A common complaint of athletes, especially long-distance runners, is chafing. Though chafing itself might not sound like a serious problem, it can significantly impact an athlete's performance due to the compromise on comfort. However, runners need not be afraid of this problem! Chafing is easily preventable, and such preventive measures are relatively simple to perform.
Areas of your skin which rub against another area of skin or clothing tend to generate friction and can typically result in chafing. These areas include the inner thighs and the skin contacting the heel counter of your shoe. One excellent way of preventing this is to moisturise the areas of your skin which are prone to experiencing friction during your run. You may use waterproof moisturiser, powder or Vaseline, all of which can be easily bought off the shelves from nearby convenience stores and are priced reasonably.
An alternative to moisturising is to physically block the friction against your skin. To block the inner thigh area, choose three-quarter/full-length running tights over shorts. For heel chafing, go with longer socks instead. When friction is not created, chafing can no longer occur. In addition, it is advisable to choose dri-fit/sweat-wicking clothing over cotton ones when running. Cotton absorbs water and sweat, creating greater friction and more opportunities for chafing to occur.
Finding the right size of shoes has always been heavily emphasised on. Heel chafing is but a tip of the iceberg when an oversized shoe is concerned. A poorly fitted shoe might constantly pull on your ankle as you lift up your foot; this constant rubbing would lead to greater friction and eventual chafing. Another more serious problem of wearing oversized shoes includes straining your Achilles tendon due to the additional tension on your heel when running. Thus, it is extremely important to find the right size of shoes, as with any other piece of sports apparel.
Chafing can be extremely uncomfortable and can significantly affect athletic performance, even when it comes to the most seasoned of runners. Get rid of chafing with these simple steps before they sap all the joy out of your runs!