Saddle sores happen even to the most experienced cyclists. Often, they are produced by the pressure exerted by the cycling shorts. In some cases, the pressure can be exerted by an unsuitable saddle. Although annoying, saddle sores can be easily prevented and treated, as long as you identify the right cause.
How To Prevent Saddle Sores
More often than not, saddle sores are caused by the pressure exerted by the padding in your chamois on the genital area. Inexpert cyclists can also get saddle sores from an incorrect posture or from an unsuitable saddle.
The first step to prevent saddle sores is to identify the right height of the seat. A bike seat positioned too high or too low will determine you to sit in an awkward position, which will eventually translate into saddle sores.
The next step is to identify the right saddle for you. Bikes usually come with standard saddles that aren’t exactly ergonomic. Fix this issue by investing in a saddle that makes you feel comfortable. Extra padding and maybe an aeration hole can reduce this annoying issue.
Lastly, make sure you always wear suitable equipment when cycling. Wearing fitting cycling shorts is a must. The shorts shouldn’t be too tight in the crotch area but at the same time shouldn’t be too loose either.
Sufficient padding in your genital area can reduce saddle sores. When choosing the shorts, make sure they are gender specific. Another mistake that can cause saddle sores is using underwear under the cycling shorts. The chamois is designed to be wear on bare skin, otherwise, it may irritate your genital area.
Saddle Sore: Other Causes
Dermatitis, often caused by the cycling wear, is one of the most frequent causes of saddle sores. The phenomena involve the most exposed parts of the skin and manifest clinically with redness, often associated with a burning feeling, or with the appearance of pustules.
Sometimes, the growth of hair in the genital area can also cause saddle sores, dermatitis, and pustules. This rash is characterized by an uncontrolled bacterial development that can lead to the formation of cysts due to the accumulation of sebum, a chemical produced by the hair glands.
All these conditions can develop into clinical complications that in some cases require surgical treatment.
To avoid these problems, the first precaution is maximum hygiene. Wash your cycling shorts after each training session with the right detergent and at the right temperature. Make sure the garment is fully dry before wearing it.
It is also absolutely necessary to conduct a thorough personal hygiene, by washing the sore areas thoroughly before and after the workout.
How To Treat Saddle Sores
Saddle sores are easy to treat as long as the condition doesn’t develop in an abscess or cyst. Besides the hygiene precautions reminded above, you should also make sure that you’re wearing proper equipment and ride on a proper saddle.
Sores can occur after long periods of inactivity, and in this case, the best thing to do is to take a day or two of rest, waiting for the sores to disappear.
Skin rashes can be treated with ointments and in some cases, you may need antibiotics if there is an infection going on.
When To See A Doctor?
Saddle sores should disappear on their own in a day or two. When they happen, check your chamois and saddle to make sure they are both comfortable and fitted. If you can’t link any of these objects to your sores, if you’re experiencing excruciating pain, or if your saddle sores get infected, it’s time to see a doctor.
Sometimes, saddle sores can even be caused by the sensitive skin coming in contact with the wrong material, while sometimes they can indicate an underlying condition.