We often receive the question from new riders: can bike riding cause groin pain? Veteran cyclists know the answer is a resounding yes. Pain in the groin region is one of the most dreaded problems that can arise while cycling.
This pain most often manifests itself as a dull ache that flares up into quick bursts of pain. Numbness is also a possibility. In many cases, the ride duration has little or no effect.
But fear not — there are strategies you can apply to avoid bike seat groin pain and fix any that may arise. These include making sure you have the correct equipment, positioning it correctly, and wearing proper apparel. We'll go over each one in order of how likely they are to be causing the root problem.
Just a note before we start: if you have serious groin pain or any pain that isn't resolved after a few days of rest, you should visit a doctor. This could be indicative of a more serious problem, and you will need a professional evaluation.
Change Your Bike Saddle
One of the main issues that can cause discomfort and pain in the groin area is a bad saddle. While soft, wide seats may seem to be the most comfortable option for cyclists, you should avoid them like the plague! Like an extra soft bed or couch that you sink deeply (and uncomfortably) into, a very soft saddle is a bad thing for extended-riding comfort.
Instead, look for a saddle that is firm and relatively narrow. Ideally, your weight should be primarily sitting on your buttocks, not on the groin area or any soft tissue. If you have serious discomfort, look for saddles with cutouts to relieve pressure in sensitive areas. L9 Sports sells a variety of saddles to help fix men's and women's bike saddle pain.
There are gender-specific saddles on the market, so make sure you get a saddle that matches your anatomy. Women's saddles tend to be a bit wider to accommodate a woman's larger pelvis.
Adjust Your Seat Height and Angle
Even if you have the proper saddle, it can still cause groin pain for cyclists if its not positioned correctly. For both men and women, tilting the saddle very slightly forward can improve sitting position and remove pressure from sensitive areas.
Adjusting your saddle too high or too low can also increase pressure on your groin. The saddle should be high enough that, at the bottom of each pedal stroke, your legs remain slightly bent.
Wear Bike Shorts
One of the single biggest things you can do to relieve any groin pain you may have is to wear properly fitted bike clothing. Shorts, tights, and pants designed for cycling use tight-fitting, low-friction fabrics to reduce rubbing and special pads in the groin area to relieve pressure and provide a much more comfortable ride. If you plan on riding a long distance, having proper cycling clothing is an essential part of your kit. And make sure you wash them regularly!
Increase Distances Gradually
Like any athletic activity, you're best off slowly building up the distance you ride. This will give your pelvic area a chance to get used to biking. Cyclists should also start small when breaking in a new saddle or clothing.
Try Some Lubrication
Many riders use some sort of chamois butter on their groin region (under their clothes) as a lubrication layer. This can be essential to stopping saddle sores and increasing your comfort, especially if you are riding long distances.
Even if you've taken all the steps above, many new and infrequent cyclists will still feel some downstairs discomfort. In these cases, the only solution is to ride more often. As your muscle tissues build strength and get used to riding, the groin pain will decrease.