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Saddle Sore...Or is it?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:42 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Saddle Sore...Or is it? Reply with quote


I have what I thought was a saddle sore on my area where you get saddle sores. It has been there for about 2 weeks now and I have continued to ride. It didn't really hurt unless there was direct point to point contact with my saddle. When I got off my trainer last night it was hurting really bad so I decided to look a little closer and realized that it is raised under the skin....hope that makes sense....does this sound like a saddle sore or could it be something else worse? Can you please make a recommendation? Thanks.
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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1371
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:53 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote


Yes it does sound like a saddle sore. You will need to lay off the trainer and bike riding for a week or two to allow it to heal. If at any time it gets hot, red or increases in size seek an evaluation by your physician. Do warm soaks in the tub at least once and better twice a day. You do not have to take a full soking bath but put in enough water to get the sore area covere by a couple of inches of water.

I have attached below an article on I have done on saddle sores.

Back in the Saddle Again: Saddle Sores Prevention and Treatment


Paul K. Nolan, M.D.

Saddle sores can be an uncomfortable deterrent to bicycle riding. They often develop in areas where excessive pressure, chaffing or rubbing occurs between skin and saddle or areas where the skin rubs against itself. They can range from an uncomfortable chaffing to boils or abscesses with surrounding skin infection. Saddle sores can hit seasoned pros and recreational riders alike.

Having been inflicted with these maladies, I've had first rump experience to test treatment and prevention modalities. Their best management is prevention which hinges on a good saddle and appropriate bike shorts. A well made saddle is not excessively wide, provides easy movement of the thighs without chaffing and padding to pressure areas But what about those fanny hugging, anatomy revealing lycra bike shorts?! Having once been a hold out against lycra bike shorts (I didn't want to be seen riding around in a pair of colored underwear) I have discovered the functional benefits of the form fitting material. Saddle sores often can develop in areas where loose fitting clothing can bunch up and rub against the skin. A well made pair of lycra shorts with smooth seams and a moisture absorbing rump pad is well worth the investment in preventing saddle sores.

In our hot and sometimes humid Texas weather additional measures are necessary to prevent the chaffing and rubbing due to sweat build up. An inner pair of form fittings boxer briefs or an unpadded pair of lycra shorts beneath the padded lycra shorts as well as a body powder such as Mexana or Ammens in the groin and rump area helps to absorb moisture and provide a surface that can slide easily between the skin and saddle. This works in the same way as wearing two pair of socks and using foot powder to prevent blisters when hiking or running. Having at least two pair of lycra bike shorts and liner shorts allows the rider to alternate between them so that a pair can always be clean and dry.

What should a rider do if saddle sores develop? If the sores are only areas of chaffing with redness, a brief detour out of the saddle and using the above described shorts combination when back in the saddle again may be all that is necessary. When extra protection is needed such as when a die hard bicyclist like myself cannot get out of the saddle, a small application of a heavy salve such as Corona ointment or Bag Balm (found in your local feed stores) to the chaffed areas covered with an application of body powder and the double shorting can help return the rider to the saddle sooner. However, if there are signs of infection such as spreading redness, local warmth, boil formation or increased swelling, the rider has to get out of the saddle and get to a doctor for further evaluation and treatment. A course of antibiotics may be required for an infection, an incision and drainage may be required for boils or abscesses and mandatory time out of the saddle must be taken. Once these areas have healed a return to the saddle can then be pursued. The rider should avoid returning to long distance bike riding initially, but instead start with short rides and gradually building back up to longer distances to allow the rump to toughen up.

Another saddle sore related problem can result from excessive compression of the perineal nerve which runs just under the bottom of the symphysis pubis, the base of the pelvic bone. This is manifested by numbness in the penile or external vaginal areas thus the oft referred to slang amongst long distance cyclist of the "DDD" or the "Dreaded Dead Dingus". Again the best treatment is prevention. A well made saddle with a padded nose that has been positioned properly is critical. Saddle height should not be set so high that the riders pelvis rocks side to side to maintain peddle contact. The saddle tilt should be parallel to the ground or with the nose angled only slightly downward 1 or 2 degrees from level. Try the saddle in the level position first if it has been ridden with the nose elevated, then if this does not prevent the numbness try lowering the nose slightly. Avoid excessive downward tilting of the saddle nose as this can place too much weight on the rider's hands and cause nerve compression in the wrist leading to pain and numbness in the hand and fingers. Also the afore mentioned padded lycra shorts are helpful in preventing the "DDD.". A check with your bike mechanic or a more experienced rider for saddle adjustment or recommendations may also be helpful. Following these tips can help get you back in the saddle again.

