Don't let these warm-weather wounds sabotage your fitness plans. These strategies will help keep you injury-free this summer.
The Problem: Sweaty skin-on-skin and skin-on-sports-bra rubbing can cause raw spots that hurt (and look seriously unsexy in a bikini).
The Fix: Prevent the burn with a snug-fitting sports bra, and slather an antifriction lube under breasts and straps pre-workout, says Monica Schell, M.D., a dermatologist in Kailua-Kuna, Hawaii. Already roughed up? Cover the area with antibiotic ointment and a bandage.
Scrapes and Cuts
The Problem: Trip and fall in shorts and a tank top and your exposed limbs could end up with road rash.
The Fix: Clean out any dirt and debris with soap and water to prevent staph infections, which thrive in hot, humid environments. Keep the wound moist and covered with a bandage until the skin heals to prevent scarring.
The Problem: Muscle spasms can last for (an agonizing) several minutes. "You're more likely to become dehydrated in the heat, which means you've lost nutrients necessary for proper muscle function," says Jeff Stephenson, M.D., a sports-medicine physician in Louisville.
The Fix: Stretch, lightly massage the muscle, and guzzle some water or a drink that contains electrolytes. If the cramp subsides, finish as planned; if not, call it a day. "Cramps are a sign that you're overheated or that you're pushing yourself too hard," notes Stephenson. (Or, try one of these 6 Pain-Relieving Yoga Poses.)
Sore Lady Parts
The Problem: Positioning your handlebar lower than your seat can cause numbness and discomfort down below, suggests research in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The Fix: Align your handlebar even with the seat. If you feel pain mid-ride, stand up on the pedals and stretch out while riding, or stop and readjust your saddle.
The Problem: When you're logging serious summer miles, your toenails can repeatedly bash against the inside of your shoes. (This can happen even with sneakers that fit: Your feet swell during exercise, especially in the heat.) Your body sends blood and fluid to protect the area—leaving you with a purply-black nail.
The Fix: A podiatrist can painlessly extract the excess fluid through a pin-size hole. To prevent the problem, buy summer shoes half a size larger than normal, and add a liner to customize the shoe to your foot, absorb shock, and keep toes secure.
The Problem: Water trapped in your ear canal is merely annoying—unless you have a scratch, in which case bacteria can enter and cause an infection. "Swimmer's ear is more likely to develop if you use cotton swabs to remove the ear wax that helps 'waterproof' the ear," says Dale Amanda Tylor, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat physician in Fremont, California.
The Fix: Dry your ears with a hair dryer set on low. No relief? Apply ear drops made from equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol to aid in moisture evaporation, then try the hair dryer again.
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