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How to Prevent Chafing From Running

Updated on June 18, 2012

Chafing while running is painful and frustrating. For must runners, chafing occurs on the inner thighs, under the arms, or along sports bra straps and seams. Chafing while running is a result of skin rubbing against skin or fabric over prolonged periods of time. Moisture and heat exacerbate chafing and lead to redness, hotspots, soreness and raw, peeling skin. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate and prevent chafing from running.

Properly Fitting Clothing

Inner thigh and under arm chafing can be prevented by wearing properly fitting clothing. The moisture and heat produced by sweating armpits and thighs can saturate your running shirts and shorts and cause painful chafing. Try wearing loose, moisture-wicking materials. When choosing jogging shorts and shirts, look for clothing with light seams that won't rub your skin.

For women, having a properly fitting sports bra is also key to preventing chafing. This is more challenging for women with large breasts because the movement and bouncing of the breasts can lead to quite a bit of friction. Also, sports bra seams can cause chafing under arms, breasts, and on the shoulders. Choose a sports bra that reduces breast movement as much as possible and has comfortable seams.

Petroleum Jelly

Prevent chafing by applying a layer of petroleum jelly to the inner thigh skin, under arms, and along clothing seams where you normally chafe. Apply petroleum jelly before you go running, and reapply as soon as you begin to feel chafing during longer runs.

Talcum Powder

Using talcum powder, baby powder or cornstarch before a run can also prevent chafing. Talcum powder and cornstarch reduce chafing by absorbing moisture caused by sweat. Dust the inner thighs and under arms with powder before you go running. You can also sprinkle powder in your socks to reduce foot moisture, which will minimize the chance of hotspots and blisters.


You can also use BodyGlide, which is specifically made to prevent and reduce chafing while engaging in physical activities, such as running. BodyGlide works by reducing friction. It comes in a tube stick similar to deodorant and should be applied before going running. Apply BodyGlide on the skin of the inner thighs, under your arms, along sports bra seams and straps, on your feet, and anywhere else that you have skin-to-skin contact or where your clothing seams rub. Small sticks of BodyGlide are available to take with you on longer runs for reapplication.


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    • profile image

      Lisa 3 years ago

      Good to see a taenlt at work. I can't match that.

    • krosch profile image

      krosch 5 years ago

      This is such an overlooked issue with running. Dumbly for years when I was a higher level runner I just ignored it and didn't try to do anything about it. As I fell out of shape and little things like pain and weather started to bother me I started trying things like you suggest to cut down on it when it happened.

      They are very effective and you have written a nice hub here. Thanks for sharing valuable information on something so many people don't even consider when setting out for a run. But it can really get in the way of training or a fun run in the woods!

      Great Hub.