Written by 10:26 pm MTB, MTB Basics

How To Avoid and Treat Saddle Sores

Mountain biking is one very demanding activity. Other than muscle pain you will have to deal with, saddle sores are one of the most common problems many riders have to endure. That saddle sore alone can ruin the ride as it can cause a lot of discomforts.

It can be caused by a number of things; one it could be the saddle you are using is not a proper fit. Secondly, it could be your sitting style; it could be you are doing it incorrectly. If you have had to deal with the problem and you don’t want to happen again, here are ways on how to avoid saddle sores.

Perfect fit

This, probably, should be the very first thing you need to consider if you don’t want to deal with saddle soreness at the end of every ride. As a mountain biking enthusiast, it is important you find a bike that is well fitted. In this case, the saddle and the handlebar must come with the correct height. This crucial as incorrect fitting causes your weight to be poorly distributed on the saddle and that can cause excess rocking of the saddle, leading to some serious soreness in the crotch and also thighs.

The kind of suspension the bike has also does play a key role. If you are going to hit a rock trail, the amount of vibration the body will have to deal with could also cause saddle soreness. For this reason, you might need to invest your money on a full-suspension mountain bike.

Get a supportive seat

The kind of seat your bike comes with can make a whole new difference; it can determine if you are going to be comfortable in your ride or deal with saddle soreness at the end of each trip. For this very reason, you need to be very careful about the choice you make. The seat, in any case, should be very supportive. It must not be very wide as that can easily run your inner thighs. On the other hand, those narrow saddles cannot also provide much-needed support. So ensure you get the right seat that supports your sit bones that will prevent any bruising and irritation of the skin.

Still, on the saddle you should use; you also might want to avoid those heavily padded saddles. They can easily press upwards in between your sit bones and that could in a way cause a very discomforting numbing pressure.

Ideally, before you dish out your money for any saddle, give it a test drive. Sit on it and get that feeling. In the end, find out if it does come with the right level of comfort. It must also be able to perfectly support your sit bone. It is as simple as that.

Invest in the right pair of shorts

As with any other outdoor activities, there are shorts and also trousers specifically designed for mountain biking. They come with useful features that will ensure you remain comfortable all through and enjoy the ride so if you don’t want to have any sore on the crotch, invest in some quality biking shorts.

There are quite a number of styles and designs in the market today, and you may want to go for one that perfectly suits your needs. Do not be tempted by those cheap shorts; they don’t guarantee great level of comfort and most of them could also cause saddle sores, as well.

Try moving on the saddle

Throughout those power-intensive biking activities in the mountains, you might also want to keep moving on the saddle. In this case, we are talking about you moving towards the rear as that will give your sit bones maximum support. It also takes a lot of pressure off the crotch area. In other cases, it could make a lot of sense if you could move right in the middle when bending low. In the end, really, those little movements you make while you are riding could prevent saddle soreness in a number of ways.

Get used to standing more frequently

If you are a serious mountain biker, you understand how standing frequently when riding can be of great help to you. Not only will that frequent standing allows you to climb a steep slope with so much ease, but it can also ease the pressure that is exerted on the crotch area. It also helps greatly when it comes to blood circulation in the body, and especially into the crotch area. So as you ride, learn to stand for a few seconds every few minutes. It will help you avoid those serious saddle sores as you will be freeing this area from a lot of pressure.

Take off your biking clothes after every ride

We all know how sweaty that single ride could get. As a way to avoid saddle soreness, take off every single piece of clothing you wore during the ride and take a cold shower. You might want to make sure you dry the body well and wear some loose clothing after that clean wash. The environment down there can get really bad; sweats down there can act as one of the best breeding places for bacteria and most of the bacteria could enter the skin causing that serious soreness. You don’t want that to happen.

Use chamois cream

Most people don’t like the idea of using a cream down there; it can create a sort of a mess, especially during those sweaty rides. However, investing some money in the right chamois cream can also be another great way to avoid saddle soreness. These creams come with great emollient factors or even lubrication and can do a great job when applied to the crotch area. The best part, the cream you pick must not be cycling specific.

