Chafing… A runners worst enemy.

As most runners today know there are a few things that are uncomfortable to run with, one that is also unpleasant to talk about it chafing. It is probably one of the last things you want to happen during a race, workout of even your every day run. Chafing is not comfortable and it always happens in the worst of places. Here we will look deep into chafing, why its caused, where it happens and how to help prevent it!

What is chafing… 

Chafing is irritation of the skin caused by friction, from either other body parts or an article of clothing you may be wearing. There are a few different areas of the body were chafing usually occurs including, inner thigh, groin, waist band, rib cage (sports bra), nipple or arm pit. Sometimes you wont even realize you chafed until that post run show comes and all of a sudden your skin feels like its on fire from the lightest sprinkle of water.

Here are a few key tips to help you prevent this awfulness from happening in the first place. 

Pick the right clothing - first off it has to fit, something to tight can dig into your skin especially something like a sports bra or running belt. 

  • Seems and tags are also no good, they tend to be points of friction.
  • Compression shorts tend to help when it comes to the inner thigh chafing as it will help create a barrier from skin to skin contact. 
  • Should I wear cotton clothing? Nope. 
    • Moisture wicking clothing is best, as moist or wet clothes are hot spots for chafing to occur

Protect and Cover - Yup I'm taking about those nipples, I would recommend covering them up, Nip Guards, Band Aids, Tape, whatever you want to use but trust me this is one of the more uncomfortable spots for this to happen.

Lubricate - there are products out there like BodyGlides, Vaseline, or any petroleum based products that will help prevent chafing. Apply these greasy lubricants to prone chafing areas before your runs. ChapStick is a small but common solution to any mid run chafing problem. 

Hydrate - drinking minimizes the salt concentration in sweat, salt creates a sand paper feeling, sand paper - skin, that doesn't sound good. 

Make sure to treat any chafed areas, especially if the begin to bleed at all. Most of the time chafing comes as a result of being physically active you are likely sweating or in a sense “getting dirty”. You want to clean these irritated areas shortly after any activity and treat them as open wounds. Wash gently to not further irritate the area, pat dry, do not rub, that wouldn't feel to good. I would also recommend putting some type of over the counter ointment to get those chafed areas healed up quickly so you can get out there to rock your next activity without pain. 

Good Luck out there. 

Greg Laraia, ATC