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Would an upright posture help groin-area pain?

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Would an upright posture help groin-area pain?

Old 03-28-17, 07:06 PM
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Would an upright posture help groin-area pain?

I'm having significant groin area pain for the first time. (I'm male.) I commute 15 miles a day when I ride and have ridden like this for about 2 years; overall commuting experience about 6 years. Right now I ride on a Salsa Vaya 3, but I used to ride on a more upright posture bike (a Windsor Oxford). I got the Vaya to deal with hilly Atlanta.

I'm wondering what I can do to stop this pain and not injure myself further. My Vaya is already fitted fairly well, or so I believe, because the bike shop who sold it to me gave me a pretty good look over as I got adjusted to it and tweaked a few things. We also chose the top tube length (54 cm) for the best fit (I'm 5'10''). But my riding position does border on more aggressive compared to before. Do I need to think about going back to the upright posture of a bike like my old Windsor? Of course, the Windsor is a huge downgrade from the Vaya in many ways.

If it's not a matter of bike riding position or fit (I know the issue of fit is hard to diagnose online), what are some other things I can try to do? Start riding with a chamois? (I do use a thin chamois as a liner in some shorts right now, but with underwear on so I can re-wear it.) Maybe change the stock saddle to something else? (Thinking about a Brooks B17 with a cutout in the middle.)
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Old 03-28-17, 07:08 PM
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I would definitely get a fitting done, see what happens.

Did you move the saddle over? I would also try that. You know the saddle fits you, so if it does not help it is the fit.
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Old 03-28-17, 07:53 PM
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Thanks. What do you mean, move the saddle over? Front-to-back adjustment?
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Old 03-28-17, 08:19 PM
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Go see a doctor. Could be something unrelated, and you should rule out other causes.
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Old 03-28-17, 08:26 PM
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Try lowering the front of the saddle just a little at a time. Do your commute after each small change.
Bring a wrench with you, in case you moved it too far.
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Old 03-29-17, 05:25 AM
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you could try a steeper angle on your stem to get the bars higher and closer to you. you can get stems with a 35 or 40 degree rise. its what i use on my bike.
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Old 03-29-17, 06:17 AM
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Yes it helps. People have been sitting on their asses for ages for a reason, it's more comfortable than supporting the bodyweight with other body parts. But pain is often caused by lack of blood flow and relaxation of the area. Having a rest or move to an upright position for a few minutes might make a lot of difference, cut outs can help. So does massage of that area afterwards, but that's a bit impractical after a commute to work.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:12 AM
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I have the B-17 Imperial (it has the cutout) and have loved it since before they went onto the market. In fact, love it so much, I cut out my old standard B-17 also. The cutout itself is not what makes it perfect. It's the effect that having the cutout produces. Let me try to explain.

The functional part of the B-17, (the leather) like most Brooks saddles, is only attached to the framework at the front and along the back. This creates a hammock that supports your weight. With a standard B-17, (no cutout) it takes some time to break in the leather and get it to a comfortable tension. It's the "flexing" areas of the saddle that have to break in and soften up. When your weight is on the saddle, the skirt flares outward (the vertical sides of the saddle). Once a B-17 is broken in, most folks only notice the butt-print indentions from their sit bones. However, the skirts' ability to flare out under load plays a bigger part in this process.

Now, let's look at the B-17 Imperial. The cutout gives the saddle far more flexibility, right out of the box. Under load, not much leather has to flex in order for the skirts to flare out. It's really too much flexibility to provide effective support. That's why they drill holes along the bottom edge and provide laces with the saddle. Once the saddle is laced, you have all kinds of control over how much flex the saddle has under load. As the leather breaks in, some support is lost so you can tighten the laces and bring it back to whatever support is most comfortable for you. Every few years, I move the laces over a hole, one way or the other to even out the stretching and wear of the leather.

I hope that made sense.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:24 AM
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I would check saddle tilt first. It's easy to check/change and can have a big impact. On my hybrid, I get the same problem after some months because the same slowly the back over time, but when I return the saddle to level the pain stops. I've also had a lot of luck with saddles that have a cut out.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:26 AM
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You did not describe the pain. So it is kind of difficult to diagnose. Aside from fit, you may want to try a padded seat cover. I know it doesn't work for many and can cause skin irritation for others, but for some, like me, it solved certain comfort problems without a downside. I actually stack two on my roadbike, although tha is a little silly, but works for me.