In any case, however, you need to pick something that is great for your skin and it must provide the much-needed lubrication. If you can use it before taking a ride on your bike, you would be amazed at what it can actually do. Those saddle soreness you have had to deal with in the past is going to be a thing of the past. The best part, you really don’t have to put a lot of money on these creams. They are quite affordable and readily available.

Keep clean

As a way to avoid saddle sores, keeping yourself clean is essential. For every ride, you need to make sure the pair of shorts you wear is clean, especially if you are susceptible to saddle sores.  Ideally, you might want to use some antibacterial soap and warm water to wash the crotch area. Thereafter you need to make sure the area is completely dried out before you can apply the lube.

Use the right lube

Lubricating your thighs and the crotch area could also come with plenty of benefits. It helps reduce friction that often leads to saddle sores. Invest some money in a great lube and have the area that comes in contact with the saddle well lubricated before each ride. One of the best things about these lubes is that they are affordable and you can find them in bike stores near you.

Take some breaks in between your ride

If you are going to ride for a considerable length of time spanning to miles and miles that could lead to saddle soreness. Contact exposure to those rubbing and skin irritation by the saddle for hours could cause saddles sores. It is because of this very reason that you might want to take a few breaks in between your rides. That will allow blood flow into the area and that could come with great benefits. Additionally, during those short breaks, you need to do a few stretches to enhance the flow of blood to the crotch area. You will be surprised at how this can prevent any saddle soreness.

Beware of hair removal

Most cyclists are well known to have their legs shaved. They say it makes them move really fast. If at times you have some very intimate hair removal; let’s say in the crotch area, you need to beware that could lead to soreness in the area. The hair is there for a purpose; they act as natural sweat soaker and also provide the much-needed layer. So if you remove them, you are exposing the area to a lot of risks including infection of the follicle and also ingrown hairs. It is something you don’t want to have if you are a serious cyclist.

Build up slowly

Last but not least; like any other body intensive activity you get involved in today, you need to make the body adapt and get used to it. When it comes to biking, you need to start slow as you build up gradually. You need the body to adapt and you won’t have to deal with any serious saddle sores. Plus, most experienced and strong bikers often put a lot of weight and power through their bikes’ pedals, and that makes them have a more stable position on the saddle. That alone, can in a number of ways help you avoid a series of soreness in your thighs and crotch area.

Treating Saddle Sores

It is for a fact, even after trying all the necessary precaution measures, at times, you could end you with saddle sores. As with any other health issue, if they are not treated well in time things could get really serious.  So should you notice these sores today, you need to act with speed and have them treated. Here are a few simple treatments that can help you ease the problem.

Keep clean

When it comes to treating saddle sores, cleanliness is paramount. You should keep the area perfectly clean by taking frequent washes. These are wounds and you don’t keep the area clean that can also lead to some serious infections. Some skin infections can be life-threatening as they can lead to other health complications and that could actually stop you from biking for months.

Use antibiotic

You are advised to treat it like any other skin infection. In this case, the right antibiotic or antiseptic cream could do the trick. If you can also get ice, that can in a myriad of ways help ease the kind of suffering you are going through

Get enough rest

In other cases, if you have been struggling for days or even weeks with saddle sores, if you want it to heal quickly and have you enjoying those rides once again, take a day or even two off the bike. If you keep re-exposing the area to any stimulus, that will not in any way help deal with the saddle sores. Take some time off your bike and during this period, make sure you wear loose and breathable clothing. In short, we are saying avoid riding your bike until you are completely healed.  Avoid and tight clothing at all costs. Do this and you will have the problem healed within a very short time.

When to see a doctor

If your saddle sores keep coming back even after you have taken the necessary precaution measures, it is now time to see a doctor. In this case, you need to check on a dermatologist. There could be some serious underlying issues or even skin sensitivity and is the only person who can advise you on the best way forward.

Final Thoughts

In the end, really, saddle sores can be one of the most frustrating things you could have today. It cannot only ruin your riding experience, but it can also make you not to ride a bike for a really long time. So if you don’t want to have any issues, try the above tips today. They are effective and could see those saddle sores you have had to deal with every time you ride to become a thing of the past. They say prevention is better than cure. So before learning ways how to treat saddle sores, learn how to avoid them in the first place.

Updated on January 22, 2021 by Ben

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