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bobknh

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I just got back from a visit to my family doctor to examine and treat a case of saddle sores. I've been riding high mileage for many years. I rarely have issues with saddle sores. Recently however, I guess because of a number of factors - or just bad luck- I developed a bad case. After several weeks of trying this and that remedy, they weren't getting any better. Hence, my doctor visit. I live in an active outdoor community in rural NH. My doc. is an old hand and has treated many cases like mine. Here are some bits of info. and advice I picked up.
- No one really knows what causes saddle sores. The main culprits seem to be pressure on sensitive areas, friction which causes chaffing, heat + moisture + dead skin which provide a perfect environment for bacterial growth.
- Ironically, low body fat athletes like me, because we have less natural padding, seem to be a bit more prone to saddle sores. Hence all the war stories of TdF riders resorting to all sorts of way out remedies to finish the race.
- My doc. suggested that I soak in a hot bath twice a day, and to find a way to add some padding to my nether parts. He even suggested covering the affected area with moleskin before my ride, and perhaps get a padded cover or a more padded saddle for my bike.
I started another thread on heavily padded endurance bib shorts; but so far only one other person has contributed. But heavily padded shorts make more sense to me than mucking around with saddle covers.
- Of course, once you have a saddle sore, or are susceptible, then use of chamois cream, and diligent hygiene, are absolutely necessary. I like Aquaphor, and for longer events, Bag Balm. But both are a bit messy and hard to wash out. I always buy black shorts and bibs!
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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #2 
 chamois buttr when I remember it works well. Occasionally I'll get some chafing and use over the counter lotrimin to quell the rash. My cases are mild and during hot summer months. Haven't had any issues with my Brooks leather saddle as of yet but keeping fingers crossed. Good luck
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Brennus

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Reply with quote  #3 
For me saddle sore prevention has always been about getting out of my shorts ASAP post ride.  Right after recovery drink get out of the bike shorts.  Also clean that area with a couple of alcohol swabs as soon as the shorts come off.

When the shorts in the laundry I add half a gram of triclosan.

Somebody once suggested microwaving the shorts after they're dry.  I've never gone that far!

Never used any type of chamois cream or anti-chafing compound.  So maybe that changes things, I don't know.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brennus
For me saddle sore prevention has always been about getting out of my shorts ASAP post ride.  Right after recovery drink get out of the bike shorts.  Also clean that area with a couple of alcohol swabs as soon as the shorts come off.

When the shorts in the laundry I add half a gram of triclosan.

Somebody once suggested microwaving the shorts after they're dry.  I've never gone that far!

Never used any type of chamois cream or anti-chafing compound.  So maybe that changes things, I don't know.


Never heard of tricosan. I that some kind of anti bacterial thingy? Yeah bag balm is messy but if you apply heavy and close to your ride you should be good.

If I develop a small sore I use el cheapo baby diaper rash ointment from Wally World and sleep commando on a towel overnight


Zman


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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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bobknh

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brennus
For me saddle sore prevention has always been about getting out of my shorts ASAP post ride.  Right after recovery drink get out of the bike shorts.  Also clean that area with a couple of alcohol swabs as soon as the shorts come off.

When the shorts in the laundry I add half a gram of triclosan.

Somebody once suggested microwaving the shorts after they're dry.  I've never gone that far!

Never used any type of chamois cream or anti-chafing compound.  So maybe that changes things, I don't know.

I agree with the importance of personal hygiene. Especially clean and dry ASAP after a ride. Not sure about alcohol swabs though. They can be very irritating to the skin, and hurt like heck on slightly chaffed tender parts. Although it isn't as antiseptic as alcohol, a clean wash cloth dampened with fresh clean water, and perhaps a little liquid soap will do a pretty good job until you get home for a more thorough wash. In my racing days I had a "changing kilt" so that I could remove my bibs with some degree of modesty in the parking lot. But a large towel, while not as convenient or fashionable, will work almost as well.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurichman


Never heard of tricosan. I that some kind of anti bacterial thingy? Yeah bag balm is messy but if you apply heavy and close to your ride you should be good.

