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As athletes, we can spot someone who has chaffed from a mile away — the stiff posture, wide stance, half-waddle that accompanies someone who has clearly fallen victim to the irritating, painful sores that come from chaffing. Endurance athletes are used to pushing through pain, but, sometimes, the burning pain of chafing can ruin the joy of participating in sport.
Endurance athletes are well acquainted with the pain of chafing. Chafe is that horrible soreness that comes when something has consistently rubbed against your skin for an extended period of time (i.e. your inner thighs rubbing together on a run or rubbing against the seat of your bike, your sports bra band cutting in just below your breasts, or your swimsuit cutting your arms or armpits as you swim the backstroke). It can range anywhere from slightly irritating to extremely painful — sometimes even causing bleeding.
Athletes can experience some of the worst chafing imaginable. The body mechanics required for swimming allot for intense, repetitive rubbing of skin against a bathing suit. And, the water itself makes the friction against the skin worse. Hop on a bike, and the repetition of pedal strokes can lead your inner thighs and crotch to rub up against the seat. Set out for a run and you might experience some of the worst chafing in between the thighs, on the chest, and under the arms.
The pain from chafing can also make athletes change their form to try to inhibit the pain. This can cause many problems for the athlete, because correct form and body mechanics go out the window while trying to avoid the pain of chafing — and poor form can contribute to injury. You can only ignore this pain for so long before it becomes unbearable, so, here are some ways that you can prevent and treat chafing.
By Bri Doherty
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By Heather Snelgar
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