Chafing: Classification, Prevention and Treatment.


Chafing is a big theme through blogs at the moment and it is refreshing how open people are about what can be quite an embarrasing, socially unacceptable topic. So, being the doctor that I am, I thought I might demystify and classify. Additions would be welcomed.

Between the thighs: Not peculiar to runners. A severe affliction of normal women (whose thighs rub together) especially during summertime while wearing skirts. Prevention: Skin-tight pants that cover the thigh area, bodyglide, pantyhose/ nancy ganz (if dress-wearing female). Treatment: Papaya cream (thanks, Morsey), fresh air (not in public).

Between the butt cheeks: Rarer than the abovementioned, but far more severe. Exacerbated by heat. Extremely uncomfortable. Prevention: Bodyglide (? need to get a new tube for that area) Treatment: Vaseline. Prevention better than  cure. Morphine / Epidural may help.

Under-the boob: The consequence of a poorly fitted bra. Extremely painful when showering. Prevention: Well fitted bra, bodyglide. Treatment: Incurable but self-limiting. Skin changes may form with repeated episodes.

Under the arm: Consequence of cotton t-shirts (damn under-arm seam), camel-backs. Problematic when occurs as the skin under the arm is extremely sensitive and one cannot walk about with their arms at 45 degrees to their body. Prevention: Technical T-shirt Treatment: Incurable but self-limiting.

Nipple: Extremely severe and painful, almost exclusively affecting men. Occurs during long runs while wearing cotton t-shirts. Severe cases involve bleeding of nipples. Showering causes severe distress. Prevention: Band-Aids, Technical T-shirts. Treatment: Full general anaesthetic / morphine / diazepam until affliction passed.

Any contributions are welcomed.

4 responses »

  1. ah, chaffing’s not embarrassing, it kind of comes with the territory – sweat + friction = chaffing! I’ve had 3 of the kinds you mentioned (thighs, butt, underboob), plus on the neck/shoulder where my macpac rubs me, and on top of the chest where the elastic on the neckline of my sportsbra rubs me. In the last week I have bought 3 anti-chaffing products – Bodyglide, Lanacane and Neat 3B action cream. Bodyglide is good for everywhere, Lanacane is particularly good between the thighs and underboob and Neat 3B is only good for shorter runs. The trick is to cover all these areas before activity, don’t wait til you’re already chafed!

  2. I think the only place I haven’t been chafed is on my nipples

    I have scars under my boobs from my bras rubbing (before I found the Enell Bra!).

    I also got chafing when wearing a g-string last year whilst doing Trailwalker. Note to self: granny undies this year!!

    I’ve tried just about every type of anti-chafe stuff out there and I now swear by SportShield. I find it better than Bodyglide for all areas of the body.

  3. I am a bodyglide fan- and a big user of pawpaw cream for the bits I miss! After a day of golf in Samoa I thought I was going to have scars for life- I get it all apart from the nipples too! My heart rate monitor rubs me until I bleed during the long long runs. I get arm chafe too – from where my ipod rubs if I wear a single top.

  4. Technical tees are so ugly though.

    My worst problem is on my back where the fastening is on your bra. Not only painful, but embarassing trying to explain the welts on your back when you go for a massage! Bodyglide helps. One time I tried sliding a sweatband over the fastening for protection but that didn’t work!

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