If I develop a small sore I use el cheapo baby diaper rash ointment from Wally World and sleep commando on a towel overnight


Zman


Hi Zman - Based on some articles I read online, some products designed to avoid or treat diaper rash, work well for treating minor saddle chaffing and sores. My wife, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, recommended Desitin -- which is a zinc oxide ointment. I tried it the past few days on my saddle sores after my shower. Seems to help with the healing.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh

Hi Zman - Based on some articles I read online, some products designed to avoid or treat diaper rash, work well for treating minor saddle chaffing and sores. My wife, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, recommended Desitin -- which is a zinc oxide ointment. I tried it the past few days on my saddle sores after my shower. Seems to help with the healing.


All the baby diaper rash ointments have zinc oxide in them and so the generic Wally World brand just saves you some buckaroos to spend on other cycling stuff. [biggrin] If you are good at reading labels you should buy the one with the most zinc oxide in it. I have used it for years as on my ultra road stuff like 400k 600k and 1200k rando rides unless you carry extra with you the bag balm or anything else you use is only good until the first bathroom break. [biggrin] 

Zman

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pawnee

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Reply with quote  #8 
I've had similar issues. This works for me.

- Take a week or two off from biking to let things settle down. In the mean time, use plenty of Bold Bond medicated powder (in the green bottle) It'll help to kill the bacteria that's causing a lot of the issues

- When biking, use quality chamois shorts and lots of chamois butter. rub the butter in the shorts padding as well, otherwise the butter on your skin just dries up into the shorts padding. Also, a Brooks saddle will help a lot IMHO.

- Shower and get into dry shorts asap after biking, and load up on Gold Bond (in the green bottle). I swear by this stuff.

I haven't had as much luck with Desitin, etc. but I'm sure it's different for everyone. 

Good luck!
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pawnee
I've had similar issues. This works for me.

- Take a week or two off from biking to let things settle down. In the mean time, use plenty of Bold Bond medicated powder (in the green bottle) It'll help to kill the bacteria that's causing a lot of the issues

- When biking, use quality chamois shorts and lots of chamois butter. rub the butter in the shorts padding as well, otherwise the butter on your skin just dries up into the shorts padding. Also, a Brooks saddle will help a lot IMHO.

- Shower and get into dry shorts asap after biking, and load up on Gold Bond (in the green bottle). I swear by this stuff.

I haven't had as much luck with Desitin, etc. but I'm sure it's different for everyone. 

Good luck!

Hi Pawnee - Taking a few weeks off - while probably a good idea in some cases - is a hard pill to swallow for bike addict like me. Fortunately, my case is less severe, and by switching to better padded shorts, lots of Aquaphor, and washing up immediately after my ride, as well as an application of Desitin after my shower, I seem to have this under control. I've also started another thread on the topic of more heavily padded endurance bib shorts. I'm going to test a pair from Aerotech Designs to day and post a short review after the ride on that thread.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #10 
At my end I have done lots of endurance riding/racing.

RAAM(Race Across America) 9 days solid on the bike
Furnace Creek 508
a couple of 1200k rando rides
Did a 24 hr. race where I rode 301 miles in 22 hrs and was on the bike 20 hrs. 25 minutes

Here are a few suggestions

1. Get a pro fit on your bike
2. Bag balm for me has always been the best even though it's more messy.
3. Carry a small tube of whatever you are using if your ride is over 100 miles in a day.
4. I have never worn bibs as shorts have always worked for me. No matter what you wear buy the best pair of shorts/bibs for the money that you can afford. At my end I buy Castelli shorts when I can catch them on sale.

I would only make a guess here but if you are having saddle sores on rides under 100 miles your bike either doesn't fit you or you don't have the right shorts/bibs for you. At my end the Castelli doesn't have as much padding as some other shorts I have own but they fit me much better and are more comfortable.

Hope that helps.

