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Thread: Saddle Sores

  1. #1
    Junior Member LapDog111's Avatar
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    Saddle Sores

    Friends;

    I have been battling saddle sores. Just an area in the crotch where my skin gets rubbed raw. I've been treating it with Aquaphor ointment which works well. The sores go away with a couple days of abstinence, but return the moment I begin riding again. I don't know if it's an issue with my saddle or what. I wear well padded cycling shorts when I ride.

    At a loss;

    Denis

    Any suggestions or comiserating would be welcome.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Denis, sorry to hear of this; it's not much fun. Here's one of the most straight-forward articles I've seen on the subject. I think it's worth a read.

    http://www.roadbikerider.com/injurie...e-saddle-sores

    I'm wondering if the "well padded" cycling shorts might be contributing to it. The purpose of a chamois is more to reduce friction and handle excess moisture for sweating. Hence, a well-padded chamios can sometimes cause problems because they don't deal with friction all that well. In any event, give the article a read and see if any of it seems to speak to your situation.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member LapDog111's Avatar
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    Thanks, that was helpful and gives me some things to consider.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    FWIW: The term "saddle sore" usually refers to an infection in the skin and are treated/prevented with antibiotics or topical anti-bacterials. Chafing and abrassions are something else, and of course are dealt with differently. Properly fitting (snug) cycling shorts tend to hold the chamois in firm contact with the skin so that it moves with the skin rather than against. Some find it helpful to use a chamois cream product to reduce friction in folds of skins or in places where rubbing is inevitable.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rwc5830's Avatar
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    Lapdog, I dealt with that last year and it got out of hand before I went to the doctor. It would go away, come back, go away, come back, you get the idea, a real pain in the butt, etc. I was stubborn and waited too long and it turned into a full fledged jock itch breakout. Never had it in my life, I'm normally very healthly.

    Yes I'll admit it, it got bad, real bad.. I never wear dirty cycling shorts and shower at least once a day sometimes twice a day but once it really got bad I had to go to the doctor and get some prescrip stuff.

    Before visiting the doctor I tried tons of OTC stuff and it always came back eventually and just got bad. I used all the suggestions on BF threads, which was a mistake for me because that just delayed me going to the doctor. Nothing OTC worked long term.

    Anyway to make a long and painful story short one lingering issue lasted almost a year, yes a full year! I found a dermatologist who is a long term experienced cyclist and once we got everything cleared up he recommended I use the aquorphor like you're using now. I'm fine now but always looking out for anything that might start it up again.

    Maybe this will give you a scare or reality check....just do this. Go to google click on images and put in the term "jock itch" in the search and you'll see what I mean. Sorry, the images might be a bit shocking, but don't be stubborn like me and put off going to the doctor. Do you want to look like that? Neither did I but it happened to me.

    I never quit riding the bike through all this

    I strongly suggest you go see a doctor since you continue to have issues.

    Good luck
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  6. #6
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I hate to ask, but you aren't wearing underwear under the shorts are you? If you are, don't.

    How do you wash your shorts after riding? (I'm assuming that you wash them after every ride.) Sometimes hand washing doesn't work too well. I machine wash on gentle cycle and cold water using a mild detergent. Hang dry.

    You might want to consider pre-treating the area before riding. I know people who use a baby diaper ointment before riding.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Your Saddle?



    The seam around the top edge could be part of your problem.
    Try a saddle without an edge.

    Heavy and or thick chamois can also cause irritation.

    I had some bike shorts where the chamois pad was coming loose.
    I removed it and used the shorts without a chamois pad.

    This allowed me to feel the saddle as I rode the bike.

    I learned by riding more on the saddle nose that I had no problems.

    Now I use a thinner chamios for long rides.

    I now use these, Got them for $40 from craigslist.

    Fizik Arione Tri 2

    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 04-22-13 at 04:30 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    After ever ride I shower and then splash alcohol on areas where I tend to get saddle sores. I've found that this helps. And, like most others I use some sort of ointment like Glide or Bag Balm before I go riding.

  9. #9
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    For those who have tried and are still having issues, you might want to think about recumbent bikes...
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    Skin hygiene, has been my resolution.. on long tours I bring betadyne surgery scrub, and 3 pr of shorts.

    wash the skin down there with the anti-bacterial soap,
    and apply topical ointment where there are small infections.

    pores get little bacterial colonies , and grow.

    hopefully its not a bacterial strain that you have gotten in feedlot beef,
    (Or other meats) that there is a resistant strain of bacteria that is present.

