What Causes Saddle Sores?

I don’t generally get them, but for some reason I’ve been struck down by some nasty saddle sores this past month.  It’s got me to thinking what the heck I’m doing differently and what’s bringing them on.

Saddle Sore:

noun
1. an irritation or sore on a horse caused by the rubbing of a poorly adjusted saddle.

2. an irritation or sore on a rider caused by a bicycle saddle.

The development of saddles sores can be a bit of a mystery and I like the way that Cycling Tips explained things: “When it comes to establishing a cause, saddle sores come a close second behind an extremely rare neurological disorder affecting a cohort of Mexicans that have a gene pool in common with a Mauritian Prince.” 

Well, like many things I think some people are more prone to saddle sores than others and for some reason my body seems to be a little more prone than it has in the past.  There are several causes listed for what creates them, and these are just a few of them:

  • Riding with wet or sweat induced shorts
  • Exposing your butt to longer rides than you are used to
  • Hanging around in your cycling gear for a long period following a ride
  • Hair follicle infection
  • Excessive heat/sweat on your bottom
  • The wrong saddle for your butt shape
I guess I’ll have to chalk this one up to some un-explainable force in the buttocks universe, but some of the urban legend treatments out there are definitely helping me out and allowing me to keep riding.  We recently posted about Saddle Sores and included a great podcast on the subject.  We had some great comments come in with recommendations for a remedy and I can personally verify that they work quite well. What do you feel is the main cause for saddle sores?

  • http://twitter.com/trimon29 Eric Hutchins

    For me it is mostly been Body position and type of seat. I have gone through a lot of seats till I found one that I felt really fit my shape perfectly. I have though of buying a spare because I am afraid they will discontinue it. I also think that the shammy creams are good, I especially like Hoo Haa Ride Glide. Stuff is awesome.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Eric, yeah I actually have some of the Hoo Haa Ride Glide and guess I should be using it more often. I used to only use it on long rides.

  • http://www.lifes2wheelbalance.com Anthony Lussier

    I get them every once in a while as well. More so since I stopped using shammy cream after I read an article about it making men possibly sterile (YIKES) because of an ingredient listed in some brands. I think mine stem from ingrown hairs but they sure do hurt when you jump in the shower the first time, TMI? haha

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Anthony, I hadn’t read up on the sterile news before. I’m “fixed” so I guess it’s not an issue for me….hahahaha. I do need to start using the cream more often now I guess.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marjie-N-Michael/1103981423 Marjie N Michael

    Bike fit needs adjustment, riding style/intensity is evolving (see number 1), current saddle is done. Good luck getting past it! My ongoing issue is hot feet. Gotten some improvement from Dr. School’s Sport gel inserts but sometimes have to stop after @ 40 miles and take off left, or both cycling shoes for a moment!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks, Marjie. I haven’t experienced the hot feet issue, but it’s interesting that you brought it up. I hope the sport gels help or that you find another solution that helps things out.