When the warm weather comes along, most of us jump at the opportunity to work out outside, especially runners. However, the nice weather can, unfortunately, cause an annoyance as you go from glistening with sweat to full-on perspiring. When you find yourself sweating underneath those cute running shorts, you may also be experiencing some uncomfortable thigh chafing. This rubbing of the legs can affect anyone of all shapes and sizes, and it can result in raw, red skin.
“Inner thigh chafing is something almost every runner experiences,” says Personal Trainer Karen Shopoff Rooff. “It’s caused by the friction of the upper thighs rubbing against each other. When the skin is sweaty, the friction increases, so the incidence of chafing is higher.”
If you’re someone who experiences thigh chafing on outdoor runs, you might be wondering how you can avoid this painful problem. Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid thigh chafing so that you can enjoy your al fresco workouts in peace. Here are five ways you can avoid inner thigh chafing on outdoor runs—and how to treat it if it does happen.
Wear longer running shorts.
Preventing chafing requires there to be a barrier between the skin of the upper thighs. This can be as simple as wearing longer running shorts. “Some runners like trail length shorts (usually five to seven inches in the inseam). That provides enough length to prevent chafing,” says Rooff. “Other runners prefer to wear compression shorts (like cycle-cut shorts) under their regular running shorts. The compression shorts also provide the length necessary to prevent the upper thighs from chafing.”
Apply a lubricant.
Another way to reduce the friction of the thighs rubbing is to apply a lubricant to areas that chafe the most. “Whether you use old-school and inexpensive Vaseline or a sport-specific product like Body Glide, they both work the same way,” advises Rooff. “They help reduce friction on the skin so that you don’t chafe.”
Use talcum powder.
Because friction increases when the skin is wet, you’ll want to start your workout as dry as possible. “Wet skin is more prone to chafing, so apply powders like talcum to your body parts that get the sweatiest and/or rub together,” instructs Fitness Expert Fitz Koehler, M.S.E.S.S. Powders are moisture-wicking for your skin. Apply them to your inner thighs or other areas where you tend to get sweaty easily or experience chafing.
Test drive your new clothing.
When you get new apparel, test drive your clothing before you wear them for a long workout or run. “If the straps of your bra or the waistband of your shorts are going to cause chafing, you’re going to know it within ten to 20 minutes,” says Koehler. “Wear new gear during short, stress-free workouts, so [that] you can change if you need to before too much harm is done.”
Allow the skin to dry.
Unfortunately, most people discover their thigh chafing once they hit the shower, as the water spray is painful on the skin. Immediately after showering, allow the area to dry after cleaning. “If you want to run again before your chafed thighs are healed, wear longer shorts or a bandage over the irritated skin during your run,” Rooff says. “Then, redo your cleansing routine, and let the skin air out to dry and heal.”
Thigh chafing is annoying. But if you take the proper precautions, you can avoid this pesky phenomenon and run irritation-free.