    Industrial livestock production uses tons of veterinary grade antibiotics..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-23-13 at 10:53 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    My two fixes, both work really well, :
    The 1st one, my mountain bike seat, no pain at all http://www.ismseat.com/saddle/index the second pic,,obvious,,

    IMG_20130323_160249_031.jpgHPIM0870.jpg
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  12. #12
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Provided you ruled out a saddle that is too large, shorts that are too padded or not padded enough, other physical issues... have you tried using a chamois cream? Before every ride I generously lather up the chamois, especially where my most delicate area will rub. I prefer Assos Creme but they are other good products on the market. If I forget to lather up, I feel it on the ride and will get irritation or other things... also haven't read everything carely but you don't wear underwear under your shorts correct? The only thing touching you should be a nice pair of tightly fitting shorts with a good chamois.

    Also going back and reading... some while back I had a real problem with my shorts... turns out I was allergic to the washing deterent. I now use a gentle wash, no dye, scent deterent and problem is gone.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 04-23-13 at 02:30 PM.
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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    regular 20 min hot baths with epsom salt after rides have helped me
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  14. #14
    Junior Member LapDog111's Avatar
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    Clearly, I am not alone with this issue. I believe this started as a simple abrasion and developed into a "true saddle sore" as defined by Looigi. Right now it has the appearance similar to a small pimple. But, when riding, it just feels like it's raw skin. I belive this began with my Canari shorts. There is a lateral seam in the crotch that just 'rubbed me the wrong way'. I just bought a pair of PI shorts that are of better quality.

    -After learning that it could be a low-grade infection, I have begun using a triple anti-biotic on the affected area after showering. This seems to be helping.
    -I continue to use the Aquaphor ointment as well.
    -I do wash my gear after every ride. Gentle "hand wash" cycle in the machine using cold water.
    -I have ordered some chamois cream to begin using as well.
    -I usually do wear briefs under the shorts - but I wear 'boxer-briefs' that have no seams in the area of concern. I hadn't thought of going without, I'll give that a try.

    My concern was for an upcoming triathlon that I am participating in. I just don't want this thing to be causing me pain during the race. As a member of the "Masters" class, I am a member of a relay team, we have a swimmer, a runner and a cyclist (that would be me). The race is next Sunday, the 5th of May. I will do no riding for four days prior to the race - that should provide ample 'healing' time.

    Thanks so much to all of you for your collective wisdom. You've all been very helpful in enhancing my understanding the issue of "Saddle Sores"

    -Denis
    14APR13-SanJuans.jpg
    Last edited by LapDog111; 04-29-13 at 09:05 AM. Reason: add photo

  15. #15
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    You might try covering the sore with Mepilex while riding long events. It's what we use for bedsores in the hospital.


  16. #16
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LapDog111 View Post
    I just bought a pair of PI shorts that are of better quality.


    -I have ordered some chamois cream to begin using as well.
    -I usually do wear briefs under the shorts - but I wear 'boxer-briefs' that have no seams in the area of concern. I hadn't thought of going without, I'll give that a try.

    My concern was for an upcoming triathlon that I am participating in. I just don't want this thing to be causing me pain during the race. As a
    PI shorts have been great for me. I would suggest going commando when wearing bike shorts; they are designed to be worn without underwear. Chamois Buttr is a very good product to try.

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    I say this on every thread like this: Shower both before and after longer rides. Worked for me and might work for you.

