Running and chafing: How to stop the friction

The 5 worst places to chafe and how to heal them

Runners may be surprised at what happens to their bodies after a long, hot run. If you are like most, as the mileage and temperature continue to go up, so do the discomforts.

Chafing occurs when skin repeatedly rubs against other skin or clothing, causing it to become inflamed. Lubrication can help prevent and treat chafing to keep you running comfortably. Most running stores carry a wide variety of anti-chafing lubricants that can heal up and stop chafing. Vaseline also can do the trick if you are in a pinch.

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Below is a list of the most common problem areas and how to treat them with lube.

  • Thighs: Apply lube between the thighs to help reduce skin friction. If you run in the same type of shorts and notice the same pattern of rubbing, switch out your running apparel and see if that helps to clear up trouble spots.
  • Armpits: Apply lube along the sides of your armpits. Chafing in this area may be cause by a shirt or seam, so apply a little lube to your clothing as well.
  • Sports bra: This is common area for chafing at the top of the chest, along the shoulder straps or underneath the breasts. If the seam is causing the chafing, try turning the sports bra inside out to avoid the seam. Spending a little more for a good sports bra will go a long way in preventing chafing.
  • Genitals: This can be a tricky area to treat but one that is very uncomfortable for men. Apply lube liberally to your genitals. Make sure your hands are clean before applying, and be sure to apply before leaving home!
  • Nipples: Women and men alike can experience chafing here. Lube can help but also consider using adhesive bandages to cover these sensitive areas from rubbing against shirts and bras.
  • Lubrication needs can depend on the user and distance, so consider carrying a travel-size bottle on your long runs.

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