Saddlepain can be classified in five categories:
- sitting bones
- perineum (prostate)
Saddlepain is usually caused by pressure on above mentioned bodyparts. The complaints in relation to skin-irritation is caused by extreme warming of the saddle, as a result from friction heat. Modern plastic saddles and in particular gel saddles retain heat. (for instance gel is used in many physiotherapeutic -thermal treatment- applications such as hot and cold packs.) This heat retention leads to very high surface temperatures and weakening of the skin and thus causing the same symptoms as bedsores. However with one big difference, being time, in cycling the sore can already occur in less than 45 minutes!
The other complaints are all pressure related. The start of any solution is to determine if the frameheight is correct. Too large a frame will always lead to complaints and no saddle can solve those. Cycling pleasure starts with the choice of the right frame, followed by the choice of the correct saddle.
In most plastic gel saddles, the foam is compressed by the body, caused by the hard plastic baseplate. The foam surrounding the pressure points will harden, causing ne unwanted pressure points. Matrass-sprung saddles can prevent these problems. (for instance the Lepper Comfotech range)
Sitting bone problems are often caused by too narrow saddles. Especially women have this problem. By nature sitting bones of women are slightly wider set than of men. (on average women 13cm/5.2 inch, men 11cm/4.2 inch) Women need therefore slightly wider saddles than men, albeit that most men prefer the same width. The nose of the saddle should be relatively short and narrow, else frictioncomplaints may develop in the thigh and genital area.
Prostate and perineum
Prostatecomplaints caused by pressure can lead to impotence. Several studies have convincingly proved this. Lepper was one of the first manufacturers to recognize this and around 1900 introduced the first anatomically sound saddles. Today we shape most of our saddles in an anatomic way for instance with a groove in the centre, relieving both the prostate (men) and pubic bone (women). For men who underwent surgery at the prostate or with serious problems there is the Hygia Tempur. In april 2006 we will introduce the new Lounger anatomic.
Pressure on the genitals causes great discomfort; often leading to bleedings in women and causing a numb feeling or in the worst case impotence in men. It is advisable to take a relatively short saddle, preferably with a groove.
Pain or great discomfort to the tailbone can be caused by a wrong sitting position, aberrations to the tailbone (for instance caused by an accident or birthdefect), whereby the skin in the tailbone area is very tight in a bend riding position and thus increasing pressure on the tailbone. Partially these problems can be solved by changing a saddle, partially by changing the sitting position or a combination of both.
Tailbone problems are however extremely difficult to solve.
Lepper wants to offer solutions. Your bicycle-shop is the first stop in getting an advice. We support the industry with all our knowledge. If however you are still experiencing problems, please do not hesitate to contact us, together we try to find the optimal solution for you.