  18. #18
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your sores-issues.
    Over 300,000 miles of cycling and never had a problem.
    Always wore cycling shorts (including 'real chamois' back in the early '70/'80s) and now synthetic chamois. NO underwear.
    Wear my shorts for about a 100 miles before washing them.
    Have not used any creams/lotions. Ride a hard/narrow saddle that is properly adjusted to suit me.
    Have ridden back-to-back-to back centuries and double centuries and so far (at age 80) all is well.
    Suggest: no underwear; different shorts; harder/narrower saddle and lotsa (s)miles!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy/zonatandem

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LapDog111 View Post
    Clearly, I am not alone with this issue. I believe this started as a simple abrasion and developed into a "true saddle sore" as defined by Looigi. Right now it has the appearance similar to a small pimple. But, when riding, it just feels like it's raw skin. I belive this began with my Canari shorts. There is a lateral seam in the crotch that just 'rubbed me the wrong way'. I just bought a pair of PI shorts that are of better quality.
    Have you seen a doc about it? I've had friends with saddle sores that manifested themselves as a recurring pimple-like structure and they were told that it was kind of like a cyst ... had to be surgically removed (and completely) or it would continue to recur. Has anyone else heard this sort of thing?
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    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    First thing that comes to mind is jock itch. If it is really jock itch, then antibiotic creams and/or ointments won't help. Jock itch is a fungal infection not bacterial and needs to be treated accordingly with an anti-fungal cream or ointment. Over the counter remedies are often found in the athletes foot remedies (another fungal infection). Ask your pharmacist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    Have you seen a doc about it? I've had friends with saddle sores that manifested themselves as a recurring pimple-like structure and they were told that it was kind of like a cyst ... had to be surgically removed (and completely) or it would continue to recur. Has anyone else heard this sort of thing?
    I've been commuting for roughly 20 years. I never had a problem with saddle sores until I got a Brooks B-17. I attribute the problem to the saddle's shape. I'm now riding a Specialized Avatar and don't have the problem. But, more to your question, YES, saddle sores can be serious business. Mine didn't have to be surgically removed but the darn thing had ROOTS and wouldn't go away! Thousands of happy miles later on my Avatar however, it still crosses my mind. What worked best for me, and I tried just about everything, was baby diaper rash paste. The stuff with 40% zinc oxide.

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    Junior Member LapDog111's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Over 300,000 miles of cycling and never had a problem.
    Always wore cycling shorts (including 'real chamois' back in the early '70/'80s) and now synthetic chamois. NO underwear.
    Ride a hard/narrow saddle that is properly adjusted to suit me.
    Have ridden back-to-back-to back centuries and double centuries and so far (at age 80) all is well.
    Suggest: no underwear; different shorts; harder/narrower saddle and lotsa (s)miles!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy/zonatandem
    YOU are an inspiration - I'm looking forward to my first century ride.

  23. #23
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    Have you seen a doc about it? I've had friends with saddle sores that manifested themselves as a recurring pimple-like structure and they were told that it was kind of like a cyst ... had to be surgically removed (and completely) or it would continue to recur. Has anyone else heard this sort of thing?
    Yep, I had one removed.
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  24. #24
    Junior Member LapDog111's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LapDog111;15565128
    My concern was for an upcoming triathlon that I am participating in. I just don't want this thing to be causing me pain during the race. As a member of the "Masters" class, I am a member of a relay team, we have a swimmer, a runner and a cyclist (that would be me). The race is next Sunday, the 5th of May. I will do no riding for four days prior to the race - that should provide ample 'healing' time.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG
    315184[/ATTACH]
    -Denis
    Just as a follow-up. The triathlon race went well. The conditions could've been better. It turned cold and windy with a passing storm system in CA. I'm not the fastest rider around, I did the 40K ride over a "difficult" hilly course in 1hr 57min at an average speed of 12.6. Considering that I am a 60yo ex-smoker, I'm fairly satisfied with that.

    My sore spot did flare up toward the end of the race, but it wasn't too bad. I wore the new PI shorts w/o undies and used Doc's chamois cream.

    Again,
    Thanks to all for your invaluable advice.
    -Denis
    Last edited by LapDog111; 05-06-13 at 08:31 PM. Reason: spelling

  25. #25
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    FWIW: The term "saddle sore" usually refers to an infection in the skin and are treated/prevented with antibiotics or topical anti-bacterials. Chafing and abrassions are something else, and of course are dealt with differently. Properly fitting (snug) cycling shorts tend to hold the chamois in firm contact with the skin so that it moves with the skin rather than against. Some find it helpful to use a chamois cream product to reduce friction in folds of skins or in places where rubbing is inevitable.
    So for me this means try keeping extra-clean, and see if the sores don't recur. If they do, they're caused by chafing. To reduce chafing, lower your saddle millimeter by millimeter until the chafing does not recur. Then see if your knees feel ok.

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