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Strategies for dealing with Saddle Sores?

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Strategies for dealing with Saddle Sores?

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Old 07-14-07, 01:20 PM
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TrackGuy
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Strategies for dealing with Saddle Sores?

Ouch
I checked this one on the Road forum, they didn't really have too much insite...

I commute everyday 10~12 miles each way depending on the route. Since last December when I upped the ante to everyday from 3Xweek, I've been plagued with Saddle Sores. I've tried Lycra shorts... Cotton Shorts... My Doctor prescribed wool cycling shorts, as soon as I figure out how to charge a pair to my flexible medical account, I'll get a pair Switched Saddles... I take a shower when I get to work and again when I get home. I've used Hibiclens, Gold Bond Powder, Clearasil, Neosporin, alone and in combination. I've used Bag Balm (Udderly Delightful!), Butt Buttr and nothing at all. I've shaved butt fluff, Naired it and left it alone (Apologies if that last one is too personal). I hang my clothes up to dry out in my office while at work.

And yet I'm cursed.

What am I missing? Any suggestions? Strategies for avoiding them in the first place? A variety of saddles in rotation? Soak the affected area in Epsom Salts? A fresh set of clothes for the ride home? Do Blister Avoidance Strategies of Ultra Runners apply here?
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Old 07-14-07, 01:36 PM
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Here's my own personal experience. I have never tried shaving or using nair on the places that get sore.

I found that using moisturizing soap (dove is what we have) only in that area made me not get sores but I have since switched to mainly using Dial antibacterial soap since it helps me and my clothes be less smelly.

I use some vaseline brand "waterproof" moisturizing lotion-- I put plenty on after I shower (which is when the area in question got demoisturized by my soap) and then I'm good to go.

The moisturizing soap strategy had worked for me when I was on the bike for ~7 hours per day as a bike messenger, although I suspect the lotion thing would have worked even better.

These days I also prefer a narrow saddle with no center channel, for what it's worth. I ride in cotton shorts and cotton underwear, 2 hours of riding on a normal weekday. I think wearing synthetic (bike) shorts would be better but my current strategy works so I'm not buying new stuff right now.
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Old 07-14-07, 01:43 PM
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How many saddle sores are we talking about? Are you literally covered in them? ew!
Or is it an occasional thing? I still get them from time to time?
Care to share where they occur? Mine generally are where my rear meets my thigh.
Are you a clyde or skinny?
You seem to have tried everything I would have suggested. Consequently I am attempting to see if there is any info that may help us help you.
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Old 07-14-07, 01:51 PM
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Can't help it. Gotta say it. Get a Brooks.

Creams, unguents, salves, udder budder, and shaving ( a sure-fire way to aquire in-grown hairs/sores) are all laughable to me. Many people find that they can ride a Brooks without any bike shorts, although I use lycra for recreational rides. Those rides include frequent 70 milers. Some poly underwear with plain cotton Carhart shorts for riding to work.

As a person who rides hard and sweats alot, I can't imagine grinding myself into bacteria-rich cotton on a long country ride. Cotton stays wet. Poly passes moisture away from the body. So does a Brooks saddle. A synthetic saddle will not wick away sweat. You sound like a perfect reason to go Brooks.
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Old 07-14-07, 01:52 PM
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Stand on the pedals when you're not braking.
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Old 07-14-07, 02:29 PM
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1) Skinny (70Kg/155#).
2) Usually one or two at any given time.
3) Two hot spots - thigh meets groin and edge of saddle.

Haven't yet tried the anti-bacterial + moisturizer shower combo yet, will give that one a go and see what happens. T-Y.

Just to clarify, by "some vaseline brand waterproof moisturizing lotion" you mean something along the lines of "Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion", not a petroleum jelly based product like Bag Balm or A&D...

