Training

Avoiding Jogger's Nipple and Other Breast Injuries

Taking part in sports or training heavily for events like the Virgin Money London Marathon can cause breast injuries for both men and women. We’ve outlined the most common complaints below and what you can do to help prevent and treat them.

Jogger’s nipple

What is it?

Jogger’s nipple is a type of friction burn caused by the nipples rubbing against your running clothing as you jog or run. It’s most likely to happen in cold and wet weather and effects more men than women.

How can it be treated?

You need to give the nipples time to heal, and while they recover it’s important to protect them from being injured again.

How can it be prevented?

Apply surgical tape or grease (for example Vaseline) to the nipples before you run to help protect them from rubbing. Women should wear a good quality sports bra with complete cups to restrict movement. Sports bras should also have wide straps (not elasticated), and covered fastenings to prevent rubbing against the body.

Repetitive trauma

What is it?

Running causes the breasts to move up and down and from side to side, and over time this repetitive movement can cause injury. Repetitive trauma can cause breast pain and also stretch the ligaments resulting in drooping breasts. This can affect all shapes and sizes.

If the breasts aren’t properly supported while you train, you may also suffer from tension in the neck and upper back.

How can it be treated?

Although breast, back and neck pain can be treated by your doctor or physiotherapist, stretched ligaments in the breasts are a permanent problem.

How can it be prevented?

Back and muscle pain can be prevented by keeping good posture, with the shoulders back. A regular sports massage will also help, and all women should wear a sports bra while they exercise.

Direct trauma

What is it?

Direct trauma is caused by a single blow to the breast, for example if you’re accidentally elbowed by another runner in a crowded race. A direct trauma may cause a contusion – bleeding within the muscle or breast tissue.

How can it be treated?

Make sure you keep the injury supported and apply ice to ease pain and swelling. If it’s a bad injury you should see your doctor who may need to drain fluid away from the injury.

How can it be prevented?

It’s important you wear any specialist safety gear for your sport. Again women should wear a sports bra, with extra padding if possible.