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:09 am GMT +0000    Post subject: My experience Reply with quote

I had what I thought was an outbreak of saddle sores, but were actually underskin pockets of staph infection. I saw a dermatalogist who prescribed a pill antibiotic and a cream antibitoic called Bactroban. The Bactroban cream antibitoic is to swab the inside of the nose and irritated skin.

Before going to the dermatologist, I tried the Bike Doc's recommendation (wearing a second pair of lycra shorts, lubricating the area with Bag Balm) but I still got another lump.

I also had a scratch on my thigh at the bottom of the pants leg line that refused to heal. It looked like a mini-boil.

The dermatologist said staph grows in the groin, armpit and nose. He recommened keeping bottles of waterless hand sanitizer handy and frequently clean the hands with the sanitizer. The doc also said to get some Hibiclens soap (an anti-bacterial soap) and wash the area twice a day with the antiseptic soap.

He also recommended keeping my fingernails trimmed.

Over the counter anti-biotic ointment does is not effective with staph.

Also, I use the Bactroban once a month with inside the nose application. If I find any skin irritation in critical areas I apply the Bactroban as well.

The skin irritation cleared up pretty quickly after all that, but it is important to stay on top of it and not let it get out of hand.

Sanitize your helmet, gloves, heart rate monitor, glasses, etc. after each ride.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:28 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

saddle sores are a staph infection. or am i wrong. We all have staph living on or bodies. It is part of our balance. When you body becomes stressed from a scratch, abrasion, illness or other facotrs, the staph can multiply to an unhealthy amount and cause an infection usually that starts out as a small "pimple" but over 3 or 4 days will turn into a boil.

Over the past 3 years there has been an increase in MRSA going around. At one time it was so feared that if you had it you would be in quarintine for 3 weeks now they just excise the boil and put you on the approrpaite antibiotic depending on what the culture reacts to.

People who travel offshore a lot for either a job or to fish should especially be careful. And don't swim in the Corpus Christ Bay.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:17 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: What about Rocket Shower?? Reply with quote

I've recently started biking to work. Although it's only 20 minutes each way (unless I take a side trip) the lack of shower facilities brings up the saddle sore issue that I've delt with occasionally the past. I've always used a combination of clean shots, shammy butter, an immediate change out of wet shorts and a quick post ride shower to prevent saddle sores.

Lacking shower facilities at work, I started using "Rocket Shower" (an alcohol based spay cleaner) to clean up after my commute. It worked so well that I got an extra bottle for my car and now use it after all my rides - weekend training rides, mountain bike races and so on.

The question is, has anyone else tried this product? If it's as good as it seems to be, why isn't it better known? What do other cyclists use to clean up after a ride?
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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 141
Location: Rivet

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:29 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to be a smart ass (poor pun intended), but I just swab with rubbing alcohol and it seems to work just fine. My guess is rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball are cheaper and easier so people like me stick with it.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:00 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Cotton balls, alcohol, etc. Reply with quote

I've tried all of the above. That program seemed better suited for home use rather than on the road.

I know I sound like I'm selling it, but I'm not. It's just changed my whole biking experience. I'm just surprised that there aren't more cleanup products like this on the market.

I first tried it doing a cleanup in the restroom at work. Worked like it was supposed to. Then I tried it changing clothes in the car. Still good. But, it worked best standing beside the van using a couple of handiwipes. Now I have to fight with my wife over the "changing kilt" and spray bottle when we finishe the ride.

I'm really impressed with Rocket Shower. It cost's $5.00 for a small bottle that lasts a couple of months. It would last longer if my wife didn't use it too. She sprays our wet clothes after we take them off. Kills the odor.
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strohls freely

Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 117
Location: Austin

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:56 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tryed baby wipes from my daughter's diaper bag once.
Now, it is all I ever use after the away rides/races.
Perfect for clean-up with no saddle sores or rash breakouts. VERY CHEAP!
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