Embarrassing Problems: Runners

by Mackenzie M. | April 19th, 2012 | Running

When it comes to running, giving tips for better performance are common; however, there is one area of advice that remains somewhat taboo. When running, due to the amount of friction on the skin, the large amount of sweating, and several other factors, embarrassing problems can arise. Below are listed some of these problems, along with some easy ways to prevent the embarrassing problems from occurring.

Overly Itchy Legs. This is a common problem for beginning and casual runners. When you start running after a period of inactivity, the legs may begin itching so bad that you need to stop running and take a break. This problem can be quite embarrassing, but is surprisingly common. Collapsed capillaries cause this problem from the lack of activity, and the re-expansion of these capillaries causes the skin to itch. Unfortunately there is no way to prevent this issue other than to begin running regularly. Running often keeps the capillaries from collapsing; therefore, eliminating the extreme itching.

Black/Lost Toenails. Many runners training for long distance events experience toenails turning black and then falling off. Bruising under the nail causes the coloring. The problem is caused by the constant rubbing of the toe against the front of the shoe. A blood blister that can’t heal forms under the toenail due to lack of oxygen, and then the nails fall off. This problem is actually quite easy to prevent. Simply make sure that you are wearing the correct shoe size, which should be at least a half size bigger than your street shoe. Also, be sure to keep the toenails trim, and keep the feet as dry as possible by using wicking socks.

Acne. It is very common for avid runners to suffer from acne on the face, chest, and back. Acne can even occur on the upper arms and other places that are covered by clothing. The sweat clogging the pores due to friction from rubbing clothes causes this problem. Wearing make-up or sunscreen often makes the problem worse. To prevent this, change out of sweaty clothes immediately after running, and cleanse the acne-prone areas thoroughly.

Irritable Underwear. Runners frequently discuss the proper clothes to wear, but the proper kinds of underwear are often overlooked. For both men and women, it is important to wear synthetic/no-cotton underwear. Many runners, especially men, wear compression shorts under shorts instead of underwear for comfort and to wick the sweat away from the body. This makes running extremely more comfortable. Although it may be uncomfortable to talk about, it is important to find underwear that are designed for running.

Gastrointestinal Issues. Perhaps the most uncomfortable issue that runner’s face is gastrointestinal problems such as flatulence or diarrhea immediately after running. The causes of this problem are usually diet habits or lack of blood flow during digestion. To reduce these problems, avoid high-fiber foods before exercise, drink a sports drink ahead of time, and also be sure not to eat anything a few hours before running. If the problem persists, it is best to see a doctor.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.