Biking saddle sores are a pretty common condition that can result from prolonged bicycle riding. They’re typically caused by pressure from the bike seat being applied too long to the perineum, which is the area of skin between your genitals and anus. This area doesn’t have any sweat or oil glands, so there’s no way for it to release the pressure.
As a result, bacteria can build up and irritation can occur. Bicycle seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes to help find what works best for you. If you still suffer from saddle soreness, these tips may help to ease some of the pressure on your
What are saddle sores?
Saddle sores refer to a bony or fleshy growth on the perineum that develops due to long periods of bicycle riding or discomfort from the saddle. There are many different causes for saddle sores, but most common ones are caused by:
- Long periods of exposure to a saddle on your bicycle
- Insufficient support for your sacrum (a small, flattened bone in your lower back)
- Riding without a perineal support (like a cycling pad, for example)
- A poor fit of your bike seat Perineal support
There are a lot of different types of bike saddle pads.
These will help to cushion the seat and give you more support. It’s best to look for a multi-functional pad with non-slip fabric that will add more cushioning to the seat. If you’re looking for extra perineal support, look for a synthetic pad. One such saddle pad is the Bikeroo Oversized Bike Seat.
How can I prevent saddle soreness?
Wear cycling shorts with mesh panels in the groin area. Most people wear shorts that are way too long, causing pressure from the seat to be applied too long. This can lead to saddle sores developing in the groin area.
Mesh panels can provide some air flow for the body to stay cool and prevent saddle sores from developing. Mesh panels can also prevent saddle sores from occurring due to friction. Take regular rest days.
This will help your body recover and reduce pain caused by saddle sores. Regular rest days will also allow your muscles to fully recover from exercise. Avoid prolonged hours of exercise. Sore muscles will try to compensate and start building more muscles in order to restore the pain.
How do I know if I have saddle sores or not?
Bicycle saddle sores generally don’t occur on one particular saddle or position. Rather, they are different on each of the varying types of saddles available. The term saddle sores is also slightly different from saddle balms, which are placed inside the seat to act as a cushion.
What are the common places I get saddle sores? Saddle sores can be a very isolated issue on one particular saddle or area. However, because of their location, saddle sores are commonly found on the upper outer thighs, groin, buttocks, and genitals. Many men also report saddle sores on the inner thighs.
What is the best way to prevent saddle sores? Regular lathering is key to avoiding saddle sores.
What if I still have saddle soreness?
If your symptoms are severe, or you are experiencing pain when you sit down, seek medical attention. If you’re experiencing swelling, redness, or pus, you should go to a doctor immediately. One of the best ways to alleviate the pressure on your perineum is by using a bike saddle that is more supportive. For example, the Bontrager Rhino frame on a bike can be used as a saddle.
The wider seat allows more room for you to sit, which will promote a more comfortable riding experience. If you ride a single speed, such as the Kestrel single speed or the Manitou Deluxe frame, you can simply replace your stock saddle with one that has more support. You may also want to purchase a bike saddle pad to place on your saddle.
What is the best bike seat for me?
If you ride a road bike, then a road bike saddle is the best option. The down side to this is that there’s more pressure from the pedals and you may have to adjust the height of the saddle to accommodate a narrower frame.
Road bikes come in various sizes and for each individual bike you need to make sure the seat will fit well with the pedal position. Otherwise you may experience discomfort due to lack of mobility or imbalance. Whichever bike seat type you decide on, try to get one that is soft and has some padding around the base of the seat.
Some saddles have plastic cushioning that can also help ease pressure if it gets too painful. Bike saddle sores are mostly treated with professional attention and over the counter products to provide the necessary relief.
How to find the right bike seat size for you
There are two general sizes of bike saddle seat:
- Small: For riders under 5’3” and 125 pounds. For guys, this is usually a 1-pint measure (U.S. size 7). Small seat width, medium height, small height measurement and weight (125 lbs. – 175 lbs.) is for the middle of the road saddle. The smaller the bike seat you have, the more strain you’re putting on your pubic area.
- Medium: For riders over 5’3” and 175 pounds. The seat width can vary greatly depending on your height and weight. The greater the difference in your height and weight, the wider your saddle should be. Full: For riders over 5’3” and 175 pounds. The seat width can range between 1” (U.S. size 12) and 1.5” (U.S. size 16). The medium height is 2’7” – 3’0” (U.S. size 18) and the weight is 225 pounds or more.
Saddle sores are no fun. They can be very painful and make it difficult to sit comfortably on your bike. In fact, saddle sores can be so severe that many cyclists opt for bike shorts. Bike shorts, in particular, can prevent saddle sores because the fabric doesn’t restrict the perineal skin.
With so many options available, a saddle sore is really the only excuse you need to take a break from your ride. If you have saddle sores, take a couple of days off from cycling to allow them to heal. This will help you to avoid developing more soreness from the saddle and create a better, healthier situation for the future.