Just switched saddles (again) from a Saddleco Flow (http://www.saddleco.com/flowmain.html) which I found extraordinarily uncomfortable unlike the über comfy Herman Miller Aeron office chair that it is trying to emulate, to a Selle Italia SLR Gel Flow (leather covered). A Brooks is next on the list if the SI doesn't work out.

Ibex or Woolistic shorts are a bit out of my price range for daily commuting at the moment, any one have experience with merino wool underwear under cotton shorts?

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Old 07-14-07, 03:30 PM
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+1 for Brooks. It's worth it.
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Old 07-14-07, 03:43 PM
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How do Brooks hold up in rain? My usual ride is a fenderless fix.
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Old 07-14-07, 04:10 PM
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I ride to work 5 days a week, year round, with a 22 mile daily roundtrip. I have had less than 5 saddle sores in the past 2 years. I attribute this to the Brooks I ride on and polypro underwear or nylon running pants--both wick well. This summer I have been using A & D Ointment--my skin was getting a bit dried out from all the summer sweat and it helps keeps things smooth and supple.

As far as the Brooks and rain, I ride with fenders but I never left rain stop me from riding. I wouldn't let the Brooks sit out in the rain to get soaked and then ride it--might stretch it too much.
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Old 07-14-07, 04:16 PM
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#1 Stand often to facilitate circulation, this is very important to those more prone saddle sores.
Don't shave - you're increasing friction.
I hear petroleum jelly products do the exact opposite of what you want by softening the skin. I haven't used them in a long time. Actually what I use now is generic Desetin (the diaper rash stuff), but I'm going to try powder when my tubes run out.
As an extra precaution, I clean up with an antibacterial wet one at lunch time then stand there in the stall like an idiot till I air dry completely.
There's also saddle position to consider, and as you've noticed, tons of people swear by the Brooks saddles. Hope I can afford one someday.
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Old 07-14-07, 05:08 PM
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Understand that leather, and leather-covered are two completely different designs. There is very little to be gained over a synthetic cover when using leather-covered. The reason thick hide blank wicks so well is because there is no backing. The gage of leather is it's own support, as well as being the factor behind it's ability to custom fit the rider, thus providing another anti-chafing attribute. Brooks saddles, along with Ideale, and other makers like Selle Anatomica are all leather. The pores in the hide go thru to the other side. They are said to breathe. Even Brooks describes it this way, but it is an incorrect descriptor. They wick - very much like the chamois you might use to dry your car (or bike). A saddle with a leather cover, or a synthetic, can't do that. So, you chafe.

Brooks saddles in the rain:
Not a good idea to leave one uncovered while the bike is parked. Some people do, seemingly with no ill effects. Bekologist and I both live and ride in the same area. That being Seattle, other wise known as the Home Of The Washington State Fighting Slugs. Suckers grow eight feet long around here and have driven all the rattlesnakes over the Cascades to dryer environs. Beko leaves his out all the time - I don't. We both know what we're about. I just use a plastic grocery bag stuffed under the saddle when I'm riding. Handy to pull out and tie ove the saddle when I need to park it.

Waterproofing a leather saddle:
If you water proof the saddle it won't wick. So, don' try to. Besides, about the only thing that really will waterproof it is silicone. Very bad idea. Good for jackets and purses to prevent stains, but you don't want to seal the pores with silicones. A saddle is working leather. There are many good, and not so good treatments for the purpose. I just use SnoSeal on the bottom side only. The bag for the top when parked.
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Old 07-14-07, 05:33 PM
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Clean shorts every day
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Old 07-14-07, 05:45 PM
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Assos chamois creme has done a great job for me. It includes some stuff that kills and inhibits bacteria. Once I started using it I noticed a big improvement.
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Old 07-14-07, 05:51 PM
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I didn't find that brooks helped me. Seems to work for many others and may be worth a shot.
I tend to get saddle sores when my mileage exceeds 300 a week. I really should use my chamois cream more often.
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Old 07-14-07, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TrackGuy
3) Two hot spots - thigh meets groin and edge of saddle.
That's the give away mate - it's your saddle and no, you don't have to fork out for a Brooks to fix it.

