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Crotch Injury Flares Up with Cycling

Old 02-27-17, 01:01 AM
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Crotch Injury Flares Up with Cycling

Try not to laugh, because I'm going to be quite direct and frank in my description of this issue I'm having. It is the main limiter to how much I can cycle during my week, so I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have about how to get back on my bike more.

My groin hurts from too much cycling. I found this out last summer when was commuting to work a lot, because I realized first that I felt a burning sensation when urinating, and then I also noticed that my groin was hurting all day every day. It also negatively affected my sex life, and I had just gotten married, so that wasn't going to be a thing. I stopping cycling and that helped after about a week; now I have determined that 2 hours of cycling a week is about where it starts to leave me hurting, but it always hurts a bit while riding any distance.

A doctor said that I have varicules in my scrotum and some calcium deposits. Further checking said I do not have prostate cancer, and that there are no additional health risks beyond this discomfort. So I know that now, but there was no indication whether or not the bicycle seat or another issue is the problem.

I do look to the bicycle seat as potentially the source of the issue for these reasons:
a) I know its relevant day to day
b) there is nothing else that happened to injure me in the groin
c) it came on slowly at first, and when i acknowledged the issues was a few months after I changed out my drop-bars for straight bars -- thereby changing the weight distribution more to my seat, and changed that point specifically from the front of my crotch to the bottom, where the prostate is

BUT, I am surprised about this because I've ridden more upright on previous bikes without issue, and often on old, hard seats without this issue. I have tried a few difference seat sizes to see if I can better support by weight across the whole but so far it has not helped at all. I have adjusted the seat angle this and that way with no results. But perhaps you can recommend me a specific seat that would help with this issues?

Another option would be to get a mountain bike with suspension, but I'm city and would rather not trade in my road bike as I do want to commute quickly to work. And maybe that wouldn't solve it either. It's a steel frame, which is supposed to have good frame shock absorption.

Has anyone else has any crotch issues that seem to flare up from cycling? Limitations you face? Recommendations for me to move forward on figuring this out? Strong recommendations to change anything about my bicycle to enable me to ride more again? I used to be car-free but commute most days by car because the issue is too prominent.
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Old 02-27-17, 02:48 AM
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I've had similar issues myself. First off I'll mention two things that help, and then I'll share two items that got me the rest of the way there, where I simply no longer have a problem.

The first two are, make sure that your clothing is not putting undue pressure or causing friction on those areas. Watch out for seems in the wrong places and other things like that as well. The other thing is how you have your seat adjusted, both fore and aft, and also the angle of the seat it self, nose up, level, or down. I prefer mine either flat, or ever so slightly nose down, but this will depend on your particular seat, and how it fits your particular body. Make sure the seat your using is right for you.

I tried about 8 or so different seats. I finally settled on this one as the most ergonomically correct, including for my man-parts.
Selle Royal - Men's Respiro Moderate

I also installed this suspension seat-post, and I can tell you this combination has been amazing for me. The seat practically disappears beneath you, and it literally feels like you're riding on air, with absolutely zero hot-spots or pressure points at all. Discomfort simply no-longer exists with this setup for me.
Suntour - NCX P12 Suspension Seat-post

I hope this helps.

Last edited by AdvXtrm; 03-02-17 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 02-27-17, 03:07 AM
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You have my sympathy. I've not had your particular issue but I have had my share of problems with saddle sores over they years and it is absolutely no joke. I went recumbent for quite a few years and can say with certainty that, if nothing else works, a recumbent will remove all pressure points. I've now gone back to a road bike because the recumbent just wasn't suitable for my commute after moving house a couple of years ago. Thankfully, the saddle sores seem to be less of an issue after I lowered my saddle a little - unfortunately I doubt a solution for you will be quite so simple.

There are a huge variety of saddles for sale now so hopefully you'll find something that suits you. Surprisingly, I found the best for me was a Fizik Arione which lacks the gap down the middle, so don't be afraid to try anything. Best of luck with your search for a solution.
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Old 02-27-17, 09:22 AM
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At one time I wouldn't ride anything but a road bike, now I rarely touch it. If correct saddle choice and fit doesn't resolve your issue, perhaps its time to listen to your body and find something more suitable for you.
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Old 02-27-17, 09:36 AM
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Go back to the drop bars maybe?
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Old 02-27-17, 09:45 AM
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Go back to drop bars yes! Shift your weight forward.
Interesting you refer to the saddle as a 'seat'
It's a saddle, not meant to carry your weight, but to help control the bike.
If you are thinking of this as a 'seat' you are sitting on it with all your weight.
Rethink your technic.
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Old 02-27-17, 09:46 AM
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Oh, and I forget to laugh.......
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Old 02-27-17, 11:10 AM
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Only time I've had crotchety groinal issues was last summer when I combined padded shorts with my padded saddles. Figured it would have to be even more comfy.

