Thigh Chafing


Experience From - George Beinhorn , Max Welker , Bob Audretsch , Hawk , Karl King , Lycra Buns , Kevin Sayers , Jon Moore , John Thiemen , Kevin O'Neall , Rod Hammons , Bonnie Busch , Rich Lacey ,

George Beinhorn

Dale Perry wrote:

"Had a wonderful trail run this last Saturday in Chatfield State Park, the Alferd Packer Trail Marathon. That is to say, it was wonderful until I finished and looked down at my thighs to see huge, red, bloody marks on both thighs. I have never seen chafing this bad before.

Funny thing is, I never even felt any discomfort until I sat down at the finish to do some post race stretching. Today they are much better, but Saturday evening was pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.

Anyway, I'm asking anyone out there who has experienced this sort of problem, how do you deal with it? Should I start wearing biker shorts? Some type of lubricant? Vaseline works okay for about 20 minutes, but after that it wears off. Aside from losing some pounds (which probably wouldn't do much good anyway, I'm pretty lanky) I really don't know what to do about this."

I wear the Race Ready Long Distance shorts with the longish legs. I no longer get chafing. With short shorts, I can depend on Vaseline, which works very well and doesn't have to be re-applied even during a 50.

Max Welker

I started doing all my long runs in "biker shorts" 7 or 8 years ago and haven't had a problem with chafing since. They are not really biker shorts - no padded butt or curved legs. Road Runner Sports carries them.

Bob Audretsch

I have had great luck with Runner's Lube available from Road Runner Sports.


This weekend on my long run I finally migrated out of tights and tried running in some little running shorts that my boyfriend likes the look of! (haven't worn them for a few miles before this) my thighs didn't touch each other while running, but this little seam in the shorts kind of scratched me a little. then when I showered afterwards and the soap hit that spot YEEEOW!

So I can relate to the chafing topic! and as for me, I will be switching back to compression (biker) shorts. and using my FAVORITE thing, Bag Balm. PLEASE use bag balm... I discovered it in my cycling days. it is found in feed stores or hardware stores, and is designed for cows udders when they get chafed from the milking machines. it stays on WAY longer than Vaseline, and it contains some healing stuff as well. it comes in a square green can, and I guess it's a little trendy now cause they make it in a small human size can too, which costs considerably more.

But it's just the most wonderful thing for things that chafe. I mean, if it can help a sore teat on a milker, then it is good for me!

Karl King

My solution is the half-tight from Eastbay Wausau. They are made in a way that puts no seam through the crotch area, thus they do not rub, and eliminate the kind of chafing that Dale got.

In the Winter I wear them under Sporthill pants as a wind brief. In Summer I wear the lighter colors to reflect the heat. At Vermont 100, with the temps near 90, these worked well through the entire run.

Lycra Buns

I earned the nickname "Lycra buns" as a result of the large number of brightly-colored short tights I ran in. With my "thunder thighs" I got chafing the first mile I ever ran. Someone suggested the tights, and I never looked back. Stay away from the biker shorts. They have two problems -- they usually have padded seats which work fine on a bike seat, but are hell for running, and they are cut to conform to the body in a crouch on a seat, not standing up for running.

My best source was the "workout" short section in our local Target. Once I got over feeling just a little silly in them, I started heading for the women's section where the better pattern selection was.

If you feel silly wearing them, you can always wear regular running shorts over them. I like the feeling of freedom, and occasionally a whistle...

I've got 'em short and long, thick and thin, and wouldn't run in anything else.

Try 'em, you'll like 'em.

Kevin Sayers

Never had any chafing problems until training started for my first ultra. Since that time I've tried a number of shorts, fibers, sizes and have found that regardless I chafe on one side or both.

After much trial and error have settled on the original RaceReady Long Distance shorts ( . The cut is just right and with the elastic mesh compartments I can carry a small container of Vaseline. Even on a full run I can slip the container out of the compartment far enough to pop the lid, take a two finger swipe, put the lid back on, slide it back in and apply where appropriate (legs, underarms, chest etc.).

No matter what is applied it eventually rubs of. The petroleum base enables it to lasts the longest. From experience in open water endurance swims requiring wet suits it clings to the body the longest. Other good stuff I use in and out of the water is Crisco and Pam (not the female but the non-stick cooking spray stuff). Who says the kitchen can't be fun! Applying to both the body part and the clothing delays rub off and helps with anti-friction.

Once you feel chafing it's usually too late to really do anything about it. So if you didn't prep before hand your in reaction mode rather than anticipatory. So what to do to after the run? Baby diaper rash ointment works the best. Both Desitin and Balm X lubricate and heal at the same time. The down side is that you might smell like baby diapers. If you don't like the idea of smelling like diapers Gold Bond powder workers pretty well. The draw back there is that powders usually take 4-5 days while Desitin, my choice, takes 2-3 days.

