Saddle Sores: How To Treat And Avoid It

A saddle sore appears as a reddish painful bump in your groin region or thighs as a result of riding on a saddle. How can you prevent saddle sores? And if you have them, how can you treat them? That’s what we will talk about in this article.


It doesn’t matter if you are a new cycler or you have become a professional, you would sometimes pay for your riding time with saddle sores. A saddle sore appears as a reddish painful bump in your groin region or thighs.

These sores might seem like natural parts of bike riding, especially if you often travel long distances. But then, you can take steps to avoid them. And if you have them already, you can find ways to treat them. But if you don’t understand its causes, you might not be able to treat it properly.

Sometimes, people assume that the problem with saddle sores is the friction caused by the bike’s seat. However, this might not be entirely true. Experts say that there are usually 3 root causes – friction, pressure, and moisture. This means that there are different possible causes.

The sores could sometimes manifest differently. They might appear deeper beneath the skin like infected follicles, deeper abscesses, or clogged pores. However, they might all be caused by similar root causes. Understanding these root causes would guide prevention and treatment.

Some people also think that they can’t get saddle sores except they ride long distances. But this is also far from the truth. People sometimes get saddle sores from riding short trips. That means that riding shorter distances will not prevent saddle sores.

How then can you prevent saddle sores? And if you have them, how can you treat them? That’s what we will talk about in this article.

An Overview of Saddle Sores

If you have any discomfort, it is a sign that something is wrong. If you don’t pay attention, the discomfort can develop quickly into painful and even visible conditions lie sores. That’s what happened with saddle sores.

You might have heard about sit bones before. They are responsible for the bony prominences on your buttocks that bear the majority of your body’s weight while riding. As such, it’s a hot spot for pain.

Another hot spot for pain is your perineum. This is the area of skin between your genitals and anus. This is because of chafing in your inner thigh and this area rubs against your saddle leads. This can cause very painful abrasions.

Aside from abrasions, you might also experience inflammation or have an infection (like a boil). And if you have a boil, you must treat it on time. If not, it can grow and become awfully painful. It could be so painful that you’ll have to stay away from saddling for some time while waiting for it to heal.

Sometimes, saddle sores are also caused by skin ulcerations. Friction from your saddle might cause lesions (small or big). These lesions can later become ulcerated. This means that the outer skin layer would form a sore.

When there are sores, the bacteria can enter from there and penetrate deeper skin layers. Sadly, they can easily thrive there because the environment is damp and warm. If you don’t treat it, the ulcer can grow and cause severe infection.

How to Treat a Saddle Sore

Here are ways to treat a saddle sore:

1. Stop riding for 1-2 days

If you want to rid yourself of saddle sores, you should not keep exposing the sore to friction or pressure. In other words, you should avoid the stimulus. Take some time off biking and put on loose clothing to make your recovery faster.

2. Keep the sore area dry and clean

Make sure you wash the area daily. You should use soap with no fragrance, as fragrances might further irritate your skin. After washing, pat the place dry. 

Furthermore, don’t attempt to squeeze, pop, or burst the saddle sores or mess with them in any way. All you need to do is keep the area dry and clean.

3. Make use of antibacterial cream 

There are popular antibacterial cream options that you can use to treat skin ailments, including saddle sores. They are available at most pharmacies and good chemists. You only need a thin spread of the cream on the slayer on the sore area.

4. Rest well and eat right 

Poor rest may worsen inflammation and slow down your recovery. So make sure you sleep well daily. This will ease stress and help you recover faster.

More so, if your diet is not adequate, inflammation can also increase. Some major nutrients you need include vitamin C, zinc, and protein. This means that you should eat lots of protein-rich foods and vegetables.

5. Consider seeing your doctor

If you have saddle sores, they should clear up in less than a week without treatment. But if the sore is really bad, you may need to get medical attention.

How do you know if your sore is very bad? When you have a very bad score, you would have difficulty sitting and even walking sometimes. You won’t even dream of trying to sit on a saddle.

If this is the case, you should see your physician. And if your sore persists for more than 2 weeks, you should get medical attention. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics for you. And before you know it, the sore would be gone.

Tips to Avoid Saddle Sores

1.  Use a fitting bike seat

The first thing to do to keep saddle sores away is to find a fitting bike seat. A fitting seat is one whose contour and shape would accommodate the way you sit and ride your bike. Local bike shops can help determine the best seat for you.

2. Dress appropriately

If your clothes are too tight, there would be much moisture. If you can manage moisture properly by wearing the appropriate clothing, germs that cause saddle sores would not be able to thrive. This means your shorts should be well-ventilated.

Your bike shorts should also be very clean. And after cycling, remove the shorts immediately. That way, your pores would be clean and clear, so you are no likely to have an infection.

3. Try to change positions often while riding

Experts say that it helps when you stand up for a moment while riding. That way, you get to take a short break from sitting on the saddle. You may do this as frequently as every 2 minutes if you think you are quite prone to having saddle sores.

If you have a saddle sore, you can take simple steps to enhance your recovery. More so, you can take certain wise steps to avoid saddle sores altogether.

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