The inner thigh is the perfect site for a rash to progress during cycling. Many cyclists are accustomed to the pain and irritation this type of rash, known as "saddle sores," can cause. The thigh area is warm, moist and often experiences a great deal of friction while cycling. Friction occurs when your thighs rub the bike saddle or each other while pedaling. Take preventative action to stop a rash and keep you on the saddle.
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A cycling rash develops in three stages. You may first experience a slight abrasion or "hot spot" in one area of your thighs. This is where you should take steps to cure and prevent it from getting worse. If you don't, your rash can increase to the next stage, folliculitis. This is characterized by bumps at the hair follicles that are filled with pus. It is painful and irritating. If not treated and you with continue riding, this can progress to an abscess. This is an infection of the rash area characterized by large bumps that are hot and swollen. If your rash progresses to an abscess, see your doctor.
Cycling shorts are tight and made of smooth spandex that is meant to glide over anything with minimal friction. In addition, cycling shorts wick away the sweat from your body, another reason that a rash can form. Cycling shorts can also offer you extra comfort since most contain a chamois pad in the buttocks portion that softens up your ride, thus reducing friction. Choose a bike short that is seamless. Any area that has a place for friction can start a rash.
Ointment and Soap
Soap can help prevent a rash from getting worse and ointment can keep a rash from developing. If you notice a rash, wash the area with a mild soap, then moisturize. Keeping your skin clean and soft can reduce a worsening rash. Petroleum jelly, or certain ointments made specifically for cyclists, can prevent a rash. Apply the ointment to any area prone to rashes such as the buttocks or inner thighs, you can also coat the insides of your cycling shorts. The ointment acts as a lubricant, allowing your skin to glide past anything with which it might come into contact.
A good bicycle fit allows you to pedal strongly and reduce the weight you place on your saddle. Setting up your bicycle to fit you well and choosing the right saddle can help with this and thus prevent a rash. Adjust the height of your seat so that your knee is slightly bent in the lowest part of the pedal stroke. A saddle that is too high will cause your body to rock over the seat, which increases friction. For proper bike fit, visit your local bike shop where a professional can assist you. Choose the right saddle for you as well. A good saddle should be supportive and reduce friction. A supportive material, like leather, doesn't give when you sit on it, so friction is reduced. Your saddle should be wide enough to fit your anatomy, providing the most support at your sit bones.