Unpleasant running side effects

Yup, you guessed it, chafing. I’m not even doing real running, I’m just goofily striding along on an elliptical machine I got for free. But I’ve come to really enjoy running (ellipting?) four times a week in the comfort of my basement as I chip away at my Netflix backlog.

Except, yeah, chafing. So apologies for the uncomfortable topic and maybe TMI, but how do you deal with it, specifically at the moment, the healing process? I realized too late that running in cotton briefs was a terrible idea, I’d been at it a few weeks when I noticed the irritation, so I bought fancy synthetic wicking blah blah blah underwear, which is definitely nicer during the run, but the existing irritation isn’t clearing up. Some googling suggested diaper rash cream, and that has helped to soothe the irritation. So it’s not getting any worse, and I’m managing the itchiness, but the afflicted areas on my thighs are still there, red and sensitive.

So what do I do? Do I need to just stop running entirely for a while? How long should that take? Switch to the athletic underwear 24/7? I’m still wearing boring old cotton briefs when I’m not actually running. Is there some magical better cream or ointment that will just clear things right up? Thanks for any help.

That isn’t something I ever really experienced in my time running outdoors, so maybe it has to do with the elliptical? Either the fixed width of the leg-sweep, or the identical repetition of the motion vs. minor adjustments for each stride? Is there are way to adjust the width of the elliptical track, or anything like that?

There are some minor adjustments to the incline of the big foot pedal areas, and it also adjusts the incline of the overall stride as you run depending on the program or settings you pick, but no way to control the stride length or motion beyond that, or width at all, no.

Healing will just take time. Next run you can use some Vaseline on the irritated site and I think there’s something called bodyglide that helps also.

Stop running for a few days. Baby powder or vaseline on the affected areas prior to a workout will limit the problem later on.

The irritation will need to clear up on its own more or less. I would suggest switching underwear to different type (boxers or boxer briefs) for a week or so. Something like Aquaphor will help protect your skin while it heals itself, but its not a magic ointment that will speed up recovery.

You shouldn’t have to stop running, but it will help.

Body Glide is a good preventative thing in general for chaffing.

My niece has her foot in a boot from running. Running can be hard on your legs and knees.

I hear ellipticals are supposed to be better on your joints than running, so hopefully I’ve got that going for me. I’m not training up for races or anything, running on it in my basement is just an extremely convenient way to exercise for general health benefits. I don’t have to worry about weather, or driving to a gym, and like I said, Netflix. So if I can just manage to do this comfortably, I’ll be set.

Thanks for the suggestions and advice so far, I will do my best not to keep you all updated on the status of my legs.

As far as I know, ellipticals are better (lack of sharp impacts), but I’m not qualified to actually support that. :P Back in my competitive running days, when I picked up a minor injury I’d use an elliptical to keep up on aerobic stamina.

IIRC, (and there are as many opinions on this as studies) ellipticals are generally better on your joints (lack of impact), but because you don’t need to adjust and balance your weight, they aren’t as good at building muscle that translates to everyday use (walking, balance, etc).

Compression shorts.

Good fitting boxer briefs and shorts that go longer down your leg. I get chaffing a lot when I’m not wearing the right things. 2-3 days and it’s better…not fun at all!

I am not clicking the hell out of that link.

A decent low-dose steroid cream (i.e. hydrocortisone) will help to clear up the area more quickly. Also, I find that it’s usually possible to do a similar-but-not-quite-the-same exercise during the couple of days that the abrasion is healing. I usually alternate between stationary bike, elliptical, and jogging. If chafing occurs doing one, I can usually continue the other two without undue discomfort until it heals up. I’ve gotten fairly good at avoiding it over the years, but occasionally it does still happen.

Alright, so just to be absolutely clear, where is the chafing? Is it between the balls and the inside of the thighs? If so, I’ve had similar problems, although not from running. My problem was when walking/standing for too long at a time, in 30+ degrees. After 2-3 hours my boxers would be soaked and start chafing. It took me way too long to realize that the problem could be easily solved by wearing briefs instead of boxers when it gets too hot.

edit: Oh, I misread your post, and thought you were wearing boxers. Not very helpful then, I guess.

Do the elliptical naked? You’re in your basement after all…

Take a break for a week or so. And when you get back to it, apply copious amounts of Anti Monkey Butt.


May need to run that one by the roommate first. It’s not like he sits around and watches me exercise in the first place, but still…