Nope.

The "3D" synthetic padded shorts soaked up too much perspiration and held it. Not like my old merino wool and thin leather chamois shorts 30+ years ago (the last time I wore padded shorts, but with a harder saddle). The combination of soggy diaper-like padding and padded saddles caused painful chafing and rashes. I tried AeroTech and Pearl Izumi padded shorts, but it didn't help. Too much padding squishing and squirming around, chafing the skin raw.

I got some Champion boxer/briefs in wicking fabric, based on advice from another bike forums member. Excellent. I cannot recommend 'em highly enough. I even prefer 'em now over my regular cotton boxers for everyday wear. I buy the long leg style in 92% poly/8% spandex, with the breathable mesh fabric pouch for the boys.

I'm no longer fast enough to worry about maximum efficiency (on a good day I can average 14 mph over a 20-50 mile ride), so padded saddles suit me for now, although my most recent saddle was slightly less padded with a firmer plastic under-shell. That eliminates the need for padded shorts. Keeping dry is the priority.

I put the padded shorts away in case I'm ever able to handle a harder saddle and road bike again.
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Old 02-28-17, 07:03 AM
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^ I reflect a bit on what canklecat has said. Getting away from spandex/pads was the secret to more comfort. A flat seat with little padding and a good cutout helped. For me it was a Toupe. Last, try to stand up at very regular intervals for 20-30 seconds to allow good circulation back into the area.

I actually use Under Armor wicking shorts similar to the above, probably more expensive and no less effective to be truthful, it's just what I had on hand. Wearing regular boxers, etc leads to an uncomfortable situation when a teste rolls off the side of the seat nose.....
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Old 02-28-17, 10:28 AM
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I had circulation issues which were solved by moving my saddle forward ... alot. My saddle setback used to be around 4.5 cm which I reduced to around 1.6 cm. I'm not sitting any closer to the bars than I was, I'm just on a different part of the saddle now. edit: (also needed to lower saddle a little after moving forward to compensate for less sag at the rear)

Its easy to be sitting on the middle of the saddle as feels quite normal but is definitely not good long term. The main contact point really should be just forward of the rear frame so you are resting on your sit bones not softer parts. For me there is virtually no pressure on the crotch area at all. It can be tricky to get right, I need the setback and saddle angle to be very finely adjusted, a two bolt seatpost saddle clamp is really helpful for getting the perfect angle.

I cringe when I see people's U shaped Brooks saddles where they are obviously not supported by their sit bones.

Last edited by gecho; 02-28-17 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 02-28-17, 12:05 PM
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OP, consider getting a professional fit. And don't give up hope.
I had bad knee problems, that dogged me for years.
Finally I went and got a professional fit and bought new pedals.
This combination permanently solved my problems.
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Old 02-28-17, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nachoman
OP, consider getting a professional fit.
I will say this in regards to a fit. Do some homework first and find a GOOD fitter in your area, and on top of that, make sure it is someone who is accessible to you time and distance wise. Fitting is a system based on performance gains made by groups of people over collected data based on the particular "fit system" you are paying for. It is important to note that to achieve the best results you do a base fit, and then fine tune for your own physiology. Don't expect some magic result the first time. I went in for several sessions to get fine tuned and even then still made some minor changes back and forth on my own.

Often, in addition to the fit, the fitter or system will make certain recommendations towards parts. That selection can be severely limited by what brand dealer you go to. Often times fitter will recommend new seat, new stem sometimes even handlebars (width), and pedals...even gear. Don't go thinking that the cost of the fit will be all.

In the end though, the measurements I have come out with are really good for a starting point with anything else I choose to ride, if it's possible to get close.
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Old 02-28-17, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by punkncat
I will say this in regards to a fit. Do some homework first and find a GOOD fitter in your area
Doing bike fitting has been the big new revenue generator for shops over the past few years. Which means plenty of freshly trained fitters with ZERO experience. I had two fits done, and neither done well, so if you aren't careful you're just paying to be a guinea pig.
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