A blog by runners. For runners.

I’m supposed to run but … I have blisters and/or chafing

What should I do if I have blisters and/or chafing?THE PROBLEM: You felt it coming on during yesterday’s run. Maybe your sock was rubbing your shoe in a funny place. You knew you’d likely get a blister, but you didn’t want to stop and mess up your tempo. Or maybe it was a hot, humid day and there was no way to avoid chafing in between your legs. You figured you may as well just power through your run since the chafing already started.

But now you have a bad blister or severe chafing. We’re not talking about the minor nuisances you forget about after a few minutes. This is the type of chafing that burns so bad – and maybe even bleeds – if it touches anything. And the kind of blister that makes you change your foot strike or gait.

SHOULD YOU GO RUN? If running aggravates your chafing or blister bad enough that it gets worse, it’s OK to sit out for a day or two. But if you’re on the fence, consider trying some of the below temporary fixes to see if you can salvage your running plans for the day.

TEMPORARY FIX:

Blisters: If you have a small blister, let it be. Cover it with a bandage and go for your run. If you have a large blister, it’s a good idea to pop it correctly – or else you risk it tearing on its own. To pop a blister, wash your hands and clean the affected area with alcohol to keep bacteria out. Use a sterilized needle (wash it with more alcohol) and puncture the blister, leaving the skin intact. Clean the area with alcohol again and cover it with a bandage. Change the bandage each day, and wear a bandage until the skin closes up.

Chafing: Treat the chafed area with diaper rash cream, like Desitin, or an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin. Then cover it with a bandage. If you want to run, wear clothes that don’t hit the chafed area so you don’t aggravate it and delay your healing time.

HOW TO PREVENT IT IN THE FUTURE:

Blisters: Make sure your running shoes fit properly, and if your foot is rubbing up on your shoe in any way, it may be time to get re-fitted. In addition, keeping your feet dry can keep most blisters away so wear moisture-wicking socks that fit and don’t slide down mid-run.

Chafing: Chafing is often the result of skin and clothing rubbing against each other repeatedly, but it can also be caused by skin-to-skin friction.  Stop chafing before it starts by:

  • Wearing tight-fitting, synthetic clothing: Cotton apparel soaks up moisture and stays wet, which increases the risk of chafing. Loose-fitting apparel will also be more likely to rub up against you. Tight, moisture-wicking clothes that stay in place are your best bet. If you get chafing between your thighs, try running in tights or longer shorts. If you get chafing under your sports bra line, choose a different model with thick lining and without exposed seams.
  • Lubing up: Pre-treat chafing-prone areas of your body – like nipples! – with petroleum jelly or BodyGlide. These products minimize friction and “nip” chafing in the bud.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have any concerns about your blisters or your chafed skin, contact a doctor.

Written by Jen Matz.

RELATED

  • Here’s a more in-depth article on treating and preventing blisters because they’re seriously the WORST.
  • And while we’re at it, we’ve got more info on preventing chafing, because that’s also seriously the WORST.
  • Actually, now we’re wondering: which do you think is actually worse – blisters or chafing. Let us know below or on FB.