I ride one of the modern platform saddles (well, I will be until my new Brooks turns up in the post ) and I too get that sore on the edge of the saddle. I also ride a bike from the eighties with the original saddle - again, it's plastic over plastic, but it's the old style with the deep sides. Guess what, no problems at all with that old style saddle. It's the platform shape of the modern saddles that is giving you grief.

So first, consider buying a Brooks for the shape, it's ability to mould to your shape and it's ability to breathe. However, I understand that it's a big step to take (expensive darned things here in Oz), so have a hunt around for a saddle with the deeper sides of the old style saddles. I think you'll find that this will remove that pressure point at the edge of the saddle and your sores will disappear (or decrease) with it.

Richard
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Old 07-14-07, 07:06 PM
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I use clean clothes everyday, just not every ride. Change into work duds after a shower but recycle the morning's bike clothes for the trip home, which get hung up to dry out in a discrete area of my office. Will try a fresh pair of knickers for the ride home.

My commute is mostly through Manhattan .'. lots of opportunity for standing around at red lights while waiting for the traffic to clear.

re: leather v leather covered
got it.

I had an all leather saddle (not a Brooks) while in college, rode in a rain storm and it took on a rather odd and uncomfortable shape. Then was lucky enough for a real Brooks for birthday present one year, honestly I don't know what happened to it :-(
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Old 07-14-07, 10:44 PM
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I used to have problems with saddle sores. I always got one in one particular spot. Now, before every ride, I use some alcohol based hand sanitizer and rub it into my crotch. I let this dry, then place a small amount of Bacitaracin on the area where I always get the sore. I've not had a saddle sore since. I usually wear my shorts two or three times, but after I remove them, I spray them with a small spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol does a great job of killing bacteria.
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Old 07-14-07, 11:22 PM
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Know one person that uses prep H (not there...lol). Anyhoo here's a few links on the subject:
http://www.roadbikerider.com/articles.htm#How to Solve Saddle Sores
http://www.bikingbis.com/blog/_archi...3/2920762.html
http://www.ghc.org/cycling/gearAndFi...10NJJCISQ3SHPQ

You need to look at where you are getting the sores and what may be causing them. Sometimes it's rubbing against the saddle and/or it's adjustment is off or the saddle is either too small or too big for your body. Bacteria/mold/mildew may be present in your saddle and it needs to be cleaned often with the appropiate products...you clean and dry everything else, so why not your saddle too?. Clothing material and/or seams can irritate or rub against your skin, so you may have to buy/try several brands/styles.
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Old 07-14-07, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by rule
Assos chamois creme has done a great job for me. It includes some stuff that kills and inhibits bacteria. Once I started using it I noticed a big improvement.

+1. I use this on the my ride home (13 miles) when its hot out. It really makes a difference and its got menthol or something in it that makes everything cool and tingly.
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Old 07-15-07, 05:53 PM
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Gold Bond Powder has menthol, gives you the same tingly effect.

Lots of good information here, thanks everyone.
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Old 07-15-07, 06:17 PM
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When I shower after rides I use Oxy acne scrub.

I also use smooth ride anti-chafe cream from www.unconmed.com

This contains teat tree and peppermint oil for anti-bacterial treatment.

If you use bag balm, you can also mix it with monistat 7 (anti-fungal) and a cortisone cream (will dry out the saddle sore).
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Old 07-15-07, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pityr
+1. I use this on the my ride home (13 miles) when its hot out. It really makes a difference and its got menthol or something in it that makes everything cool and tingly.
It's like your ass just smoked a menthol.

That stuff is amazing. I actually put it on a saddle sore that spent weeks trying to get ride of with other treatments, and putting a dab of Assos chamois creme on morning and evening got rid of the thing in three days!

