If your nipples hurt when you're running, you likely have a condition called jogger's nipple, which is caused by chafing. Jogger's nipple can be prevented by wearing clothing made of soft materials or applying a barrier between your nipples and clothing to reduce chafing. You may be able to reduce the pain and inflammation caused by jogger's nipple by applying ice or ointments.
Jogger's nipple is a common injury suffered by runners, especially long-distance runners. Nipple tissue is very sensitive and can easily become irritated by friction. In women, jogger's nipple can also be caused by continuous movement of the breasts while jogging. Jogger's nipple can cause dryness, soreness and, in extreme cases, even cracked and bleeding nipples. People with especially sensitive skin are more susceptible to this condition than others.
You may be able to prevent jogger's nipple by wearing the right clothing when you run. For men, the solution may be as simple as taking off your shirt when you go jogging. If you wear a shirt when running, the best materials to reduce nipple chafing are silk and Lycra. A loose-fitting shirt is also superior to a tight shirt for preventing jogger's nipple. For women, wearing a proper-fitting sports bra that reduces breast movement can help guard against jogger's nipple.
Besides wearing proper clothing, applying a barrier to your nipples before you go running may help reduce nipple pain. Try putting surgical tape or an adhesive bandage over your nipples. Applying a lubricant such as petroleum jelly or a cream containing zinc before your run can also reduce the effects of chafing. Some sports product companies sell nipple guards made of foam or rubber to prevent jogger's nipple.
Treatment of jogger's nipple depends on the severity of your injury. In some cases, applying an ice pack with pressure or a soothing ointment such as diaper rash cream may soothe the irritated skin. It is also important to take a few days' rest from running to allow time for your nipples to heal. If your jogger's nipple is so severe that the skin is bleeding, gently cleanse it and apply an antibiotic ointment and bandages. If the pain persists, the injury is slow to heal or you notice signs of infection, contact your doctor.