Managing Chafing


the legs of two runners

Should you haven’t skilled chafing throughout a run or bike trip, contemplate your self fortunate. A bit of chafing could look like a minor challenge however it may be surprisingly painful and, if ignored, it will possibly flip into an excruciating ailment that may hinder your consolation and efficiency.

For some recommendations on stopping and coping with chafing, we checked in with fitnessinf Outside College Teacher Matt French, who realized the onerous approach how painful chafing could be when it pressured him to drop out of a operating race. His recommendation on chafing covers:

  • What chafing is
  • Ideas for avoiding chafing
  • The place chafing happens and tips on how to forestall it
  • How one can deal with chafing

What’s Chafing?

Chafing is irritation to the pores and skin brought on by friction—often skin-on-skin or clothing-on-skin. This friction will ultimately trigger sufficient irritation that it’s going to injure your pores and skin, leading to a rash, blisters or uncooked pores and skin. Extreme chafing could be extraordinarily painful, making motion troublesome.

Chafing can occur with nearly any exercise that features repetitive movement, however it’s particularly widespread throughout long-distance operating and biking. Some components that will trigger or contribute to chafing embrace:

  • Sick-fitting clothes
  • Materials that don’t wick moisture
  • Scorching climate
  • Humidity
  • Sweat
  • Water from watersports
  • Delicate pores and skin
  • Massive muscular tissues
  • Further physique weight

The primary signal that chafing is going on is a sizzling spot. Identical to with blisters in your toes, early detection is essential. As quickly as you’re feeling a sizzling spot someplace, cease what you’re doing and take a look at the world. If the world is even a tad pink and irritated, take the time to handle the problem.

How one can Forestall Chafing

a biker holding up a pair of biking shorts with built-in chamois

You possibly can forestall most chafing by making use of lubrication and sporting correctly becoming athletic clothes.

Apply lubrication: There are a selection of skin-treatment merchandise in the marketplace which can be designed particularly for lubricating high-friction areas in your physique to forestall chafing. You should utilize the lubricant to pretreat recognized drawback areas or deal with sizzling spots that develop mid-activity. Make sure to comply with the instructions, however normally, apply the product liberally to any space that rubs.

Store pores and skin therapies

Say no to cotton: The previous adage “cotton kills” applies right here, too. Cotton is nice for lounging and on a regular basis put on, however as quickly as you’re employed up a sweat, it can take a very long time to dry and might trigger painful pores and skin irritation when it rubs. Select artificial or wool materials as an alternative.

Store operating garments

Store biking garments

Correct match is essential: A sports activities bra or briefs which can be too tight can dig into pores and skin. Saggy shorts and shirts can rub pores and skin uncooked. Ensure that your garments are neither too tight nor too free.

See our articles Working Clothes: How one can Select and Bike Clothes: How one can Select to be taught extra.

Go seamless and tagless: Even correctly becoming garments may cause chafing when seams and/or tags rub in opposition to your pores and skin. Select clothes that has only a few seams and, if potential, zero tags. Typically the one approach to determine if a seam will trigger chafing is to put on the clothes merchandise, but it surely’s value taking note of rubbing or irritation whenever you’re attempting on shorts or a shirt in retailer. If one thing bugs you within the retailer, then it undoubtedly will throughout a future or onerous exercise.

Consider Your Underwear: For runners, shorts with built-in briefs could be a blessing or a curse. Some runners discover them to be simply what they should forestall chafing, whereas others want shorts with out built-in briefs to allow them to select separate underwear or compression shorts. Males usually want the help of underwear, however some girls want to forgo it when operating or figuring out in formfitting tights. Cyclists, female and male, usually don’t put on underwear beneath biking shorts with a built-in chamois. Generally, determining what undergarments give you the results you want is often a matter of trial and error.

Store underwear

Safe your pack: The bouncing and shifting of a operating pack, vest or waistbelt may cause chafing in quite a few locations, together with your waist, again and shoulders. Be sure you cosy the straps in your pack to restrict the quantity of motion when you’re operating.

Store operating packs

Hydrate: As you change into dehydrated, the focus of salt in your sweat turns into higher. Salt irritates the pores and skin and might result in friction that causes chafing. Keep correctly hydrated and you’ll assist forestall chafing.

