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Blisters, Chafing, Rashesh- Avoiding common skin problems for athletes

by Mandar Marathe 25 Jan 2024 0 Comments
Blisters, Chafing, Rashesh-  Avoiding common skin problems for athletes

Preventing and Treating Common Sports-Related Skin Issues

Athletes experience sports-related skin issues commonly arising from sweat and harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the scorching sun. If the athletes are involved in indoor sports, then their likelihood of attracting sun-related skin issues is minimum or arguably none. However, sweat is an inevitable component of any sport, whether it is indoor or outdoor. On the other hand, those involved in outdoor sports face the risk of contracting skin problems due to both sweat and UV rays.


Common sports-related skin issues.


Some of the common sports-related skin issues that athletes tend to get are chafing, blisters, and rashes.

Let us understand each of them in detail:

Chafing: Chafing is one of the most common skin problems faced by athletes. It is generally caused by any combination of friction, moisture, and irritating fabric. Usually, the athletes who experience rubbing of skin against each other (for instance, rubbing of thighs against each other) or rubbing of skin against clothing, etc, are said to have contracted chafing. It most commonly appears on the inner thighs, armpits, groin, the crease on the back of the neck, the bottom of breasts in women and below the belly in obese people. It can be caused by a bacterial, yeast or fungal infection.

Skin irritation is a common symptom of chafing. It can lead to red and sore skin. Initially, chafing will make skin pink and feel hot or stingy. As the chafing heals, it may begin to look like flaky, red spots. In severe cases, where chafing is prolonged, the rash may advance, and symptoms may expand to swelling, blistering, bleeding, or crusting of the affected area.


Blisters: Sports related blisters form when your foot slides or shifts in your shoe, causing friction while you run or perform other athletic activities. Fluid collects between the irritated layers of skin tissue and swells, forming a bubble. Blisters develop very quickly and can take several days to heal. Thus, a blister is a bubble on the skin containing fluid. Apart from the aforementioned causes, blisters can be formed due to an injury, allergic reaction, or infection.

Scientifically, blisters develop when friction causes the epidermis to separate from the dermis. The symptoms of a blister may resemble other skin conditions. Blisters are mostly caused by friction, burns and skin reactions, such as an allergic reaction. Blood blisters appear when blood vessels in the skin have also been damaged.

Preventing and Treating Common Sports-Related Skin Issues


Rashes: Skin issues are common in athletes of all ages. Those involved in high-contact games like wrestling and football are more vulnerable to attracting sports-related skin issues such as rashes. These infections can be transmitted from one athlete to another directly through skin-to-skin contact or indirectly through contaminated objects such as towels, mats, and equipment.

 Blisters and Rashes are a common problem among sports people. Read our article on How Squash players deal with Blisters and Irritations.

In scientific terms, skin rashes can be red, inflamed, bumpy as well as dry, itchy or painful. The main cause is dermatitis, which is when your skin reacts to allergens or irritants. Bacteria, viruses, allergens and conditions including eczema, hives, and psoriasis can be the source of skin rashes.

Prevention strategies and effective treatment options.

Sports-related skin issues like chafing, blisters, and rashes can be prevented by following the right steps. If you still contract these skin issues, there are a set of effective treatment options too.

Sports-related skin issues like chafing, blisters, and rashes

Chafing: Wear appropriate clean clothes for activities like sports or exercise to avoid chafing. Besides, wearing properly fitting clothing, avoid activities that you know cause chafing and use an anti-chafing stick or cream. Even if after taking the requisite precautions and care, you develop chafing, you can apply aloe vera and petroleum jelly to the affected body parts.

Another way to treat chafing is by gently cleaning the chafed area with water and drying it thoroughly. After cleaning the area, apply a substance like petroleum jelly. If the area is very painful, swollen, bleeding, or crusted, your health care provider may recommend a medicated ointment. Besides, you can use an ice pack in the affected area.

Blisters: Blisters rarely need medical attention unless they are severe, recurrent, caused by burns or are due to an underlying infection. However, if blisters continue to develop on a regular basis, treating them is necessary.

You can allow the fluid (in the blister) to drain away naturally and carefully wash it with mild soapy water. Cover the blister and the surrounding area with a sterile, dry dressing. Some medications, such as hydrocolloid dressings, can help prevent further discomfort and encourage the healing process.

Moreover, they can be prevented by wearing perfect-fitting shoes, wearing breathable socks, removing wet socks and shoes shortly after the game or practice session, and keeping feet as dry as possible.


Rashes: To prevent rashes, wear loose-fitting clothing (preferably moisture-wicking) when playing sports. Shower and change clothes after your game or workout. It is advisable to use fragrance-free soaps.

Despite undertaking preventive measures, if you experience rashes then there are a few treatment options available. Apply a cool wet cloth over the rash, and then an anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone. Ensure that you do not scratch the affected body part. Besides, keep cool and stay out of the sun. Leave the rash open to the air as much of the time as possible. Sometimes petroleum jelly and moisturising lotion can help relieve the discomfort caused by a rash.

Concluding remarks`

Having gathered a fair understanding of the sports-related skin issues such as chafing, blisters, and rashes, preventing and treating them is certainly possible. So, the next time you step out to play your favourite sport, ensure that you follow the requisite steps to keep these sports-related skin issues at bay.



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