Fissure of the nipple

Fissure of the nipple
Fissure of the nipple
Classification and external resources

An irritated nipple, or jogger's nipple, acquired while riding a bike on a warm day.
ICD-10 N64.0, O92.1
ICD-9 611.2

Fissure of the nipple, also known as jogger's nipple, is a condition that can be caused by friction that can result in soreness, dryness or irritation to, or bleeding of, one or both nipples during and/or following running or other physical exercise. This condition is also experienced by women who breastfeed[1] and by surfers who do not wear rash guards.



Jogger's nipple is caused by friction from the repeated rubbing of a t-shirt or other upper body clothing against the nipples during a prolonged period of exercise.

The condition is suffered mainly by runners. Long-distance runners are especially prone, because they are exposed to the friction on the nipple for the greatest period of time. However, it is not only suffered by athletes; the inside of a badge, a logo on normal items of clothing, or breastfeeding[1] can also cause the friction which results in this condition.


Runner's Nipple after a 10 k run on a hot day

The condition is easily preventable and treatable. Viable methods include:

  • Run shirtless whenever weather and the law permits.
  • Don't use a large, loose-fitting T-shirt during exercise.
  • Wear "technical" shirts made of synthetic fabrics, not cotton.
  • Stick a small bandage, waterproof bandaid, or paper surgical tape over each nipple before the commencement of exercise to act as a barrier between skin and cloth.
  • Apply an anti-chafing balm such as Bodyglide (active ingredient Allantoin).
  • If the skin is already damaged, apply a pure lanolin product (e.g. Lansinoh or Bag Balm) to the area prior to exercise to prevent chafing. If the skin is not damaged, a barrier product (e.g. Vaseline) can be used. These products do not allow air to circulate around damaged skin; this can prevent healing if used over a period of time. A "liquid bandage" can be helpful for healing or prevention, although it may sting initially.
  • Use specialized products available to prevent the condition such as rash guards.
  • Wear a sports bra, shimmel, compression vest, or some variety of chest binding clothing.
  • Apply an antiseptic cream as soon as you suspect a fissure, with the hope that it may reduce the chances of bacterial infection that would make the condition worse.[1]
  • Use a nipple shield (of rubber, or glass and rubber) temporarily.[1]

This condition should clear within a few days. If not, medical attention is warranted. Other skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, fungal infections or an allergic reaction can cause nipple pain and changes in the appearance of the skin. In women, breastfeeding (often complicated by thrush infection),[1], hormonal changes in early pregnancy or during menstruation, as well as certain types of breast cancer, i.e. Paget's disease of the breast, can also cause nipple soreness and pain.

Other names

Jogger's nipple is also known as runner's nipple, surfer's nipple, red eleven, raver's nipple, big Q's, red nipple, weightlifter's nipple and gardener's nipple, or nipple chafe. There are similar colloquial terms for almost any activity that can result in the condition.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Dr. C.H. Asrani. "Fissures of the nipple". Common Problems in the first weeks of Breast Feeding. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 

External links

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