Groin Pain from Cycling

Female mountain biker riding on trail in forest
Check your saddle to keep cycling comfortable and free of groin pain. (Image: Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Although numbness or tingling in the groin area is common, groin pain from cycling is not normal or healthy. If you are experiencing groin pain on your bicycle, you need to check your bike fit and check your saddle for potential problems.

The Source of Pain

The key to understanding your groin pain from cycling is understanding its source. Groin pain originates in your perineum, the area between your sit bones. This is the junction of major nerves and arteries that serve the lower half of your body. Too much pressure on the perineum can lead to prostate trouble and sexual dysfunction.

Bike Fit

Your groin pain from cycling may simply be the result of a poor fit on your bike. Check your saddle tilt to make sure it’s parallel to the ground. If it still causes you pain, tilt it forward slightly to relieve pressure on the perineum. Check your saddle height as well. Your saddle should be high enough so that your leg is slightly bent at the bottom of a pedal stroke. Your toes should just brush the ground when you straddle the bike.

Saddle Design

If your bike fit does not resolve your groin pain during cycling, you may need to buy a specially designed saddle to relieve pressure on the groin area. These types of saddles have areas cut out near the groin. They may look like regular bike seats but have extra-wide channels down the center. Some saddles come in unusual shapes, such as crescent moons and horseshoes. Other perineum-relieving saddles have two pads, one for each sit bone. Make sure the saddle you’re considering also comes with extra gel padding, high-tech fabrics to wick away moisture and titanium rails.

Trying Before Buying

Try out the saddle to see if it really relieves groin pain. Ride a bike with that saddle around the parking lot. Make sure it's comfortable in the groin area. Bring your own bike to the shop if you want to be absolutely certain the saddle is effective. Reputable bike shops will have no problem with this request.

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