But first, see a doctor. If you have ridden for almost two years in the same position without a problem, and now there is discomfort or pain, it may be a sympton of something non-bike related.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:43 AM
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Yeah, not knowing the nature of the pain, I have no idea and will not speculate. It could be anything. What hurts, when?
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Old 03-29-17, 10:09 AM
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A recumbent bike will be as comfortable as sitting in a Chair.
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Old 03-29-17, 10:14 AM
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Are you talking like muscle/ligament/joint pain, or irritated skin? The former might indicate some kind of bike fit/posture issue, the latter more likely clothing-related.

Bike shorts with chamois are designed to be worn without additional underwear, so you should maybe switch to commando and either wash more often, or buy more shorts, or lean into the stink. Synthetic materials dry pretty quickly, maybe also you could rinse&wring the shorts each morning, and find a discreet place to turn them inside out to dry during the day.

Personally I only ride with a padded liner under loose shorts (not with additional underwear, the padded liner functions as underwear) if I'm going on a 'long' ride (for me, 20+mi).

For my daily commute I wear just regular boxer briefs under loose shorts. It did take me a while to figure out though that tightey-whities are NOT good for cycling, the seams cause a lot of irritation.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
What hurts, when?
Area just a little behind and a little above the right testicle. It's a low grade pain that is there like 1/2 of the time. It flared up a week ago when I was riding, to a fairly noticeable level in the moment. Since then I haven't ridden. It's tolerable but knowing it's there bugs me.

Sorry I didn't get more detailed before, I guess I didn't know what the collective comfort level would be...

I am seeing a doctor tomorrow morning.

If I am to start going commando with a chamois on the regular, can anyone recommend something affordable that would fit under my shorts so I could buy 4-6 pairs to rotate through during a week? Does that plan even make sense?
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Old 03-30-17, 08:02 AM
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Right, I understand and sympathize with your discretion. But this is a cycling forum, after all, and sometimes we need to discuss what's normal and what's not normal.

What you describe is new to my experience, and I think it's a good idea to have a doctor take a look, just to be sure.

Assuming the doctor gives you an "all clear," then the first thing I'd recommend is changing the saddle. I don't know the saddle in question; I gather from the specs online that it's a WTB Pure:

Does that look about right?

Not having any first hand experience with that saddle, or your condition, obviously my remarks can be dismissed as uninformed opinion. That said, this appears to be a pretty nice saddle with some padding. In my experience, padding does not make a saddle comfortable. I don't like any padding in either my saddle or my clothing.

I don't think you can do better than a traditional leather saddle (that is, not one with the cutout; the cutout inherently weakens the structure of the saddle, and they compensate for this by tying the skirts together, which fundamentally changes the way the saddle fits). The traditional saddle, without the cutout, spreads out under load until the rider's weight is distributed over the whole width of the saddle, even the sides. When the skirts are tied, they cannot spread out, so the effect is to make the top much harder. Some riders prefer this; I don't.

At any rate, the usual advice applies: sorry, man, you are going to have to figure this out for yourself. Do you have cyclist friends who can let you try their favorite saddles? I would definitely offer that if I was local.
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Old 03-30-17, 11:06 AM
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The qualities and causes of these pains vary a lot. I'll tell my story, but it may have little or nothing to do with yours. I had something called achy balls which exactly what it sounds like. I saw my doctor. He suggested the problem was with my saddle. It had taken me a while to associate the pain with cycling, since the pain didn't appear when I was on the bike. It followed my riding by a day! The doctor recommended a saddle with a cutout. I didn't get one of those, but I did switch to a harder saddle. The saddle giving me the trouble was the softest one I had (among several bikes I owned). Problem solved immediately.

The point is that changing the saddle can make all the difference you need.

So can changing the position.

It's hard to know which you need. And position can be changed in height, fore-aft position, and tilt angle.

A cycling friend of mine had numbness in his genitals. His doctor recommended a harder saddle. That solved his problem, too. Some groin pain is dangerous and should not be tolerated, and this definitely includes numbness.

The more you ride, the more you prefer a hard saddle. If you don't prefer it yet, try it, and you might get used to it.

I can't recommend any particular model or style, because everyone is different. The Brooks B17 is very widely liked, and it is also my favorite, but some people can't stand it. For every saddle that gets at least one good review, there is at least someone who tried it and couldn't stand it.
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Old 03-30-17, 12:20 PM
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As was stated before, many possible causes, but I'll share my story, there may be some value in many perspectives.

