff or too tight. Opt for natural materials such as cotton. Same thing for bedding.
  • To avoid itching on the legs, choose socks, stockings or tights made of natural fibers, and change them every day.
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