If you ride your bike with regularity, chances are you have experienced saddle sores. In general, these areas of redness and irritation are little more than a nuisance. With home treatment, most saddle sores heal on their own. There are even preventative measures you can take to avoid saddle sores completely.
What are saddle sores?
Saddle sores refer to the areas of swelling, redness, and irritation that occur in the area of your chamois after biking. These sores are caused by friction, chafing, and moisture where the saddle of your bike meets the area of your shorts’ chamois. Saddle sores appear red or pink, swollen, and may have an area of pus like a pimple or ingrown hair. Saddle sores on your groin, back, and thighs may feel painful to touch and pressure, and you may find yourself wanting to avoid your bike simply due to the pain. Fortunately, most saddle sores clear up quickly with home treatment.
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How do I treat my saddle sore?
If possible, take a day or two off from riding. Try to air the area out as much as possible as moisture and friction can increase pain and irritation. Take a cool bath with Epsom salt or apply a cold compress if the area is especially sensitive. If the skin has been broken at all, use an antibacterial ointment and reapply several times a day.
Most saddle sores will heal on their own in just a few days. Some, however, might require the treatment of a physician. If the sore begins to drain infection, you develop a fever or chills, or intense pain, see a physician. If your saddle sore has not healed within a couple of weeks, see a doctor for further examination.
How can I prevent saddle sores?
Although saddle sores are inevitable, there are ways you can prevent them. If you find that you routinely develop saddle sores after wearing a specific pair of shorts, it’s probably time to retire them. Take the time to shower after each ride, or at least use a washcloth for a quick wipe down. Dry yourself completely and, if possible, allow your skin to air out a bit before getting redressed. Wash your shorts with the chamois inside out so that area gets clean and dries thoroughly. Also, if you get persistent saddle sores, use some chamois cream before you ride. Finally, adjust your riding position several times during your ride to allow for circulation and to break areas of friction.
Take care and caution to stay in the saddle! At Kass & Moses, we are more than just a firm of bicycle accident attorneys. We are avid bike riders, just like you. Feel free to reach out to us at any time if you have a bicycle accident question.