As weird as it may sound, I recently made the switch to shorter crank arms and find myself not riding so forward on the saddle. My sit bones are more engaged and I haven't tended hang my hip off the side anymore. It felt "weird" the first ride to be engaging my left quads and glute more and my hamstrings less. My hamstring action and compensating with my hip abductors in my pedal stroke was causing me to pull forward on the saddle resulting in "soft tissue pressure" if I didn't make a conscious effort to reset myself on the saddle once in a while. The doctor said left glute activation (or lack there of) was the cause and sent me to physical therapy. It always worked until I got back on the nike.

It would seem that the proper seat height for one leg isn't the same height as for the other. My legs became differently strong and hip ligament pain is where it manifested. I've been to the doctor several times, got MRI's, been through physical therapy, the whole bit..& it was over 2&1/2 millimetres of cramk arm length. Food for thought.

My left hip still hurts like a mo-fo, but this week it's the best it's been in a long time.

Here's a link to Mondays ride (the first with the new shorter crank) with comments to the effect of "We'll see how this goes." As you can gather here, I think it went well.
https://www.strava.com/activities/91...S&v=1490662952

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Old 03-30-17, 12:40 PM
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For me moving from leaning forward to bolt upright destroyed my back. Basically took all the weight off my legs and arms and put it right there on my butt for my spine to pile-drive down into. But if upright has worked for you in the past... do you still have that bike to go back to?

If you're having crotch pain from leaning forward is it possible your seat is just plain too high?
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Old 03-30-17, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
As was stated before, many possible causes, but I'll share my story, there may be some value in many perspectives.

As weird as it may sound, I recently made the switch to shorter crank arms and find myself not riding so forward on the saddle.
I was going to suggest checking crank-arms too!
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Old 03-30-17, 07:17 PM
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With regard where the OP stated the pain was: to me, it suggests the saddle nose may be a little too long and causing the boys to rock back and forth a bit.

To the OP's second question: I have a Endura brand with some blue foam chamois that is almost like a sleeping mat, a really thin off-brand, 5 pairs of Canari gel shorts, and 2 pairs of Canari Gel 2 leggings.

I don't like the Endura. The pad is too thick in the taint causes pressure where there ought to. I don't like the off-brand thin foam chamois either. Except with 1 soft saddle I own. No relief for the sit bones or the saddle contours on any of the other saddles though. I do like the Canari gel shorts. They have a few different kinds so it may take a few dollars to find a favorite. The ones I like are a sort of stiff gel; sort of the consistamcy of a Dr. Scholls insole. I didn't think I would like the Gel 2's in the leggings but I think they are better than what is in the shorts. Sort of puffy and sponge like.

Your bike shop would be able to make suggestions. The purpose of a chamois isn't actually padding like most people may think; it's to wick away sweat which prevents chaffing. Padding is a secondary function and what kind and how much depends on your saddle and fit. The saddle and chamois work as a system.

So, I guess the short answer is to buy and try. Some will work better than others depending on the shape of you, the shape of the saddle, and the fit of the bike.

Tilting the saddle down a few degrees would tell you right away if the boys rocking back and forth on the nose is the issue.

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Old 03-30-17, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Assuming the doctor gives you an "all clear," then the first thing I'd recommend is changing the saddle. I don't know the saddle in question; I gather from the specs online that it's a WTB Pure:

Does that look about right?
Same brand, different model. Quite similar, but less contours on the top -- it looks much smoother. I'll get a pic up here soon.


Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I don't think you can do better than a traditional leather saddle (that is, not one with the cutout; the cutout inherently weakens the structure of the saddle, and they compensate for this by tying the skirts together, which fundamentally changes the way the saddle fits). The traditional saddle, without the cutout, spreads out under load until the rider's weight is distributed over the whole width of the saddle, even the sides. When the skirts are tied, they cannot spread out, so the effect is to make the top much harder. Some riders prefer this; I don't.

