Using Kinesiology Tape to Prevent Nipple Irritation

If you are a runner who enjoys running long distances—like marathons or half-marathons—then you understand the importance of doing everything you can to maximize your running performance and to protect yourself from injury. You stretch, keep your hips strong, and eat right for the amount of exercise you are doing. But how do you keep your nipples from chafing while running long distances? The answer: kinesiology tape.

Some runners use kinesiology tape to help them run better and to treat various running injuries. Kinesiology tape is often used to treat Achilles' tendinopathy, iliotibial band friction syndrome, or patellofemoral stress syndrome.

But if you get creative, you can use kinesiology tape to prevent excessive chafing of your nipples when you run. It may sound gross, but many runners who run long distances experience skin irritation from their nipples rubbing excessively on their shirt or sports bra. Many use bandages to cover their nipples or special anti-chafing balm to prevent this nippular chafing, as it is colloquially referred to.

But what do you do if you don't have any adhesive bandages? What can you use to protect your sensitive nipples when you are running long distances? How do you prevent nipple chafing while running?

A roll of kinesiology tape
Kwangmoozaa / Getty Images

The Benefits

You can use small pieces of kinesiology tape to prevent your nipples from getting too chaffed. It's simple, cost-effective, and a bit goofy. Here is how to do it:

  • Prior to your run, make sure your chest area, including your nipples, is clean and dry.
  • Cut a small one-inch piece of kinesiology tape (your specific size may vary depending on the size of your nipples).
  • Cut the one-inch piece of kinesiology tape in half, and place each half over your nipples.

Kinesiology tape is a cotton-based flexible adhesive tape, but when you apply it to your nipples to prevent chafing, there is no need to place the tape on any sort of stretch. Simply apply the tape to prevent chafing and irritation of your nipples rubbing against your shirt while you are running. Kinesiology tape is hearty enough to survive long runs, and it probably won't peel away as your sweat out those last few grueling miles.

Since this is a novel solution to an age-old running problem, this kinesiology tape over the nipples technique has not been thoroughly tested with rigorous scientific study. Also, some folks should avoid using kinesiology tape, so be sure to check in with your healthcare provider or physical therapist before applying the kinesiology tape to your nipples or to any other part of your body.

Removing the kinesiology tape from your nipples can be a little tricky, especially if your buds are a bit sensitive. The best way to get the tape off: after a hot shower, rub a bit of mineral oil on the tape over your nipples to soften the tape and adhesive. Then, slowly peel one edge away while holding the skin of your chest down. You should feel like you are peeling your nipple away from the tape, not the tape from your nipple. This should help get the stuff off with minimal weeping and tears. There may be some slight whimpering, but you just ran a bunch of miles so you can handle it.

A Word From Verywell

If you are going to be running long distances or exercising enough to cause irritation and chafing of your nipples, and if you have run out of Band-Aids or adhesive bandages, you can always turn to kinesiology tape to help keep things protected. This can ensure that your exercise session will go smoothly and you can prevent any unwanted irritation of sensitive body parts.

By Brett Sears, PT
Brett Sears, PT, MDT, is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in orthopedic and hospital-based therapy.