Anthony Marchand Bicycle Repair And Maintenance information And Tips

Sore in the Saddle

Anthony Marchand bicycle repair and maintenance information and tips

Prevention:5, 6, 7, 8
  1. Look for a saddle that fits you: Saddle choice is crucial. Excessively wide saddles rub your inner thighs. Narrow saddles don't provide enough support for your sit bones -- your weight is borne by soft tissue that can quickly become bruised and irritated. Thickly padded saddles can press upward between your sit bones, causing uncomfortable numbing pressure. A saddle width should fit your "sit bones." See Choose a Bicycle Saddle  and Saddle Comfort.
  2. Improve your bike fit: If your seat is too high, your hips rock on each pedal stroke and strum your soft tissue across the nose of the saddle. The result is irritated skin and a greater chance of infection. See our video on Bicycle Adjustments to Increase Comfort and Efficiency. Especially if you suffer from chronic saddle sores, have your position checked by an experienced coach or knowledgeable bike shop person.
  3. Move on the saddle: Sit mostly toward the rear where your sit bones get maximum support and take pressure off your crotch. But also move farther back on seated climbs, and more to the middle when bending low to make good time. Each shift relieves pressure points.
  4. Choose a smooth chamois: Look for shorts with a one-piece liner or one that's sewn with flat seams. It may take experimenting with shorts brands or chamois types to find the model that works best. Women often do better with shorts designed specifically for their anatomy and that have a liner with no center seam.
  5. Lube to reduce friction: To prevent the chamois from abrading skin, apply lubrication before each ride. Try a commercial product such as Chamois BUTT'r or Bag Balm Bag Balm, or simply a light coating of petroleum jelly. If you seem susceptible to saddle sores, you may find it helpful to wash your crotch with antibacterial soap and warm water before lubing up. Dry your skin well first.
  6. Keep clean: Always wear clean shorts for each ride. Wash your shorts the day of the ride - never leave them around because bacteria can build up.
  7. Strip quick. After a ride, get out of your sweaty, germy shorts as soon as possible. The environment down there breeds bacteria and encourages them to enter abraded skin. Then shower or clean up with soap and water. Dry well and put on loose-fitting clothing that allows your skin to breathe. For underwear, try boxer shorts. The tight leg bands of briefs cut across the junction of your gluts and hamstrings, right where many saddle sores develop.
  8. Apply skin lotion: I have found that applying a skin moisturizing cream such as Eucerin Cream after showering keep skin supple and prevents irritation.

  1. How to Diagnose, Treat, and Avoid Saddle Sores,  Keep your nether regions comfortable and healthy mile after mile, By Molly Hurford Dec. 2013
  2. Taking Care of Saddle Sores,  Performance Bicycle Blog Feb. 6, 2016
  3. Home Remedies for Saddle Sores and Chamois Rash,  By Gale Bernhardt for Active.com
  4. Bike Seat Rash,  By Linda Tarr Kent from Livestrong.com Last Jul 03, 2015
  5. How to avoid and treat saddle sores, How to avoid and treat saddle sores, BikeRadar.com
  6. Avoiding Saddle Sores  from British Cycling, Jan 2014
  7. Cycling Saddle Sores  from Dave's Blog, June 2009
  8. Ouch! My butt hurts!  from Bicycling Life
Created by Tony Marchand

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Treatment: Keep it clean. For small "pimples over-the-counter acne gel containing 10% benzol peroxide or "Tea Tree Oil" may bring it to a head a drain.3 Remember the following:
  1. Stay off the bike until it heals (or you may wind up with a major infection).
  2. Hot compresses or warm baths with Epsom salt will help sites come to a head and drain.
  3. Antibiotic ointment can be used once draining begins.
  4. See you medical care provider if the site becomes worse: red and swollen, pain increases, draining continues, fever, red streaks develop, ulceration develops. Systemic antibiotics may be required.
  5. For rashes (usually the result of friction on the inner thighs or butt as well as warm conditions with increased sweating), clean gently and dry thoroughly. For mild cases, apply a skin moisturizer. One can also consider the use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.4 If the rash becomes intense and worsens, see your medical care provider.

Saddle Sores

Saddle sores are truly a "pain in the butt." Prevention is the main approach but we'll also talk about diagnosis and treatment. This might be one of the more important articles you read.

Causes: This is still debated, not just among cyclists, but also in the medical community. The general consensus seems to be though that saddle sores happen when friction irritates hair follicles, allowing them to become infected by bacteria.1 Skin ulceration or abrasion can also provide a site for infection.

Diagnosis: Saddle sores are localized infection that often begin as a small "pimple," reddish area of irritation, or skin ulceration.2 Since they are infections and may develop into a "boil" (pus filled area under the skin) or even systemic infection, they should not be taken lightly and should be treated promptly (see below).