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5 Most Embarrassing Runner Problems

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I love running. And, I’m sure you do too, or you wouldn’t be here reading this.  But there are some areas of running that are embarrassing.  Whether you are the casual jogger, or you spend many an hour out there slogging on the tarmac, you probably will experience a few or all of these issues at some point or another.

Let us start with a real doozy, and the one that we all dread happening.  Mind you, it doesn’t happen to all runners, but again, when it comes to high mileage, most times you cannot avoid this one.

Blackened, Discolored, Fungus-Infected, and Missing Toenails

Oh, yes. Not only is this painful, but quite unsightly.

Reasons why this occurs:

Your toes are hitting against the front of the shoe, causing a blood blister to form under the toenail. Downhill running and tight-fitting shoes can cause this. Warmer weather can also make your feet swell, causing the foot to be pushed up snuggly against the sides of the shoe.  Fungus can collect under the toenails and mostly this is because of sweat collected while running, and because of old trainers. Best wash your trainers regular and change them every 1000 miles or so.

If this persists, please seek treatment from your local doctor or podiatrist.

The Self-Treatment methods that can help:

Besides wearing open toed shoes for a while, you should just leave the nail and skin to heal naturally.  The toenail will either fall off by itself or the blood blister will dry up and eventually grow out.  Fungal growths can be treated with over the counter treatments that you paint onto the toenail.  Unfortunately, I have not come across a treatment that works 100%, but it is worth a try.  With the intention of prevention, ensure your socks are of a breathable material, and that they don’t hold too much sweat.  This too can lead to fungal development down the line.



No matter how slim you are, you will chafe, somewhere, at some point, during a run. The sad thing is that most of the time, you only realize it after the run. (Oh how does that shower water sting!)

The most common places where chafing occurs are:

Nipples – oh, yes, did you ever think, whether a man or woman, that your nipples could burn so? I know of nipples also bleeding because they became so raw. Ouch!

Inner thighs – the most common place really. And, no matter how you try to run with those legs apart, they always find a way to touch. Friction is a bitch!

Under arms and inner arms – as you are constantly moving your arms back and forward, it’s just inescapable that this will cause some friction

Ways to prevent chafing:

Wear Band-Aids over your nipples.  This will act as a guard against the roughness of your t-shirt.  Use anti-chafe cream in the applicable areas before the run, and keep some on you, just in case (sweat can wash it away). Wear cool, loose clothing that doesn’t cause further rubbing.

Runner’s Trots

While you may start out with a clear and unaffected stomach, it seems that running just stimulates the intestine to work.

Reasons you may experience the Trots:

If you didn’t relieve yourself before the run, you may find you will need to go on route.  Not pleasant!  Eating food that has aggravated your stomach the night before or the morning of will certainly cause an upset.  Alcohol the night before the run is a real no-no.  And, if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),  you need to have this checked out by your doctor, as it will only get worse unattended.

Preventions and Cures:

Eating basic and bland foods the night before and morning of the run will be best.  Do not change your diet too much before the run.  You want to eat foods that your body is accustomed to.  Do not drink alcohol the night before.  Besides it not assisting the body for a run, it is dehydrating.  Drinking loads of water before, during and after the run.  That’s a given, but often people forget.  Check out whether you have irritable bowel syndrome, and look to having it medically treated.  Taking a tablet that will prevent diarrhea before the run can come in handy.  Just be aware that you may be a bit constipated for a few days after.

Bladder issues

This doesn’t just affect women who have had a child or two.  It is a very real problem for many runners. It is more common in women though, and it has much to do with the harsh impact of running. The motion and jarring of running causes the muscles of the pelvic floor to weaken, and of course, if you have given natural birth, you are a prime candidate for this. Kegal exercises can help strengthen those muscles.

As for men,  it has been known that they get a little leak here and there, which is only evident after the run.  This would occur in men that have had prostate operations, along with a tension in the pelvic area.  This can cause great pain in the groin and penis, making the feeling of needing to pee most prominent.  Running tends to help us hold back the urge to urinate, but sometimes when it needs to happen, it happens.  While men won’t benefit from Kegal exercises, they can try to relax their bladder and the muscles surrounding that area.  If the problem persists, seek out your doctor, as there may be a bigger underlying issue.


Yes, we will all sweat when we run, but some have an excessive sweating dilemma. Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down.  It is when we sweat too much, or seemingly too much, that we begin to stress. And of course, with sweat can come a lovely stench.

Ways to alleviate the excessive sweat:

Wear cool, loose clothing.  Many manufacturers now have a “quick dry” material, that in fact, dries the sweat as it surfaces.  Putting on a good antiperspirant before your run will assist with keeping you dry and scent-free.  Again, drink lots of water before, during and after your run.  Know that you will sweat more as you become fitter.  Most runners that are novices or don’t put as much mileage in, don’t perspire as much.  Go figure!

Yes, we all love running, but know this, if you are a beginner, take heed of what will happen to your body over time, and try the prevention method, before the cure becomes necessary.

Running is a great way of exercise, but like with all habit-forming regimes, there are side effects.

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