Vibration and itchy hands

Today I had the pleasure :rolleyes: of mowing my lawn (if you couldn’t tell by the rolleyes smiley, I’d prefer an AstroTurf lawn to having to do yard work, but I digress). Anyway, my hands itched furiously for several minutes after mowing, and I’m pretty certain it has something to do with the vibrations transferred to the hands while operating the lawn mower, since I’ve had similar effects from operating a leaf blower.

My question is, what is the mechanism by which vibration causes the itching? It is caused by the vibrations, right? And why the back of my hands but not the palms? And finally, is there any way to prevent the seemingly-inevitable itching?

Don’t know, but when working as a machinist my palms would tingle/itch after using certain tools …

Do what mrAru’s grandfather did…green painted asphalt=) never had to worry about weeds or running out of parking==)

My doctor told me that itching is low grade pain.
Sounds like you may be getting a little carpal tunnel syndrome.

I have no answer for you, but something very similar will happen to me sometimes when I’m out jogging. Particularly if I’m coming to a stop, running down hill, or just too tired to try to absorb the impact, so I’m really hitting the pavement, the fronts of my thighs start itching.

I’ve also experienced the itching hands w/ vibration thing, and it’s very similar… and I don’t think I have carpal tunnel in my thighs :stuck_out_tongue:

white finger is a condition that occurs with vibration exposure.

It is usually an occupational type injury, industrial machines work, or working with a chain saw all day.

here is a link

If the itch went away quickly then I wouldn’t worry too much.

I’d put my money on mast cell histamine release. This mechanism underlies a common itchy eruption, hives. Many physical factors may trigger histamine release from mast cells in sensitive individuals (including exercise, cold, sun exposure). My derm textbook (Andrew’s) discusses vibration as a cause of angoiedema (swelling of the airway) in predisposed individuals, which is also histamine mediated. I interpret vibration-induced hand itching as a milder end of the vibrational histamine-induced spectrum.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is always something to be wary of, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t it. A quick Google search shows that CTS results in tingling/itching in the palm, and while I have had my palm itch after using a lawn mower, it was exclusively the back of my hand that itched in this particular instance.

That doesn’t look like a fun thing to have to deal with. Luckily for me, I don’t seem to have any decreased blood flow to any of my fingers (although I do tend to easily get cold hands in the winter, so maybe my circulation isn’t the best in the world).

Now that’s definitely an interesting possibility. I was originally leaning toward some sort of damage/overload to the nerve endings, but a histamine response makes a lot more sense.

Now I wonder if there’s any correlation to being susceptible to vibration-induced histamine response and being susceptible to plain old allergies? That’s probably a long shot, though, since they seem to be entirely different response mechanisms.

Wow, I’ve found some one else who gets itchy thighs after running! Actually for me, it’s worse, even walking would do it. My doctor at the time diagnosed it as exercise-induced hives, but I’m convinced it’s vibration-induced hives, because:
a. I get itchy arms if I’m mtn biking going downhill, causing vibration from my handle bars (my bike has like, zero shock absorption).
b. I get itchy legs walking downhill or flat on a hard surface, but not if I’m walking uphill. I’m the only person among my group of hiking friends who wishes the trail was uphill “both ways.”
c. I don’t get itchy if I’m exercising riding a stationary bike.

Anyway, thank you, choosybeggar for the explanation (regarding histamine release). It’s most probably what’s going on in my body, because if I take an antihistamine a couple hours before walking, I won’t get the itchy legs. And I don’t think there’s a correlation between seasonal allergies and this kind of allergy, since I never get any kind of hay fever or any allergies to dust, mold, or pollen.

Do you have any allergies? It seems to me that when you use a lawnmower or a leaf blower, you’re creating great clouds of stuff to settle on your skin or get sucked up your nose. I know it’s hot, but a pair of loose cotton gloves and a paper breathing mask might help.

Good luck.

I do, indeed, have allergies, but the response seems to be much too localized to be attributable to a normal allergic reaction. Plus, my allergies (which amount to a runny, stuffy nose and an itchy, watery right eye (at least my left eye hasn’t turned traitor)) haven’t been very noticeable these past several weeks.

However, stevenalice’s post gave me the idea of taking an antihistamine before mowing next time. If that prevents the itching, then I’ll at least know if it’s a histamine response.

The histamine release in physical urticaria is independent of the IgE-mediated pathway causing seasonal allergies. Anti-histamines help in both cases by blocking effects after mast-cell histamine release.

[Underlining mine] I can just imagine Joe Random reading the warning on the package: "Marked drowsiness may occur; alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers may increase the drowsiness effect."

“Drat! I guess this means I’ll have to skip the beer, quaaludes, and Valium this time.”

"Use caution when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery."

“Oh, hell!”


Not to worry, my mower has a handy-dandy Dead Man Lever to prevent it from rampaging unchecked through the neighborhood should I decide in mid-mow that I’d rather lie down on the grass and take a nap.

I had a feeling that there wasn’t any real correlation there, but my knowledge of how allergies function is woefully inadequate, especially for someone who suffers from them.

As an aside, am I the only one who starts itching just by reading this thread?

i don’t know about hands. i have trouble when the dentist polishes my teeth or i use an elec. toothbrush. my upper lip and nose will itch terribly. i actually have to hold my nose while using my toothbrush. very odd.

You could try a good pair of gel-palm vibration absorbing gloves. I began wearing them while cycling, and also when using pneumatic nail guns to preclude sore wrist/elbow/shoulder. Cheapies can be had at Home Despot, better grade at Grainger industrial supply, but you’ll need a buddy with an account as they are strictly wholesale.

That would have been my non-medical SWAG. You can trigger a similar event by running hot water on your skin. I’ve run really hot water down my back slowly (my hangovers prefer a good steaming). Don’t know why but I like the itchy feeling as long as it is kept moving. Could be that it takes my mind off the headache.

My educated WAG: The vibration causes a bit of capillary dilation and microtrauma in the vicinity leading to a low level of vascular leakage in the area. Histamine release probably plays some role, but so do the other inflammatory mediators.

One might do just as well with a dose of NSAIDS (that’s aspirin or ibuprofen) before mowing, and cool compresses after. Or a nice non-sedating antihistamine (now available over the counter, like Claritin) before mowing too.

If it seems to be a problem, check with your doctor.


I get itchy from the vibration of mowing the lawn, from running or walking fast (my thighs) I also get real itchy when the jets in a jacuzzi hit my skin directly. I’m not alergic to anything and I rarly get hives. My husband thiks I’m crazy when I tell him my hands itch so bad from mowing the lawn I can’t do it. It’s nice to hear I’m not the only crazy person here.

I have had this problem my whole life with my hands feet and thighs swelling after a sudden temp change or viberation from grinders or leaf blowers ect. I went to Dr.s and specialists and none could tell me anything but I stated taking Zyrtec once a day before working or using tools or anything of the sort and BAM no more swollen hands or anything. My case was bad . So much swelling that my fingers cant bend and this fixed it…its worh a try folks and well worth the money.