Jon Moore

As a heavyweight I also have problems with chafing. I've tried these biker shorts on a few occasions and I should warn you that whilst your thighs probably won't chafe there is the possibility you*ll chafe in even more sensitive places unless they're correctly fitting in the crutch. Mine were OK for up to about 5 miles but it only took about a mile thereafter before I was finding it difficult to walk let alone run uncomfortable wasn't the word for it! I usually wear shorts though, I'll wear trousers if it*s below freezing. I use Nivea face cream (rather than Vaseline) as a lubricant as it doesn't leave a greasy residue to which sand inevitably attaches - I've never got through more than a 35 mm film container*s worth in any single event yet.

John Thiemen

I still run in regular running shorts but I apply lubricants regularly. Instead of expecting Vaseline or Chafe Eez to last I carry small amounts with me and apply as needed. With a bit of practice it's not even necessary to break stride to smear a new layer on. Race Ready shorts with pockets are wonderful for carrying things. As are the two front pouches on an UD Elite pack.

I like to use two lubricants. A base layer of Vaseline and a top layer of Chafe Eez. The Chafe Eez is very slippery and has a cooling menthol sensation. In colder weather when Vaseline stays "tacky" I just use Chafe Eez.

Please note that my credentials as an ultrarunner are limited: 1 50 miler, 1 37.5 miler, 3x 50k a 12 hour ACS event and lots of road marathons but I'm pretty slow so the amount of rubbing my thighs and arm pits go through is probably similar to a faster runner.

Caveat: Since Road Runner quit handling it I started to order Chafe Eez case lots and sell it. My opinion of this product is, therefore, biased. on the other hand if I didn't like it I wouldn't go through the hassle of ordering it.

Kevin O'Neall

Boy do I hate to admit this, but what works best for me is women's spandex shorts. They seem to be made for wider hips and thighs than men's shorts. Men's shorts are so tight through the thighs that they rub sores high up in the groin. Also, the women's shorts have elastic around the leg bottoms to keep the material from riding up and causing folds that can irritate.

Rod Hammons

I chafe very easy. I have to run in the knee length spandex running shorts to keep from chafing on the insides of my thighs. Regular running shorts leave my thighs bleeding within three miles. Even with the spandex shorts I can get chafed from the seams. So, what I have done is turn the knee length spandex running shorts inside out. That eliminated the chafing problems due to seams but did create the occasional ... "Hey, you know you've got your shorts inside out?"

Here is a big chafing mistake I made a while back. A local sporting goods store was selling knee length spandex running shorts for half price. Of course all they had in the half price bin was XXXL and small (28-30 waist). I wear medium (30-32 waist) but decided to give the small a try since my waist is a 30. The shorts felt great but I developed chafing on the insides of my butt cheeks !!! Quite an interesting and new sensation when the shower water flows down the backside. These shorts squeezed my butt cheeks together tight enough to cause chafing. So, make sure you buy shorts that do indeed fit.

Always willing to offer a "learn from Rod's mistake" story.

Bonnie Busch

I saw liberal use of Body-Glide at the 100k USA championships this weekend as well as good old Vaseline. Several years ago Dr. Andy Lovey published his own mixture for chafing, that I prefer.

It was published in Ultrarunner magazine many years ago, probably early 90s. Dr. Lovy is an ultrarunner, most recent public siting was in Across the Years 24-48 Hour run, DEC97. I received this information as a friendly gesture, without warranty, without guarantees, without warnings, without clinic tests, without FDA approval, without medical evidence, without anything (get the picture!), which is how I pass it along to you. What else can I say to keep me out of legal trouble? I am not responsible, use your own judgment, and never perform your trial in your one big race this year.

Most items can be easily found at a drug store, generally in the same shelving area. I have seen this mixture used for chafing and for blisters. (I have never seen anybody eat it, yet.)

Here goes:
Mix A&D ointment, Destin ointment, and Vaseline in equal parts. Add vitamin E cream and aloe vera cream.

Been awhile, but I recall if I used 1 cup of A&D, 1 cup of Destin, and 1 cup of Vaseline, then I used cup to 1/4 cup of vitamin E and cup to 1/4 cup of aloe vera cream, enough to make it smooth and nice smelling. I did not use my kitchen utensils to measure this so measurements were not exact. I believe the creams made it smoother, more consistent and aided healing. (Mixture should be stiff, yet applicable.) Obviously a single batch can last quite awhile if ingredients are purchased in sizable quantities. Purchasing the ingredients in small, resoluble jars is a good move - got to have some place to put this stuff after you have mixed it, and do modify the label so as not confuse anybody. I have stored mine in the refrigerator for years.

The last batch I mixed up was years ago now. It not only protects skin from chafing but can help heal the skin and also is helpful with blister prevention. Low cost and effective.

Rich Lacey

Indeed that recipe did appear in ULTRARUNNING about 1990 to prevent blisters, and I have used it religiously over the years with varying results. A&D now has a diaper rash ointment that permits eliminating the Desitin and doesn't break down like Vaseline. That basic ointment worked well in 50 mile runs, but the right socks are necessary for relatively blister-free 100 mile trail runs. Rough socks (thorlo, which I swear by every day and run marathons or shorter ultras, including trails, with no problem whatsoever) destroy my feet in hundred milers. In the past two years I have switched to the double layer high-tech socks, which diffuse and neutralize friction, but learned (courtesy of DeWalt, who swears by those new sox) that the use of any creams or greasy stuff like Busch's recipe defeats that technology.