Riding your bike creates a sense of happiness and lets you experience the joys of life. Cycling is truly exhilarating and with the cool wind brushing past your face and hair, it is a feeling that is indescribable. Aside from the contentment, it is an effective exercise and helps keep you fit and healthy.
However, this happiness can come to a standstill with cycling rash on inner thighs.
Cycling and Chafing
Most of the cyclists are familiar with the discomfort and pain that this rash comes with which is also referred to as saddle sores. This condition isn’t just painful but can also take some time to heal which may keep you off your bike.
But, instead of putting a break to your cycling routine, you could easily treat bike seat rash as well as take a few steps to ensure that it doesn’t reoccur.
Mentioned below are a few preventive actions and some easy ways that you can adapt to cure the chafing of the inner thigh. But, before anything else, let’s have a look what causes chafing.
Causes of Inner Thigh Chafing
The thigh area is generally moist and warm and thereby when it comes to cycling, it experiences friction. When we talk about saddle rash due to cycling, multiple factors can lead to chafing when you are on your bike and these are those things which you might not even pay attention to. These factors can lead to excessive moisture building up on your thighs and thereby lead them to rub together.
Chafing usually leads to itching, redness, an uneasy feeling and slowly and steadily, your skin on the thighs can begin to crack.
The cracks might be tiny but they are highly susceptible to bacterial and fungal growth in case you leave it untreated.
Stages of Chafing
A cycling rash in inner thigh usually develops in 3 stages.
The very first stage is where you might begin to experience a hot spot or just slight abrasion in one particular area of the thigh. This is exactly when one should begin to treat it and take appropriate steps to stop it from getting any worse. In case you do not try anything to cure it, it can lead to the second stage that is folliculitis.
This is indicated by teeny-tiny bumps right at the hair follicles which are filled with pus and are often painful.
If even at this stage proper treatment isn’t done, this can aggravate and lead to abscess . This condition is basically an infection right in the area of the rash and is distinguished by swollen bumps which are usually large in size.
Ways to Prevent Thigh Chafing while Cycling
Adopt the below-mentioned ways so as to prevent cycling rash in groin, thigh and any other area.
Wear the Right kind of Shorts
When you are cycling, it becomes crucial to wear the right kind of shorts. This is because cycling shorts are usually designed in such a way so as to prevent bike seat chafing or cycling chafing between buttocks. The shorts are made up of six to eight panels and use flat seams.
The stretchy fabric of such shorts work in wicking moisture away and thereby gives room to your skin to breathe.
In case you are wearing the real bike shorts that come with built-in chamois and liner, you must avoid wearing your underwear as that helps in preventing chafing.
The best bike shorts would have the good padding, material and would minimize friction and rubbing of the skin. Also, make sure that the fitting of the shorts is perfect.
Check out the Cycling Gear Buying Guide - Clothing: An Expert Opinion
Purchase the Right Kind of Saddle
The wrong kind of saddle is also a major cause of cycling rash in bum area and thighs. While you are purchasing saddles, look for ones that would help in reducing stress on the perineum. This is the area right between the bones which remains in contact with the seat.
The pressure in this area can eventually lead to pain because of which you might adopt a different riding style. This can, in turn, lead to chafing.
One must purchase a saddle that has extra gel padding or has a cut out in the middle. These days, comfort saddles come in various sizes and shape like ring-shaped saddles, noseless saddles and much more. A good saddle would be supportive and would effectively reduce friction.
The saddle must also be wide enough as per your anatomy in order to provide support. Test and try out different ones before you actually purchase one.
Fit of the Bike
When the fit of the bike is proper, it gives you the freedom to pedal strongly and also alleviate the weight that is being placed on the saddle. As mentioned above, the fit of the saddle is essential and similarly fit of the bike is equally important. This can help in preventing chafing or rashes.
The seat’s height must be adjusted in such a way so that the knee is only bent slightly during the pedal stroke’s lowest part.
A saddle that has been placed way too high can lead to the body rocking over the seat that enhances the friction. To get your bike fitted properly, you can consider visiting the local bike shop where you can take the help of a professional.
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Most of the cyclists have found out that lubricants like creams and lotions can go a long way towards preventing bike seat chafing. If you feel that the shorts, saddle and the fit of your bike aren’t enough to prevent chafing in the inner thighs, the lubricant would prove to be useful.
These days, there are various types of lubricants available that are specifically created to stop chafing in the groin area. These help in alleviating friction, preventing any kind of bacterial growth and making your ride more comfortable and enjoyable.
Another great option is to apply a very light coat of shea butter and petroleum jelly on the delicate parts of the body just before you head out to ride. This would help in reducing the friction in the area caused by the bike seat or the cycling shorts.
Diaper rash ointments also work wonderfully in keeping the skin dry and clean and can be applied after the ride. They also heal irritated areas which if not taken care of can later aggravate.
Cycling Chafing Treatment
Mentioned below are few cycling chafing vaseline and other treatment options that can easily be adopted.
Follow these measures to cure and heal skin chafing.
Keep the Area Clean and Dry
When you are experiencing inner thigh pain when cycling, it is crucial that you keep the area absolutely dry and clean.
This must be done until the irritation and pain subside. The inner thigh skin must be washed on a daily basis to remove any kind of dirt, bacteria, and sweat.
Consider using a 50-50 part water and part white vinegar soak so as to kill any kind of bacteria which might be present. Soak for ten minutes, rinse the area well and make sure that the skin is absolutely dry. An over-the-counter ointment containing zinc oxide can also help speedup up the healing process and would also provide some relief to the inflammation, redness, and itching.
Also, soap can stop the rash from worsening.
Therefore, as soon as you notice a mild rash, wash it well with mild soap and then moisturize. By keeping the skin clean and moisturized properly at all times, you can stop the chafing from increasing.
Change your Position of Riding
While enjoying a ride on your bike, if you ever feel that the bike seat or cycling shorts is almost chewing up your backside, it would be best to change the position of your riding.
Consider standing up and pedaling for some time or moving yourself either closer front or farther back from the seat. You could also shift your weight from the saddle’s one side to the other.
If you are in the middle of your ride, this is perhaps the only way for instant relief. If you are the middle of such a situation, you have to be brave and bear it for as long as you possibly can.
As soon as you get back home, follow the treatment option mentioned above and also take into consideration the preventive measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Specific Strategies for Women
When it comes to bike chafing in females especially in the genital area, it can be excessively painful. Women could consider including yogurt in their diet so as to eliminate any kind of yeast infections. In case you are ovulating or had sex, tampons would help alleviate the moisture in the area.
Once you are done cycling, consider wearing tennis skirts that come with soft and comfortable undershorts that are built-in.
This way, you wouldn’t be required wearing underpants and it would give you a much-needed break from the annoyance that is caused because of the seams.
It is always a good idea to avoid wearing underwear or underpants beneath your cycling shorts. It can go a long way to avoid chafing in the inner thighs. This is due to biking shorts generally being made to act as your second skin and prevent movement on the seat when you ride around.
However, underwear isn’t designed that way. Make sure that the skin is at all times absolutely clean, dry and moisturized to help prevent the growth of bacteria on the moist skin.
Follow all the above-mentioned options and you are sure to notice positive results expeditiously.
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