Health & Injuries

Nipple Tape: How to Prevent Nipple Chafing For Long Distance Runners

by On Mar 5, 2019

Can an inexpensive roll of tape mean the difference between comfort and agony on extra-long runs? Ask savvy athletes who won’t run without it!

Nipple Tape: The Best Investment Ever For Long Distance Runners

We know a thing or two about the downside of running. According to our research, nipple irritation is one of the most painful side effects, which is why we recommend Kinesiology Tape—also known as nipple tape.

Diagnosis: Jogger’s Nipple

The potential for sore, red, irritated nipples while running has been around so long, this condition has earned nicknames, including Red Eleven, Raver’s Nipple, Big Qs, Stingers, Nipple Chafe and more. While every athlete is different, symptoms are the same: irritation, pain, soreness, discolouration and, in some cases, skin dryness and even bleeding.

Take no action when these symptoms occur and nipple areas can begin to crack and bleed. The most often reason this takes place has to do with wearing coarse, cotton tops that continually rub with each footfall. The risk gets worse in the winter when the skin tends to harden, say experts.

4 Steps you can take to stop the irritation cycle

  1. Wear form-fitting shirts and tops so the fabric doesn't move around.
  2. Women can choose seamless bras made of soft fibre to constrict breast movement.
  3. Avoid cotton shirts when running, especially if there’s nothing between you and the shirt but skin.
  4. Discover nipple tape, available at sporting goods retailers and/or e-commerce store.
Nipple Tape: The Best Investment Ever For Long Distance Runners

Photo Credit: Flickr/Ian Robertson

Why not use ordinary adhesive tape?

Ordinary adhesive tape isn’t up to the job because it's not designed to be kind to skin. Nipple tape is fashioned of a specific cotton-based adhesive that won’t chafe skin areas, no matter how much your chest jiggles during your run.

Also read:  Rehabilitating the Runner’s Knee

Sweat. Stretch. Breathe. Go! This tape is manufactured for endurance and comfort so even if you sweat so much you are pretty sure only your water bottle saves you from dehydration, this tape product holds fast and doesn’t slip or fall off, even during the most daunting runs.

The proper use of nipple tape

Doctors recommend inspecting both nipples to make sure the areas are clean and dry before applying an anti-chafing balm to the area. Cut a one-inch section of nipple tape from the roll and divide the section by two for application. The size of your nipple area will obviously determine whether you need a larger piece to do the job.

Will this clever tape work for every runner? Unfortunately, some runners can’t tolerate it because their skin is super-sensitive and reacts to any type of stick-on product. The range of reactions these runners could experience run the gamut from pain to rashes.

Doctors have found that some athletes are literally allergic to nipple tape. Further, should nipple areas be scratched or cut, this tape could introduce bacteria to the area, especially once sweating commences. Thin-skinned individuals (especially older runners) could suffer a reaction to pulling this type of tape off, too.

Nipple Tape: The Best Investment Ever For Long Distance Runners

Photo Credit: Flickr/Peter Sheik

How to get the tape off without screaming

Experts recommend getting into a hot shower wearing the tape, then rubbing a thick mineral oil over the area, slowing softening the tape until it can be gently peeled away a little at a time while holding surrounding skin down to create a taut area. Running coaches offer this advice if you’re new at this technique: Concentrate on peeling your nipple away from the application, not peeling away the tape away from the nipple area.

Also read:  Run for Your Heart

Are you allowed to whimper or flinch during this process? Of course! You’re all alone, so your running buddies don’t have to see you freak out—though there’s a good chance they’re busy grimacing at home while engaged in their own tape removal ritual!

Do you have a nipple tape story to tell? Feel free to share it with us.

Featured Photo Credit: Flickr/seth2dana

Liam began training for his first marathon after graduating from college. within the next few months, He started challenging triathlon. As a Triathlon Ireland accredited triathlon coach, he wished to share his journey of pushing over the limits.

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