Why does your butt hurt when riding a bike?
Riding a bike shouldn’t hurt, on the contrary. If you do, it is a sign that something is not quite right.
In cycling, as in any other physical activity, at the beginning of practicing it, it is normal for certain pains to occur, especially in the muscles. That, rather than worrying, on many occasions, is a sign that the muscles are working, but it is essential to learn to distinguish between pain: a product of effort and that which is a sign of an injury.
If it is about pain in the buttocks (butt) when you are a beginner, do not panic, in most cases this is normal, as I already mentioned: it is a sign that the muscles are exercising. However, there are a few other reasons that we will examine below, generally with a suitable seat; an adjustment in the configuration of your bike, the style of riding the bike and with the appropriate clothing – if you pedal great distances -, they will be solved.
It’s not you, it’s the saddle
In this urban cycling –and in all its modalities- finding the perfect saddle for your bike is like finding the ideal life partner: it can be a long journey and you will probably have some disappointments along the way. And like everything in life, some will find the perfect seat (or soulmate) right away; for others, the journey may take years. Do not be discouraged and search until you find, since it will depend on whether you have a healthy relationship with your bike.
The right seat is very important to make your bike transfers safe and comfortable, but above all, avoid that annoying pain in the butt. An inappropriate seat, as well as an inappropriate partner will not only bring you discomfort, it can also lead to physical ailments and even injuries, avoiding them is easier than you think.
Regardless of the distance of your trips, something that you should take into account to avoid chafing, and discomfort in the pelvic area (genitals; perineum; buttocks, buttocks, butt, etc.) is the type of seat and its position (height and angle or inclination ).
But before continuing, let’s make something very clear: You have to be sitting on your bones and not on your soft tissue. This is a very common mistake in the novice cyclist, he always wants an extremely padded seat, and that, as you accumulate kilometers, affects your butt.
It is common to position our seat with a low height, this can give a false sense of control and security, especially if you are new to riding a bike, but not only will you damage your knees, but you will also stop using all the energy properly that you produce with your pedaling. On the other hand, raising it too much will cause the position of the hip to be too high, causing the seat to stick directly into the urethra and all the soft tissue in that region (in men it will bring prostate problems and in women insensitivity in the genitals, among other evils).
The correct height
Seat height is one of the most important things to take into account, as it will help us to have a correct and stable hip position. It will also help prevent knee injuries and make better use of the energy of your pedaling. A tip to know the appropriate height in which you should put your seat, is to stand with the bicycle to one side and position the top of the seat at the height of your waist.
The right seat
Having the right seat is a point to consider. If your seat is not comfortable, your transfers will not be. Connoisseurs indicate that, as in a chair, a flat surface with some rigidity is more comfortable than a soft one and avoids the uncomfortable chafing of the padding. It is true, a soft or very padded seat may be a temptation, but avoid it, because a soft seat feels good for about 20 minutes but afterwards, your buttocks will demand it, believe me!
There are different types of seats that will be used for different types of cycling, we will focus on the urban bicycle seat, it can be padded in gel. This gives better results than traditional foam. Regarding the surface, the rear part of the seat will be better to be wide –but considering that your bones fit in it- than narrow, since this favors the oxygenation of the genitals.
The angle of the seat is also a configurable factor to pay attention to, its inclination is important. The normal thing is to have the seat completely horizontal with the tip slightly raised, but we can adapt the inclination until we do not notice discomfort; Pains or chafing, being that the right one for us (also adequate power on the handlebar is essential to obtain a good position during pedaling and not overload your weight either in your hands on your butt).
Remember that a comfortable position will avoid injuries and with that we will enjoy our bicycle transfers, it is not necessary to buy the most expensive seat but the one that suits our anatomy.
Now, there are also pain in the buttocks and the perineum area that can be generated by other sources. For example, if you are no longer a beginner and your butt is still suffering from pain, it may be due to some of these reasons.
When you pedal many kilometers: Chafing from sweat
It can happen even if you have the best seat and the bike in the right size, but especially if you ride for a long time or for many kilometers in hot weather. The seat, your clothes and the microscopic crystals of salt from your sweat, conspire against you to serve as sandpaper on your butt. It is even worse, when it is wet or it rains flat, because wet skin is particularly vulnerable to rubbing.
You can correct this in a few ways: one of them is to rest from the seat for a couple of days and keep the area clean and dry.
To avoid recurrence, take a few steps to eliminate all friction points with that sensitive skin.
Invests in shorts ( short for cycling or culotte ) with a lining means or other materials -can be synthetic – genital area of the buttocks and, that being of size for you, serve very well coating.
Used correctly, the suede padding – or other material – in your cycling shorts is the best defense against pain and chafing. Keep in mind that when you wear this type of garment: no underwear, use it in combination with your cycling shorts, it is just looking for problems with your butt.
Consider using a cream or chamois, designed for cycling, since they serve as lubricants for the butt, and many of them contain lavender, eucalyptus, aloe, and other natural antibacterial agents that help prevent infection. In the case of women, be careful to use those that are exclusive for men, because some of them in contact with the vagina can cause itching and burning – there are special ones for women.
Carrying a lot of weight on the back
Yes, I just experienced it, 63 kilograms on my back in a backpack –obvious for bi-messaging- they left me, a couple of days ago, with pain in the area that, for a long time, I had not suffered. Carrying that weight for 10 kilometers was enough to leave me the painful memory that the body is fragile and I am no longer young.
It was all due to the excess weight compressing my pelvic area against the seat and that was enough for a chafing and pain on my butt, which lasted for three days.
How to avoid it? Very simple, do not load so much weight on your back so that your butt does not compress against the seat. As simple as that.
In some cases -the least-, you may experience pain in the butt due to something that is known according to Media Graphic , a publishing company in the medical field, as Piriformis Syndrome, which is: a condition in the piriformis muscle , which is located in the region of the buttocks and, which irritates the sciatic nerve and causes pain, tingling and numbness of the butt, and which can run down the leg and foot, much like sciatica pain. This type of pain will continue even when you have tried the remedies that I suggest here, so the smartest thing to do is stop cycling for a few days and go to your doctor as soon as possible.
In addition to the above, an effective way to deal with possible butt pain is: strengthen with specific exercises, squats and other exercises that strengthen the hips and glutes. Building strong and stable hips represents better knee stability and a stronger and healthier pedal stroke, so you can harness all the power of your glutes and create a rock-bottom butt that will also look great in those lycra shorts or skinny jeans.
These are only recommendations, which will never replace your own experience, which is only obtained by pedaling. None of my advice can replace the advice of a qualified doctor, do not stop consulting him as soon as you feel pain for more than two days.