At any rate, the usual advice applies: sorry, man, you are going to have to figure this out for yourself. Do you have cyclist friends who can let you try their favorite saddles? I would definitely offer that if I was local.
Thanks for this. I have had luck with a Brooks Flyer in the past. I should probably give the B17 a look now.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The qualities and causes of these pains vary a lot. I'll tell my story, but it may have little or nothing to do with yours. I had something called achy balls which exactly what it sounds like. I saw my doctor. He suggested the problem was with my saddle. It had taken me a while to associate the pain with cycling, since the pain didn't appear when I was on the bike. It followed my riding by a day! The doctor recommended a saddle with a cutout. I didn't get one of those, but I did switch to a harder saddle. The saddle giving me the trouble was the softest one I had (among several bikes I owned). Problem solved immediately.

The point is that changing the saddle can make all the difference you need.

So can changing the position.

It's hard to know which you need. And position can be changed in height, fore-aft position, and tilt angle.

A cycling friend of mine had numbness in his genitals. His doctor recommended a harder saddle. That solved his problem, too. Some groin pain is dangerous and should not be tolerated, and this definitely includes numbness.

The more you ride, the more you prefer a hard saddle. If you don't prefer it yet, try it, and you might get used to it.

I can't recommend any particular model or style, because everyone is different. The Brooks B17 is very widely liked, and it is also my favorite, but some people can't stand it. For every saddle that gets at least one good review, there is at least someone who tried it and couldn't stand it.
Thanks. I will aim for the B17 as suggested. My doctor acted fairly unconcerned by my symptoms and said that I likely had "overexposure" to soft tissue pressure while riding, so he suggested trying a new saddle after a few more days of rest and ibuprofen.

I wonder though, how do you "troubleshoot" the various adjustments to the saddle? I feel like I only know enough to be dangerous.

Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
For me moving from leaning forward to bolt upright destroyed my back. Basically took all the weight off my legs and arms and put it right there on my butt for my spine to pile-drive down into. But if upright has worked for you in the past... do you still have that bike to go back to?

If you're having crotch pain from leaning forward is it possible your seat is just plain too high?
Well, I overall have done better on the Vaya for ease of getting to/from work so for the past 2 years with it I thought it was a good relationship. I never had issues on my upright bike (yes, I have it) but it was not living up to expectations in Atlanta. Then again, maybe my expectations were too high. My commute in Denver was shorter and flatter.

How would you objectively determine that the seat is too high? In my case, I don't think so since I got checked out by my bike shop, but you never know.

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
So, I guess the short answer is to buy and try. Some will work better than others depending on the shape of you, the shape of the saddle, and the fit of the bike.
Sounds like quite a journey.

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Tilting the saddle down a few degrees would tell you right away if the boys rocking back and forth on the nose is the issue.
Tilting it down a few degrees... Wouldn't that just cause me to scoot forward?
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Old 03-30-17, 08:59 PM
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How would you objectively determine that the seat is too high?
Try pedaling with your heels. You should be able to do this without moving your pelvis. If you have to rock your hips side to side to keep your heels on the pedals, the seat is too high.
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Old 03-30-17, 08:59 PM
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I should add that for the last year-ish I've been wearing some Zoic Ether shorts with the linear in place, but I have had underwear on. Maybe this is the issue too -- I need to remove the liner, or the underwear, from the equation?
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Old 03-30-17, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Try pedaling with your heels. You should be able to do this without moving your pelvis. If you have to rock your hips side to side to keep your heels on the pedals, the seat is too high.
Got it! Clever.
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Old 03-30-17, 09:25 PM
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Question: How old are you? My body went through significant changes in my early 40s. Before the traditional plastic shelled racing seats worked just fine any distance I wanted to ride. A couple of 175 mile days, 800 mile weeks. After most rides were not fun. Riding became fun again after I started using the Specialized seats with the full length groove. Now most of my seats have cutouts, the rest grooves.

Seats are a very personal matter. Our butts vary as much as our feet and faces. (Just look at the different seats people find comfortable.) Now more and more shops are allowing customers to try seats for real periods of time and bring them back for a full refund or store credit. A shop here in Portland, OR has a "library" of aobut 25 seats. $25 gets you a library card. You can then take out any seat for a week. You can try as many as you want. Find one you like and they give you a new one Your $25 goes toward the purchase. The program is so successful I am sure it is going to catch on. Go to your shop and see what they can do.

Also talk to people. Ride with folks with real experience and ask them for opinions on your riding position. Keep an open mind. Getting the seat right may take a few tries. The effort will be worth it. Good seats disappear under you and are a joy to ride. Keep in mind it is your butt that will let you know when you have got it right, not any consensus here, not in relation to how much money you did or did not spend, nor on what exotic materials went into that expensive seat.

Ben
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