This article will teach you how to spot, prevent and cure Saddle Sores.
What are Saddle Sores?
Healthline state that “Saddle sores are painful skin lesions that can form on parts of the body that are in contact with a bicycle seat. Treating saddle sores may involve applying topical ointments and staying off your bike to let them heal. For more serious cases, medical attention may be appropriate.”
What causes Saddle Sores?
Bicyling.com explain that “The term ‘saddle sore’ can refer to several different specific conditions, but generally it means problems occurring in the area where your cycling shorts’ chamois contacts your body due to ongoing pressure or chafing from your saddle.”
What does Saddle Sore Look Like?
“Some saddle sores look a lot like spots and these are often caused by an infected hair follicle.”
The article continues, “Sores that look more like boils are usually larger and can be more painful. For some people, the main cause of pain is more likely to be abrasion caused by chafing.”
How Long do Saddle Sores take to Heal?
This really depends on the severity of the case but generally more often that not Saddle Sores will disappear after a couple of days.
How do you Treat and get Rid of Saddle Sores?
The best thing to do is give your nether regions a break from the bike.
In the majority of cases this simple method is extremely effective.
If you cannot (or will not) have a few days rest then try riding with an alternative saddle and/or chamois. Even switching to a different pair of cycling shorts can also be very helpful.
How do you Treat Recurring Saddle Sores?
Normally, Saddle Sores are not that difficult to treat.
However, if you do find that they constantly keep coming back then here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Have you made any recent changes to your bike set up that could cause the Saddle Sores?
- Is your saddle actually Ccomfortable?
- Are your bibs causing friction or chaffing?
- Have you recently starting wearing new gear?
Often solving the problem can be as simple as adjusting the height of your saddle or buying a new one.
When it comes to finding the right saddle, these tips from Cycling Weekly will help you out, “Aggressive riders want a saddle that provides pressure relief at the front and those who tend to focus on more endurance rides will want more padding at the rear to suit an upright position.”
When should I Consult my Doctor?
If there seems to be no easily diagnosable cause then it is always worth consulting your doctor.
According to Bicycling.com, there are three reasons to check in with your doctor:
Firstly “talk to a dermatologist to see if your sensitive skin has an underlying problem.”
Secondly, “consult your doc if your saddle sore lasts for more than two weeks or is excruciatingly painful.”
Finally, “go to a doctor if your saddle sore gets infected.”
How do I Prevent Saddle Sores?
There are six common ways to prevent Saddle Sores.
1. Buy a New Chamois
It takes time and trial and effort to find the perfect chamois, as they can be found in all different sizes and shapes.
Test a few different variations until you find the perfect fit for your body.
2. Don’t Wear Underwear with Cycling Shorts
This is a rookie mistake that will only further aggravate your sensitive areas when you ride. Leave your underwear at home when you are out riding.
This is a very personal choice but less hair down there will reduce friction, and therefore lower the risk of saddle sores.
4. Lube Up
Lubrication is an easy way to eliminate friction whilst pedalling, especially for longer routes.
However, be careful when using a razor as this can lead to razor burn and infected bumps. Make sure to use proper shaving foam and moisturise accordingly.
5. Prevent Inner Thigh Chafing
There are many anti-chafing gels available for athletes with bigger quads that are more prone to chafing whilst riding.
This point is also worth thinking about if you are a triathlete. Transitions from salt water swims to cycling stages can often cause excessive chaffing, caused by the damp wetsuit material rubbing against the skin. Again, the anti-chafing gels can be especially useful here.
6. Wash your Shorts after every Ride
Following up on point 2, because you don’t wear underwear with cycling shorts then you must wash them after every use. Just like you do with underwear.
This is important because “not doing so allows bacteria a second chance to access your skin, which can cause infection.” Cycling Weekly
Countering Saddle Sores
Saddle Sores can be incredibly annoying, painful and inconvenient for any cyclist.
However, with the right preventative measure they can often be bypassed altogether.
If you do get them, always check the simple potential factors first (saddle, chamois, equipment) and give yourself a break for a couple of days.
If they persist then it might be time to consult your doctor.
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