Question: This is a rather sensitive question. I’m a male who gets severely chafed nipples on rides. Sometimes they even bleed. I lube them with petroleum jelly but it rubs off in 20 miles. Anything else short of a padded bra that I can try? — Steve J.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I don’t think you’re the only male athlete suffering from this malady.
It’s rampant among runners because they often swing their arms at an angle across their bodies, causing their mesh singlets to sandpaper their nipples. In fact, many running singlets have a band of smooth fabric across the chest to reduce the agony.
Cyclists’ bib tights can irritate nipples if the straps cross them. And some jerseys have rough fabric or seams in the wrong place. Either retire offending jerseys or take a tip from runners and sew a smooth band of fabric inside.
When you buy a new jersey, pay particular attention to its abrasive potential. Also consider its size. Going larger or smaller may end the rubbing.
Another runner’s trick is to put a Band-Aid over each nipple. You might have to shave chest hair to prevent painful removal. Also, consider using a skin lubrication that’s made for athletes. Good ones are Body Glide and Cramer Skin Lube. Check at bike shops and sporting goods stores.