«

»

14 ways to avoid and treat saddle sores from bicycling

Facebook Twitter More...

Here’s a 2007 story from the BikingBis.com vault about saddle sores, and how to prevent and treat them. Good luck staying comfortable in the saddle…

Warmer weather and longer bike rides are right around the corner for many of us, which means sore, blistered butts are also around the next bend.

It’s easier to get an idea how to avoid saddle sores when you understand what causes them. Basically it all starts with logging miles.

Three stages

Even for cyclists who distribute their weight between the handlebars, pedals and saddle, there’s a good deal of friction between the butt and the bicycle seat that irritates the skin. This is bad enough, and you’ll want to start treatment right now.

Next, bacteria (staphylococcus) works its way into the damaged hair follicles down there and folliculitis forms. That’s something that feels like acne on your butt. You really don’t want that.

Finally, abscesses can form. These hot, pus-filled bumps mean your bike trip is over, because you’re heading to the doctor for antibiotics.


Prevention

How to avoid these conditions:

1. Keep it clean down below. Bicycle touring and camping is not conducive to cleanliness, especially in areas that are out of sight. Wash up in service stations during the day or behind a tree at night.

2. Reduce the friction by not having the seat so high that you rock back and forth when you pedal.

3. Good cycling shorts. You want chamois against your skin; no underwear or anything else that can cause friction.

4. Take off those cycling shorts when you’re done. Your butt is a living, breathing petri dish after a ride; get out of those shorts and get cleaned up.

5. A clean pair of shorts everyday.

6. Apply Vaseline on the part of your shorts and your butt where you think you’ll develop saddle sores or where expect rubbing to occur. There are other fancy products out there, but Vaseline works and is available anywhere.

7.  If redness or irritation begins, call in the Bag Balm. This lanolin product was developed for overworked cow teats and is available in most pharmacies, and feed stores. It comes in a small metal tin, and it’s cheap. Make sure you clean up the irritated area, then slap some of this on in the evening, topped with Vaseline.

8. Consider smearing some antibiotic ointment on the area to stop infection. Cleanliness is best.

Personal note

Before getting into some other suggestions I’ve heard, let me share my stupid mistake but excellent recovery from the Seattle to Portland in 2003, when I bicycled down in one day and back to Seattle in two.

I made the incredibly bone-headed error of using a new pair of cycling shorts for the 200-mile leg. When I peeled them off in Portland, I had a painful welt on each cheek where the stitching in the chamois had just about rubbed me raw.

I applied a 1% hydrocortisone creme and Bag Balm after my shower. Reapplying the Bag Balm in the morning, I was good to go for the two-day ride back to Seattle.

Other suggestions

9. Hydrocortisone creme. This might speed the recovery process, but I’ve read it doesn’t work for everyone. Over the counter is usually 1% strength. Follow directions.

10. If you start out clean and apply Vaseline everyday, you can get away without putting on clean shorts daily, I’ve read. I wouldn’t want to test this myself.

11. Use baby wipes to clean up. This is another one that may work for some, but not others. Some people react to the alcohol in the wipes and the alcohol can dry out the skin. However, there are wipes that use aloe vera.

12. Wear two pairs of cycling shorts and switch the second day. I would think this would feel like riding with a diaper, but I’ve read where one long-distance rider suggests it.

13. Diaper rash ointment. I’ve seen this stuff clear up some pretty nasty business on a baby’s behind, you’d think it would work on adults too. I believe A&D Ointment was the cream of choice around here.

14. Experiment with other products. In addition to basic Vaseline and Bag Balm, there are other biker-targeted products out there. Some of these include Assos Chamois Creme (which is said to prevent fungal and bacterial infections) and Chamois Buttr.

Another personal note

When bicycling cross-country in 1984, we ran into an older couple who were finishing up their TransAmerica ride. In conversing with the couple, we learned they were just starting in the middle of the Appalachians after pedaling about 3,000 miles the previous year.

They had interrupted their trip when the husband developed saddle sores that digressed into abscesses because he didn’t probably care for them. He ended up in a hospital emergency room; end of cross-country adventure.

Don’t let that happen to you. Keep yourself clean and lubricated down below, and if sores or folliculitis develop, treat it immediately.

See also Road Bike Rider.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/24/14-ways-to-avoid-and-treat-saddle-sores-from-bicycling/

6 comments

1 ping

  1. welcome to my world

    Carry on the excellent blogging! Much appreciated..

  2. Chris

    My doctor, who is also a triathlete, suggested I use benzoyle peroxide (acne medicine). I purchased a very large tube of the 5% bp cream, placed it on a large, waterproof bandaid and put it on my sore. It was just about gone after 2 days. Make sure you wash the area each night, dry it completely, then apply the cream and bandage. Keep it bandaged overnight and repeat the process in the morning until the sore goes away. Good luck.

  3. Patrice

    -Ditto on the acne cream, I use it preventively after long rides/touring as one of my thighs is larger than the other and always rubs. It can bleach your clothing, so be cautious.
    -I usually mix about 25% Bag Balm with Buttr for touring.
    -Burt’s Bees Diaper Ointment for after the 100+ degree or wet touring days, no matter what.
    -If you’re prone to getting abscesses, getting an antibiotic before leaving for a long tour relieve alot of headaches in case it starts to form (esp if traveling out of the country…)

  4. Patti

    Have you tried 2Toms ButtShield. It works wonders to prevent saddle sores.

  5. Roni Dorris

    Always wear clean shorts for each ride. 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. Liam H

    Nice guide on how to how to prevent cycling saddle sores. I’m not sure I could go for the 2 pairs of shorts options- that just seems like someone who’s using poor quality shorts with a mediocre chamois.

    There’s nothing like riding in a pair of assos shorts with their mille pad for comfort.

    Nice post
    Liam

  1. 14 ways to avoid and treat saddle sores from bicycling » Biking Bis | Bicycle News

    […] the original here: 14 ways to avoid and treat saddle sores from bicycling » Biking Bis This entry was posted in Blog Search and tagged bad, bicycle, butt, deal, distribute, friction, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>