Playing a sport and being active is a good thing and should be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Having established that, there are always deterrents along the way like muscle soreness, fear of an injury and believe it or not, chafing.

Let’s understand what chafing means and how to prevent it so that it does not interfere with your healthy lifestyle.

chafing rash

Chafing occurs when an object or a body part rubs against your skin repeatedly causing a mild red rash or in extreme cases, bleeding. Source.

Chafing is very common in sports or physical activity that involves repeated motions. It can occur when there is friction between two body parts or when your sports gear rubs against the skin. If you engage in activities such as cycling or running, you know what we are talking about!

What causes chafing:

There can be multiple reasons for chafing in sports and we have listed the most common ones.

  • Repeated actions like in running or cycling
  • Sweat or excess moisture
  • Inappropriate sports gear like ill-fitting clothes, tight shoes etc.
  • Hot weather
  • Excess body weight
  • Sensitive skin

How to prevent chafing:

Skin chafing is a very common phenomenon that happens to the best of athletes. That said, there are ways in which you can prevent/minimise it by reducing the friction to your skin. Here are a few ways to do that.

  • Stay dry: Moisture can contribute to chafing. Applying talcum powder is a good way to keep the skin dry and wick the moisture away. Carry a dry change of clothes to change into the post a physical activity.
  • Appropriate clothing: Opt for fabrics made with synthetic fibres that wick moisture away and stay away from materials such as cotton. If the weather is hot outside, try and minimise the layers that you put on before exercising. Compression may help reduce chafing as well.
  • Apply lubricants: Lubrication reduces friction. Apply it on hot spots to minimise chafing. An affordable option can be petroleum jelly. There are many over the counter lubricants available as well that do just that.

Treatment:

One of the foremost things to do is to stop the activity that is causing chafing. Make sure that you pat the area dry, apply petroleum jelly or any soothing lotion. Get some fresh air and get out of clothes that cause it.

Conclusion:

There is only so much that you can do to avoid chafing. It might sneak up to you no matter how hard you try.  If that happens, don’t get discouraged and stop what playing or exercising. Follow the above recommendations and one of them is sure to hit home!

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