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Joggers Nipple: The Most Effective Prevention Tips

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Sometimes a runner find themselves experiencing problems in extremely sensitive areas of the body. Whether you are talking about a simple chafe that can be remedied with some lubricant or an area on the body that has been literally rubbed raw and bloody, this type of problem spells potential disaster for athletes both male and female. More common in people who run longer distances, joggers nipple is a prevalent problem in the world of running.

What Is Jogger’s Nipple?

When your nipples get irritated by rubbing clothing while running, it is referred to as joggers nipple or runners nipple. Cotton is a fabric that often is a culprit of this terrible tragedy that can sideline even the most dedicated athlete.

runners nipple and chaffing

What often starts out as just a little bit of soreness, if you don’t heed the warning of joggers nipple you could end up in much worse condition. Eventually, your nipple could end up red, raw and even bleeding.

This ill fate can hit both men and women, although most people just talk about this problem with men.

Does Running Make Your Nipples Bleed?

While running most certainly does not make your nipples bleed, running without properly protecting all of your parts could end in injury. Just like you would not go out for a run missing your socks or shoes, you should not even consider running without protecting those delicate parts of your breasts!

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One of the most common fabrics to cause nipple chafing is cotton, but other fabrics can result in the same problem. What happens is your sensitive skin rubs against either your sport bra or shirt. This constant friction results in a problem in a very sensitive area!


There are actually some easy ways to prevent runners nipple.

  • For women, wearing the correct sports bra is crucial. It should fit properly. If you have too much room in the bra, it allows for unnecessary motion which can result in chafing.
  • Bandaids are a cheap, easy  and convenient tool used by many people to protect their nipples from unnecessary rubbing.
  • Tough strips are actually like a band aid but much more durable. They are super sticky and can withstand massive amounts of sweating. For some runners, that is an essential component!
  • Nipple guards (otherwise known as “nip guards”) are adhesive pads used to protect the nipples.
  • Lubricants such as Body Glide or Aquaphor are used to keep fabric from uncomfortable rubbing.
  • Petroleum jelly can be used in place of a runner specific lubricant if you need something to protect yourself. In fact, you will often find this being handed out to runners at aid stations in marathons.
  • Talcum powder can be dusted on before your run to help prevent chafe. It does work for some runners!
  • Choose your fabric carefully! As stated previously, cotton is the enemy. You should wear a shirt made of a synthetic fabric such as dry-fit performance clothing. That is unless you prefer to be…
  • Running shirtless may seem like a super obvious solution, but yet it needs to be said. Especially in hot weather, just skipping the shirt altogether could be a great way to prevent nipple chafing.

Let’s Talk Proper Fitting Sport Bras

For those who are concerned that the chafe is a result of an ill fitting sports bra, let’s cover that topic. First, consider how much support you need. Especially if you have larger breasts, you need to ensure you have adequate support and control to minimize bounce and movement. You guessed it. Those two things can lead to chafe.

Next, you need to be sure your breasts are properly contained. Referred to as encapsulation, the style and fit of the bra is not only important, it is unique to individuals. You are probably not surprised to hear that a sports bra loved by one woman will not work for another.

sports bra for running

Sport bras should be breathable and have relatively wide straps. This helps to prevent chafe or straps digging into your skin.

Lastly, when in the fitting room do the jump test. To mimic movement, put the bra on and jump up and down. If the girls are jiggling or moving around too much, you likely don’t have a proper fit.

How Do You Fix Chafed Nipples?

What happens if, despite your best efforts at prevention, you end up with chafed nipples. Now, what should you do?

First, as soon as you get back from your run and suspect chafe, clean it carefully. This should be done with very mild soap and warm water, wiping very gently so as to avoid more discomfort.

If your nipples are swollen and/or inflamed, you may want to try some hydrocortisone cream to help alleviate this problem. If they are red and open, you may even need an antibiotic cream.

runners nipple

You may need to take some time off of running while you heal. In fact, simply thinking about running may cause you discomfort! For certain, if you think you can run through healing, be sure to take preventative measures.

Cover the chafed area with a lubricant and some kind of bandage to prevent further injury.

Shower Alert!

If you have never had chafe in a sensitive area or joggers nipples, this warning is for you. When you finish your run and peel off your clothing, we all know that a hot shower is the best feeling in the world. However, be warned.

When you have chafe, especially if it is to the point of being raw, the hot shower will be your new, worse enemy. So although it is important to clean the impacted area, you should do this in a gentle, lukewarm stream. NOT in a super hot shower!

Save the hot shower for other parts of your body and keep the chafed area protected from the stream!

Be Smart!

If having runner or joggers nipple sounds painful and yucky, it’s because it is. Just remember that this does not have to happen to you. All you have to do is make some smart choices before you even step out of your house to run!

Investing in quality running clothing, using lubricants and using some kind of nipple cover if you are prone to this problem are three things you can easily implement to keep your tender parts safe and happy!

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.