Curious about the treatment of saddle sores?
Like death and taxes, saddle sores seem to be an inevitable part of a serious cyclist’s experience. If you are proactive, saddles sores SHOULD be a short-lived hiccup in your riding experience. Left unchecked, saddles sores can progress into legitimate medical and/or surgical illnesses requiring prescription medications and painful procedures. Therefore, it is imperative to address these problems head-on when they first arise.
Definition of saddles sores
“Saddle sore” is a nebulous term and can mean anything from a horrible life-threatening infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues to just feeling bruised from a long hard day in the saddle. For our purposes we will refer to saddles sores as an actual visible lesion of the skin and/or subcutaneous tissues of the crotch. Saddle sores come in two basic varieties: skin breakdown (e.g. chaffing and ulcers) and subcutaneous lesions (e.g. boils, carbuncles, furuncles, abscesses, and other “lumps”).
Treating saddle sores
Areas of skin breakdown can usually be healed rapidly with a short-term decrease in riding volume or, better yet, complete rest. The area of skin breakdown should be cleansed with simple soap and water twice daily. Avoid hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol as they can inhibit normal wound healing. A topical ointment like Neosporin (or other over the counter triple antibiotic ointment) and/or Doc’s Natural Saddle Sore Ointment can speed up the healing process.
Subcutaneous lesions are typically a more serious condition than skin breakdown type saddle sores. Additionally, these lesions can be quite painful. If at all possible, a complete break from riding is the best path to a speedy and uneventful recovery. As above, cleanse the area twice daily. Although ointments like Doc’s All Natural Saddle Sore Ointment can soothe subcutaneous lesions, most do very little to speed the healing process as they cannot penetrate the skin deeply enough to reach the area of concern. For subcutaneous lesions that produce thick drainage and areas associated with fever or intense redness of the skin, see your physician. Antibiotics and surgical drainage of these lesions can be necessary in some cases.
***You should seek medical attention if:
1. You notice an area of intense swelling and redness around ANY saddle sore.
2. You develop a fever associated with a saddle sore
3. Your saddle sore worsens after treating it as above
4. You develop drainage of thick material or pus from a saddle sore