The Ultimate Guide to Chafing

guide to chafing

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or simply enjoy a leisurely morning jog around your ‘hood, odds are, you’re going to come face-to-face (or, better yet, thigh-to-thigh) with chafing at some point — and it won’t be pretty. While chafing isn’t considered one of the super-serious running ailments out there (we’re looking at you, shin splints and stress fractures), it’s certainly one of the most common running injuries and, to put it mildly, it HURTS. Hitting the road for a run, or even taking a shower, can seem like a Herculean task when you’re dealing with chafed skin.

The good news: With the right treatments, or better yet, preventative measures, there’s no need to let the painful problem rub you, or your running routine, the wrong way. We consulted top running experts to find out how to stop chafing in its, or, uh, your, tracks:

What it is: “It’s painful, that’s what chafing is,” says Mark Remy, author of The Runner’s Rule Book. “It’s caused by repeated friction — skin against skin, clothing against skin, straps against skin.” The result? Serious irritation in the form of raw, chapped skin. “Chafing is most common under the upper arms, on the torso at the bra line, between the thighs, or, for men, on the nipples,” explains Jennifer Van Allen, co-author of The Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners.

But rest assured, no area is immune to the dreaded C-word. Case in point: You may want to forgo your watch on a long run, as the rubbing sensation can cause your wrist to become chafed. And chafing is also an equal opportunist, affecting runners of all shapes and sizes. Thin, curvy, tall, short — doesn’t matter. Chafing doesn’t discriminate. If you’re an avid runner, consider yourself at risk for chafing.

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How to treat it: It may not leave you bed-ridden for weeks, but chafed skin can get infected, so it isn’t something you want to ignore. Be sure to properly clean the affected area, and in serious cases, when bleeding has occurred, place a bandage over your skin and hang up your running shoes for a few days. You can also apply an antibiotic cream, such as Neosporin, in an effort to help speed up the healing process, but ultimately, chafed skin simply needs to run its course. “There’s not much to be done with chafing once it’s occurred,” notes Remy. “Mostly, it needs time to heal.” That said, if the area doesn’t appear to be getting better at all, or has gotten worse, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Find out how to prevent chafing in the original article from Fitbie.

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