The place Chafing Happens and Prevention Ideas

detail of a bicyclist's legs

Listed below are the most probably locations you’ll expertise chafing and methods to forestall it.


Pores and skin-on-skin rubbing or clothes rubbing in opposition to pores and skin is widespread within the thigh space.

Prevention: To stop chafing, apply a pores and skin lubricant liberally to your inside thighs earlier than operating. Your clothes can be the perpetrator. Keep away from operating in shorts or pants which have seams on the inside thigh. Select snug-fitting stretchy athletic clothes quite than dishevelled shorts or pants. Some runners discover that compression shorts care for the issue.


As with thigh chafing, chafing within the delicate groin area is usually brought on by pores and skin rubbing in opposition to pores and skin, however clothes could be a issue, too.

Prevention: Liberally making use of a pores and skin lubricant initially of your run, exercise or bike trip is essential. Should you suspect clothes is the trigger, study seams and match. Making use of lubricant the place the seam touches pores and skin will help, however chances are you’ll must attempt completely different shorts or pants. For operating and figuring out, attempt sporting stretchy garments that match cosy, however not too tight. For biking, attempt bike shorts with a built-in chamois that may wick moisture away out of your physique. Making use of pores and skin lubricant, akin to a chamois cream, to your pores and skin or immediately on the chamois can scale back rubbing.


A standard place for males to expertise chafing is on their nipples. For ladies, a correctly becoming sports activities bra often offers safety from this (nonetheless, a sports activities bra may cause chafing elsewhere.) Nipple chafing is brought on by repeated rubbing of your pores and skin in opposition to a shirt. In extreme circumstances, nipple chafing can draw blood. With less-severe chafing, you’ll expertise vital ache when sweat contacts the irritated pores and skin or whenever you suds up within the bathe after a exercise.

Prevention: Apply a pores and skin lubricant liberally to your nipples earlier than operating. One other widespread method is to position bandages over your nipples. There are bandages designed particularly for protecting and defending nipples or you may attempt an ordinary bandage, like the sort you’d use on a minimize in your finger.

Sports activities Bra

A sports activities bra that doesn’t match correctly or has poorly positioned seams may cause chafing.

Prevention: One of the best factor you are able to do is put on a correctly becoming sports activities bra. See our article, Sports activities Bras: How one can Select for recommendations on choosing the correct sports activities bra.


Pores and skin-to-skin rubbing or abrasion from a shirt are two causes of armpit chafing. Should you shave your armpits, chances are you’ll be susceptible to chafing brought on by a shirt rubbing in opposition to hair stubble.

Prevention: Apply pores and skin lubricant to your armpits and be sure to put on a shirt that matches you correctly. Should you’ve skilled chafing by your armpits, take a look at the shirt you’re sporting and see if a seam is inflicting the issue. If that’s the case, attempt a shirt with a unique building.

Coronary heart Fee Monitor Strap


Typically a coronary heart fee monitor strap may cause chafing round your chest and again.

Prevention: The best repair is to use pores and skin lubricant to the strap itself. This received’t injury the strap; They’re designed to withstand moisture from sweat and rain, so a bit of lube received’t be an issue.

How one can Take care of Chafing

If our prevention ideas arrived too late and also you’re at present coping with badly chafed pores and skin, right here’s some remedy recommendation:

Cut back the rubbing: If chafing develops mid-activity, discover a solution to scale back the rubbing. Drying the issue space and making use of a skin-treatment lubricant and/or altering your garments will help.

Take a bathe: While you get house, wash up as quickly as you may after your exercise to eliminate salt residue left in your pores and skin from sweating. (When water hits the chafed spot, it’s in all probability going to sting).  Use lukewarm water (sizzling water can be too painful) and cleaning soap to softly clear the world. Pat the world dry.

Ease the discomfort: Deal with chafing such as you would a minor burn or diaper rash.  To stop additional rubbing, attempt loosely protecting the world with nonstick gauze.

Take a break: To provide the injured space time to heal chances are you’ll must take a number of days off from the exercise that induced the chafing.

See a physician: For extreme chafing that’s extraordinarily painful, swollen and/or bloody, test in along with your physician.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here