Not having the correct breast support while running leads to discomfort, which in turn is leading to some women avoiding running altogether, according to Dr Deirdre McGee and her colleagues at the University of Wollongong.
I recently attended a running symposium with Sports Medicine Australia and one of the topics on the agenda was Bra fitting. I found it interesting that the studies found that it was not only large breasted women that benefited from a better fitting bra. A comment made by one of the smaller breasted women participating in one of the studies sums this up as she describes that she was happy running and didn't have pain, but her newly fitted bra made her running “so much more comfortable”. Another stated that she found running painful and this impacted directly on how much running she could complete. After a correct fitting she had much less pain with this activity and progressed to lose 10Kg as she was able to increase her running distances. Basically it seems that physics has a large part to play, and the stress on breast tissue is not only affected by weight but by how many cycles (i.e. superior to inferior movements in the case of breasts during running) that are applied.
Breast Research Australia has developed an App that contains “evidenced based information to ensure the next bra you buy is the right size, is supportive and most importantly is comfortable”. The App can be freely downloaded from www.bra.edu.au/sportsbra. Much of this information was gained through the clinical research efforts of Dr Deirdre McGee and her colleagues. Deirdre has also been involved in developing guidelines for Sports Medicine Australia which can be downloaded in the form of the brochure exercise and breast support from the link below.
As a male I found it astounding that there could be so many variations in design of the bra. Its not just simply good wire and strong elastic, or that all designs work with all women. Good luck with the App, I hope it helps to take some of the pain out of your activities and indeed bra selection.
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Jason is the Leichhardt Physiotherapy's practice principal and has been practicing as a physiotherapist for over 16 years