The body makes contact with the saddle at three points: points one and two are sitz/sit bones (ischial tuberosities). The third point is the soft tissue between the legs: the perineum (between the sexual organs and the anus). In general sitz/sit bones are designed to withstand body weight and pressure, the soft tissue of the genitalia is not. As such, during long rides the nerves and blood vessels to the penis/scrotum for men and labia/clitoris for women become compressed resulting in pain, numbness, soreness and swelling. The skin on the inner thighs and perineum can become chafed, raw and irritated due to friction.
Cyclists are also prone to saddle sore . . . a painful welt on the buttock where the stiz/sit bones rest on the saddle. This type of sore results from a combination of pressure, friction, shear and reduced anti-microbial peptide function (skin’s immune cells). During long rides, continuous pressure and compression reduces blood flow, depriving the skin of oxygen & nutrients which damages the skin. Cycling friction wears down the skin’s top layer (epidermis) which then diminishes the skin protective pH (acid mantle) and antimicrobial peptide capacity. Shear pulls, stretches the blood vessels in the dermis/middle skin layer contributing to swelling, tenderness and discomfort.
For cyclists and athletes in general, friction from tight clothing can let bacteria slip under the skin contributing to the development of a saddle sore (much like a boil).
The best treatment for saddle sore is prevention: more specifically reduce pressure, friction, shear & preserve the skin’s immune function. When applied to the lower buttocks (ischial tuberosities) hot spots, āSport™ Pro Ointment for athletes strengthens each skin layer and supports the skin’s natural immune mechanisms: anti-microbial peptides and protective pH. Additionally, the nutrients and botanicals in āSport™ help reduce the discomfort of a saddle sore and enhances the healing process. Click Here to learn more about āSport™ Pro for men.
More About How Cycling Friction, and Cycling Shear Contributes to Skin Irritation Friction is the mechanical force exerted when skin is dragged against a coarse surface while shear is the mechanical force caused by the interplay of gravity and friction. Shear exerts a force parallel to the skin resulting in angulation (distortion) and stretching of blood vessels within the sub-dermal tissues.
Keira and āSport Pro™ are distributed exclusively by Katha-Soma Consumer Health USA/2014-16.
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