It's awesome stuff. Much better than any other chamois creme.

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Old 07-18-07, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TrackGuy View Post
Ouch
I checked this one on the Road forum, they didn't really have too much insite...

I commute everyday 10~12 miles each way depending on the route. Since last December when I upped the ante to everyday from 3Xweek, I've been plagued with Saddle Sores. I've tried Lycra shorts... Cotton Shorts... My Doctor prescribed wool cycling shorts, as soon as I figure out how to charge a pair to my flexible medical account, I'll get a pair Switched Saddles... I take a shower when I get to work and again when I get home. I've used Hibiclens, Gold Bond Powder, Clearasil, Neosporin, alone and in combination. I've used Bag Balm (Udderly Delightful!), Butt Buttr and nothing at all. I've shaved butt fluff, Naired it and left it alone (Apologies if that last one is too personal). I hang my clothes up to dry out in my office while at work.

And yet I'm cursed.

What am I missing? Any suggestions? Strategies for avoiding them in the first place? A variety of saddles in rotation? Soak the affected area in Epsom Salts? A fresh set of clothes for the ride home? Do Blister Avoidance Strategies of Ultra Runners apply here?
Well here's my 2 cents worth. You've gotten some really good advice already. Maybe I can enhance it as well.

I was getting increased pain and saddle sores as I upped my mileage this spring. I was doing shorts changes, saddle fitting, saddle changes. I learned that proper fit can help any saddle and getting that fit is not obvious. I thought I had it nailed and blamed shorts and saddles. I was wrong. I got a Brooks like all the hardcore guys tell you to do. Within two weeks I had the worst saddle sores I have ever had. I read a fitting article put out by Selle An-atomica and applied the principles to the Brooks. The Brooks will punish you if its not right. The adjustments allowed me to ride a century with the brooks without sores, whereas I had suffered enormously on much shorter rides before doing the fine fitting adjustments. HOWEVER, the brooks never got comfortable and I was too impatient to wait for the magic breakin.

I always got a sore along the left side of my groin. I learned that rotating the saddle every so slightly away from my left side took care of this problem on all saddles. I am apparently asymmetrical.

Lowering the saddle height helped comfort on all saddles. I had them all set too high, thanks to an aggressive fitter at a local bike shop.

Moving the saddle forward and raising the nose helped me get back on my sit bones. I was apparently riding the nose on all the saddles.

Other tips:
Diaper rash ointment really speeded the healing of the sore. Get the 40% zinc oxide variety, not the 15%.

Sitting on an ice pack helps with general soreness.

cut back on your mileage or don't ride for 3-4 days

I use Crotchguard skin care oil. I think its anti-bacterial qualities might be similar to the assos cream. Its expensive stuff but not when you count how many applications you get out of one bottle. It seems like the more you sweat the better it works and it doesn't get absorbed by the Chamois. It seems to keep sores from coming back, once you are healed up.

I hope this helps and wish you well.

Bob
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Old 07-18-07, 10:43 AM
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Some good advice here, although I hesitate to say that creams and whatnot might help - unless they're medicated for sores, I guess. I find some standard everyday baby-powder takes care of most irritation on sensitive regions caused by cycling. The talc absorbs excess moisture and sweat - moisturizing creams will likely make the problem worse, based on the idea that due to the workout you're getting I doubt there's a lack of moisture in areas like where you're connecting with the seat.
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Old 07-18-07, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wrobertdavis View Post
Lowering the saddle height helped comfort on all saddles. I had them all set too high, thanks to an aggressive fitter at a local bike shop.
+1 on the saddle height. I find if I raise my saddle up to where it should be, according to most mathmatical formulas I've seen, I get terrible saddle sores. I lower it 1/2 to 3/4" and instant relief. I think it may either be due to slight rocking of the hips ,or possibly due to not as much weight being supported by the legs during pedaling.
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