Bike Seat Rash

black leather bike saddle
A bicycle seat. (Image: MosayMay/iStock/Getty Images)

A bike-seat rash can ruin your ride and make your post-workout shower extremely uncomfortable. It also can develop into a sore that can become infected. However, don’t despair, because you can take some steps to avoid bike seat rashes. They’re also relatively easy to treat if you do develop them. Always consult a health care provider before treating your rash.

Location

Your bike-seat rash is most likely to develop on your rear end and upper thigh. Pressure and friction lead to the rash. Chafing along the inside of your thigh is extremely common. If you're not immediately aware of where you may have a rash, as soon as you hit the shower you will.

Causes

If your shorts are not in good condition, you are more likely to get a bike-seat rash. Shorts that pill and wear with friction can lead to discomfort and redness along your inner thighs. Shorts that are not made of breathable material and shorts that are wet also are more likely to cause a bike-seat rash. Riding on a bike seat that is not positioned correctly and that is not the right fit for you can contribute to a bike-seat rash as well.

Considerations

A bike-seat rash can lead to bigger problems -- namely saddle sores. These occur due to chafing that allows bacteria to enter your hair follicles and sweat glands. The area becomes infected, and a painful sore that may be swollen and inflamed can develop. It’s likely to be right at the point of contact with your bike seat.

Treatment

If your bike-seat rash becomes a saddle sore, do not apply pressure to it or try to pop the sore. Doing so will cause the infection to spread. Instead, place warm compresses on the wound several times a day. You may also sit in a warm bath, which will speed the wound along to the point of draining. When your sore begins to drain, put antibiotic ointment on it. If you simply have a bike-seat rash, you can use a product meant to treat diaper rash, advises “Bicycling” magazine. You can also use products specifically formulated for bike-seat rash that contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and white petrolatum.

Prevention/Solution

Wearing synthetic or chamois-lined bike shorts can help prevent chafing. Using petroleum jelly or a product formulated specifically to counter bike-seat rash also can help you avoid this problem. Some of these are packaged to resemble a stick of deodorant. You can ensure your bike-seat rash does not develop into a saddle sore by being extremely strict with hygiene. Wash your bike shorts after every ride and rinse them well because soap residue can irritate your skin. Also remove your shorts immediately after riding and take a shower or bath.

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