If your tushie feels sore after some time on the bike, you aren’t alone. It is one of the most common sites for non-traumatic cycling injuries, according to a 2006 article by Nathan J. Dettori and Daniel C. Norvell in “Sports Medicine.” Everything from the bike seat to your bike shorts can be the cause of sore buttocks. To keep yourself on the bike, preventing a sore buttock is the best treatment.
All that pedaling can lead to discomfort, sores, chaffing and irritation. Mechanics, clothing, bike fit and training techniques can all cause sore buttocks. Discomfort often begins with soreness in the buttocks and then transcends to numbness, tingling and even paresthesia. If the rubbing leads to sores, bacteria can sneak in and cause painful, inflamed spots. When it comes to sores, do not pop them or apply pressure. This only allows the infection to spread. Instead, apply a warm compress, soak in a warm bath several times a day or apply an antibacterial ointment.
If you are new to cycling, taken an extended hiatus or just purchased a new bike or saddle, chances of sore buttocks increase significantly. All that soft tissue on your backside isn’t used to that kind of pressure, especially if you head out for a few hours on a hard saddle without allowing your tushie to adapt. The first few times on your bike probably are going to be a little uncomfortable. If you don’t experience any actual sores and can still go about your daily life, push through. After a few more spins on the bike, your buttocks will start to adapt to this environment. If things don’t improve, check to see if your clothing or bike fit may be the cause.
Wearing a pair of bike shorts can help reduce the friction and wick away moisture that causes a sore buttocks. Bike shorts feature a synthetic padded crotch liner that is soft and smooth. It helps cushion bumps, leading to a happier backside. A variety of shapes, thicknesses and materials are on the market. Choose a woman-specific cut to ensure all your special parts are properly padded. After your ride, immediately remove your shorts and clean the crotch with antibacterial soap and water.
The seat, or saddle, on your bike may be the cause of your soreness. Shape is more important than size. Bigger and more padding doesn’t always ensure comfort. Saddles fit differently from person to person, so experiment to find the right one for you. Seat height also plays a role in sore buttocks. If your seat is too high, you add excessive side-to-side movements that cause friction. If your seat is too low, you put extra weight on your backside. If you are unsure what is the best height for you, get your bike fitted by a professional at a local shop.
Before your ride, rubbing on a thick layer of chamois cream can help alleviate some of your discomfort. Chamois cream acts as a lubricant, which reduces friction between your skin and shorts. It also works as an anti-inflammatory, which soothes irritated skin and helps heal wounds. Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients help reduce your risk of infection. Several companies make women-specific chamois creams formulated for your sensitive skin.
- Sports Medicine: Non-Traumatic Bicycle Injuries
- Rei.com: Bike Clothing: How to Choose
- Bike Radar: Health: Sorting Saddle Sores
- Human Kinetics: Overcoming Common Cycling Problems