Joggers Nipple

I had been running several years before I met my husband. After a year of dating, he decided that he wanted to run a marathon with me! Unfortunately, at the time he lived about 800 miles away in Lafayette, Louisiana so we couldn't run all of our long training runs together.

Undaunted, we started training and our first (and his first ever!) 10 miler loomed before us one weekend. The night before, as we were talking on the phone, I happened to mention that his nipples might bleed after running all those miles for the first time. It didn't seem to faze him at all and I wondered if he even heard.

The next morning though, after he had successfully completed his 10 miles he texted me this picture with the following caption:

Good thing you told me about the possibility of bleeding nipples! I would have been so worried that something was wrong with me!

Poor guy. But he had been listening. 

What is Joggers Nipple?

This condition of bleeding nipples is called "joggers nipple" and is a common occurrence among male runners. Females tend to not have a problem with joggers nipple if their running bra is properly fitted and supportive.  However they might find that on their bra line they experience chafing.

The bleeding from the nipples is caused by friction or rubbing of the nipple usually by the shirt that the runner is wearing. Think of it, you are running multiple miles, your shirt is shaking up and down as you run causing it to pass over you nipple over and over and over again. This will make the nipple very sensitive and chafed.

The good news is that there are many preventative measures that you can take:

  • Probably the number one best way to make sure that there is no chance of chafing is to run without a shirt. No shirt, no rubbing, no problem.
  • If you don't like going shirtless wear shirts that wick away moisture, such as polyester, instead of trapping it, like cotton. Sweat and wetness can cause the condition to become worse so this is important.
  • Put Vaseline directly on the nipple. This will act as a protective barrier between the shirt and the nipple. Sweating and the constant running can wear away the Vaseline so if you need to, carry a small packet of it with you during your longer runs. The most popular product amongst runners to prevent chafing is called Bodyglide which is water and sweat resistant and long lasting.

  • Wear Band-Aids. This might help the problem for a while but you might need multiple Band-Aids as the sweat and the hair from the chest can make them fall off easily. Your best option might be to shave the area where the Band-Aid will go, apply Vaseline to the nipple, put the Band-Aid on over, and carry multiple Band-Aids with you as you run.

  • A better option than the Band-Aids are these NipEaze covers that have lots of staying power and lots more sweat resistant properties than a Band-Aid since they were made for sweaty runners!

Treatment

If you do find yourself with Joggers Nipple it can be very painful whenever your shirt rubs against it and especially in the shower.

The condition should only last about 2-3 days but while you are waiting it out here are some ways to treat the area:

  • Clean the chafed nipple daily with soap and lukewarm water.
  • Apply Vaseline to the area to diminish the pain when it comes in contact with material.
  • 1% Hydrocortisone cream can also help the affected nipple.



References:

Husband's experience and tips.

Prentice, William E., and Daniel D. Arnheim. Arnheim's Principles of Athletic Training: A Competency-based Approach. Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill, 2002. Print.


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