Mind, Body and Sole: 5 April

This week, Juliet looks at running jitters, restless legs and fungal infections

Your questions to GP Juliet McGrattan this week:

Mind: Shake it off

I find that I become really shaky after I run. I don’t know if I’m just paranoid now that I’ve noticed it, but it seems to be getting worse! Should I be worried?

You can get shaky and jittery after a run for a few reasons. Have you stepped up your effort level recently? Really pushing yourself with distance or intensity can cause it. You need to fuel properly before and immediately after your run (during it too if it’s over an hour) as falling blood sugar can make you shake. Check that you’ve had enough to drink and have a warm shower. Change out of your running clothes straight afterwards, as well, as falling body temperature can cause the jitters.

Jogging

Body: Bump in the night

I’ve been running for a few years, so I’m not sure if this problem is related to that or not, but I’ve started getting really twitchy legs, especially when I’m trying to drop off to sleep at night. My legs will jolt so suddenly that it wakes my husband! Is there anything I can do and should I be worried?

Muscles commonly jerk when we’re moving into sleep mode, but we don’t fully understand why. It can be annoying but it’s nothing to worry about. There’s also a condition called ‘restless legs’ which can cause twitching and cramping of leg muscles. It produces a horrible sensation that something is crawling in your legs and you just HAVE to move them. It’s more common at night, in pregnancy and if you’re deficient in iron. It’s hard to treat but regular exercise can help so it’s unlikely your running is to blame. If you’re getting repeated twitching of muscles during the day or struggling with restless legs then you should make an appointment with your GP.

High angle view of a young couple sleeping on a bed

Sole: Toeing the line

I have developed a fungal infection in one of my big toenails. Is running making this worse, and how can I get rid of it?

Fungal infections are particularly common in nails that are damaged, so runner’s toenails are a top location! You don’t necessarily need to treat them, unless they’re painful or more than one nail is affected. Nails become thickened and misshapen simply by being repeatedly knocked, so your GP will want to confirm that an infection is present before treating. Treatments include a lacquer that you paint on to the nail or a long course of anti-fungal tablets. It can take six to nine months for treatments to work as we need to wait for a new nail to grow and replace the infected one. Keeping our feet clean and dry and treating any athlete’s foot promptly will reduce the risk of future infections.

a stretching woman

Got a question for Juliet? Email [email protected]


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