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Seat bone soreness

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 4:48pm
by Agillett
I’ve been cycling for a few years and try to get out most weeks in the better weather and ride 40-50 miles. This year I’ve been aware that my left sit bone starts to hurt after about 20 miles and then remains uncomfortable and sore for a few days. I wear what I consider reasonable bib shorts with a chamois. I’ve been for a saddle fit and am trialling a different saddle which has helped but the problem remains. I thought I’d try wearing 2 bib shorts but have since read that might make it worse! I have a bony buttock which I’m sure is a factor :D
Has anybody with similar issues found a solution?
I wonder if just spending many more days in the saddle might eventually help.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 6:29pm
by foxyrider
TBH this subject is a complete bucket of worms! Saddles, shorts, position, duration - they can all be singly or partly to blame for discomfort in this region.

My initial thing, given you are already wearing padded shorts, would be to look at position. A lot of cyclists have bony bums, regular and continuing discomfort is often related to having too much weight on the sit bones (sat too upright), one potential issue with riding sat up for any distance - your 20 miles points directly to this IME. There are several ways of addressing this and plenty of threads on here re bike fit.

But simply the options are, move saddle/bars to give a longer reach, drop the bar position (which will rotate you forward), raise the saddle slightly. It might also be worth checking your body symmetry, things may be affected by different leg length, twisted spine or just a tendency to slouch to one side.

Along with this, an upright position encourages use of over padded saddles - they offer short term relief but not longer distance comfort. Worst of all they allow you to 'bounce' when riding which can cause deep, bone bruising. It can take weeks for such bone bruising to recover so if you go out each week it never gets a chance to recover. The results from anything like a different saddle are therefore skewed and you may dismiss the solution as you are still nursing the original injury.

As a general rule a stiffer, lightly padded saddle is more comfortable for distance and sitting with the pelvis tilted forward is more comfortable for longer distances as it distributes the pressure better.

If you get the saddle and position right you should be more comfortable for the duration of your rides. Not to say you won't get a sore bum but it'll be muscle soreness rather than deep bruising.

I ride a lot but I still get a tired posteria when i'm out for four or five hours in the saddle. (much as you would in a bus/car/plane after being sat in one position for a long time)

Sorry I can't offer a one stop solution, I hope that you can find something here that helps.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 6:32pm
by Ontherivet77
Just guessing but it may be the result of a leg length discrepancy/imbalance. IE you've got your saddle set correctly for the longer leg, which is forcing you to reach for the pedal with your shorter leg, which in turn is causing the pressure to that side of your sit bones.
Have a read of Phil Burt's book on Bike Fit or better still visit a bike fitter for advice.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 8:17pm
by NUKe
Ontherivet77 wrote:Just guessing but it may be the result of a leg length discrepancy/imbalance. IE you've got your saddle set correctly for the longer leg, which is forcing you to reach for the pedal with your shorter leg, which in turn is causing the pressure to that side of your sit bones.
Have a read of Phil Burt's book on Bike Fit or better still visit a bike fitter for advice.

Agree with ontherivet,
Also you say cycling for a few years is this a recent problem, what have changed recently?
What is your age/level of fitness, have had any leg injuries?

Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 2:50pm
by Agillett
Thanks for your detailed replies guys. I imagined it wouldn’t be a simple answer! To answer some of your questions, I’m 47 probably cycle 1-2 times per week when I can so cover 40-70 miles per week. On a good week I cycle in the 16-17mph group in my cycling club. I also do a bit of running.
I think I recognised the issue in the last part of 2018. I hadn’t made any significant changes to the bike or my position and have had a bike fit in October 2017 when I did make some adjustments, perhaps could be relevant just took enough riding and time to notice.
During my recent saddle fit the fitter noted some issue with my left side although on my last ride both sit bones were sore. Your points have been really helpful, I was about to go down the padding/saddle route but now perhaps should explore my bike posture moving from a less upright position.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 3:11pm
by NUKe
The other thing I meant to add?
Do you get any redness in the area , ie is it sore skin abrasion or is it a dull ache? If its the former you may want to try chamioux cream. If it’s the latter you might just be trying too hard.

Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 3:29pm
by Agillett
NUKe, no redness of the skin it’s deep bone tenderness. I like the trying too hard answer

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 4:33pm
by NUKe
I found various saddles uncomfortable and then found Brooke’s b17 narrow worked for me. A friend tried the same route and just couldn’t get on with a Brooke’s, so I am reticent to suggest the Brooke’s route, but it is the most comfortable saddle for me for long days, once it moulds to you.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 5:52pm
by slowster
A few comments, some of which might not apply to you:

- When I started cycling again after a break of many years, it took a couple of months for the soft tissue compressed by my sit bones to stop hurting. In part I put this down simply to the tissue adapting and getting used to the increased stress imposed by cycling, but I also lost quite a lot of weight during those two months, which both reduced the amount of weight/pressure concentrated on that small area of tissue and also resulted in my leaning further forward (because I was slimmer and my stomach no longer got in the way).

- I never had a problem with doing a long ride when I used to commute daily by bike, even though the commute was only 6 miles or so. I think that the body recovers and adapts more quickly from frequent repeated short duration exercise than less frequent longer duration exercise. I suspect that riding once or twice a week may not be frequent enough for your body to adapt to the stress placed on your soft tissue. If so it might be worth doing a few short rides each week on the road or a turbo trainer.

- I think riding style can also make a difference, e.g. mainly staying seated all the time on the saddle vs. frequently getting out of the saddle for climbs etc.,

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 5:59pm
by Agillett
Slowster, again good advice in particular the little and often approach to hardening the tissues. I might have to shorten my rides but increase the frequency and see if it helps.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 6:16pm
by 531colin
I typed (for me) a long reply and lost it; apologies if this is now rather terse.
Its absurd offering advice, we haven't seen you on a bike.
My DIY bike fit guide is linked below my signature, a few people have been kind enough to say they found it helpful.
A video of you riding (from the side) is better than nothing.
No saddle is comfortable if its in the wrong place.
No saddle is comfortable for 20 miles of you sit on it like a sack of spuds.. you need to distribute your weight between the contact points.
Weight you take on your bum needs to be on your bum bones, not on soft tissue...anatomy here http://anatomyzone.com/3d_atlas/musculoskeletal/pelvis/pelvic-bone/
Can somebody tell me the purpose of padded shorts? I find them horribly clammy. Surely not enough padding to help against pressure? are they supposed to help against friction?

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 6:45pm
by pwa
I think the padding provides a little cushioning if it is not too thin, but mostly reduces chafing. It does work for me.

I have always been sensitive in the sit bone area and the only time that problem really went away was when I had a Brooks Titanium Swift saddle that was broken in (used a bit so that it had acquired dimples where my sit bones went) and on a 360 mile Audax ride (over about 36 hours) I never got really sore. With padded shorts.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 7:28pm
by Agillett
531colin, your guide is very comprehensive! It has certainly got me thinking a lot more about my ride position as I do also get pins and needles in my hands and neck/shoulder strain when riding a distance.

Regarding saddle setback, I assume once you’ve moved your bottom back on the saddle to the comfortable point, you then move the saddle the corresponding amount on the rails?

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 8:34pm
by mjr
I'd be checking for saddle damage and considering whether the shorts have got too old.

Re: Seat bone soreness

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 10:14pm
by 531colin
Agillett wrote:531colin, your guide is very comprehensive! It has certainly got me thinking a lot more about my ride position as I do also get pins and needles in my hands and neck/shoulder strain when riding a distance.

Regarding saddle setback, I assume once you’ve moved your bottom back on the saddle to the comfortable point, you then move the saddle the corresponding amount on the rails?

If you are sliding back on the saddle in order to take the weight off your hands**, yes, you need to position the saddle so that you are sitting on the right bit of the saddle with your bum in its new position. ....and also maybe fit a different (shorter) stem to adjust reach to suit.
Any one alteration to your position can change another aspect of your position, so it can turn into an iterative process, but I think its important to try to do things in a sensible order....that order is ...saddle height first, then saddle setback, then reach which is adjusted by stem length not saddle position.
( **However, if you are reading the bit about saddle height and "forcing the gear", where I slide back in the saddle and drop my heels to get extra knee extension at low cadence, then no, thats a temporory slide back for a minute.)