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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chunkyhugo

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Reply with quote  #11 
I swear by diaper/nappy rash cream every time I go for a ride. For actual saddle sores I have had success using Compeed Blister Relief plasters.
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vride

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Reply with quote  #12 
1. Well fitting shorts with a quality pad that fits YOUR anatomy. Padding is more of a personal choice - don't think more padding helps with sores.
2. Chamois cream
3. Shorts on right before the ride and off right after the ride and in the washing machine as soon as possible.
4. Diaper rash cream on any irritation (no matter how minor) post ride
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vride
1. Well fitting shorts with a quality pad that fits YOUR anatomy. Padding is more of a personal choice - don't think more padding helps with sores. 2. Chamois cream 3. Shorts on right before the ride and off right after the ride and in the washing machine as soon as possible. 4. Diaper rash cream on any irritation (no matter how minor) post ride

Good summary - but I do think padding - quality, shape, size, thickness, materials, and fit can be a factor. According to my doctor, there are several things that cause saddle sores - but mostly the combination of friction and pressure. Thus, a thick pad that might reduce pressure, may not help if the pad moves around while riding, or if the padding is in the wrong location. Of course, liberal use of chamois cream may help - even with a less optimal pad in your shorts.
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7218

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Reply with quote  #14 
I don't use any sort of cream and it's pretty rare nowadays that I ever get a bad saddle sore. But if one starts to develop, before riding I put a 3m Nexcare waterproof band aid on the sore, and it goes away and heals usually after a few days. They are very sticky and can be a bit hard to get off post ride but they are fantastic for eliminating chafing.

Also as prevention I put a Nexcare band aid in the area that I typically have trouble with chafing, if I plan to ride more than 6-7 hours. It's not noticeable and no need to reapply a cream.

I have had a couple of really bad sores in the past and the most effective treatment that I have found is to soak in an epsom salt solution. Clears up like magic after a few days/soakings. At least for me.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7218
I don't use any sort of cream and it's pretty rare nowadays that I ever get a bad saddle sore. But if one starts to develop, before riding I put a 3m Nexcare waterproof band aid on the sore, and it goes away and heals usually after a few days. They are very sticky and can be a bit hard to get off post ride but they are fantastic for eliminating chafing. Also as prevention I put a Nexcare band aid in the area that I typically have trouble with chafing, if I plan to ride more than 6-7 hours. It's not noticeable and no need to reapply a cream. I have had a couple of really bad sores in the past and the most effective treatment that I have found is to soak in an epsom salt solution. Clears up like magic after a few days/soakings. At least for me.

Thanks for the good suggestions. My doctor recommended similar treatment. He suggested moleskin on the sores, and hot soaks. I haven't tried either because I wasn't sure that the moleskin would stay in place, and I hate hot baths. Fortunately, I was able to relieve my sores with heavier bib padding, and liberal use of Aquaphor and Bag Balm. I also found that treating active sores with zinc oxide ointment (Desitin or generic diaper rash ointment containing zinc oxide) after my ride helped. As a personal experiment, I tried to use shorts with thinner padding with the Aquaphor on my last ride. I found that despite the Aquaphor, I did get some chaffing and irritation with the thin padding. In my case at least, thicker padding definitely helps.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #16 
Pearl Izumi recently switched to a smooth chamois on their PRO level stuff.  There's no multi density stuff next to your skin so there's fewer places to rub and cause friction.  I recommend trying em out.  They're pretty cheap on Amazon sometimes.
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Chader09

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volsung
Pearl Izumi recently switched to a smooth chamois on their PRO level stuff.  There's no multi density stuff next to your skin so there's fewer places to rub and cause friction.  I recommend trying em out.  They're pretty cheap on Amazon sometimes.

I am liking their Pro level stuff too.  I've been using them for the past 8 months or so with decent results.  Same rules still apply as mentioned above or you can get into trouble.

I fought them a ton this winter on the trainer until I got into a very specific routine:
Chamois Butter first, put on shorts, ride and stand with regularity (10-30 seconds every 5 minutes or so), finish the ride, get out of shorts ASAP, clean booty with "Sensitive" Oxy face wipes for a quick clean and then air dry, finish with a full shower when possible.
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kgreene2

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Reply with quote  #18 
Something I've used with success that hasn't been mentioned is Eurythromycin topical gel. Your physician can prescribe it. It's a clear antibiotic gel for use on skin.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgreene2
Something I've used with success that hasn't been mentioned is Eurythromycin topical gel. Your physician can prescribe it. It's a clear antibiotic gel for use on skin.



I don't have to use anything under a 100 since my road bike fits me so well. With that being said over 100 miles you need something to stick to your butt. Bag balm does but it's messy. Vaseline doesn't so it won't last all day. I like idea above and am willing to try it on a trail run before my next big race. Thanks

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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