Seat Numbness

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 08, 2007 12:02 AM GMT
    Well, I looked through all the posting here in the cycling thread, and didn't see one on this topic. Surprising.

    Anyway, I just went out on a 10 mile ride after work, and I got a case of numb dick. I use to ride a lot years ago (did the 125 Boston to P-town ride and numerous centuries) and I would get numb dick then too. Recently, I've just started riding my hybrid to and from the subway station (1.3 miles each way) daily, and for the first time today I did a ride for exercise. The numbness started at mile 3.

    I should say that I've got one of the special 'man seats' with a split up the middle, but I still get it. The seat is pretty hard, and I use to have a really squishy gel seat, which I think worked decently well, but wanted to try this solution. I also found that I tend to have my pelvis forward a lot, and it goes away a bunch if I really push backwards to force myself to put all the weight on the ilium bones.

    Any thoughts?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 08, 2007 2:15 AM GMT
    yes this is saddle impotence. well known in the medical literature from pressure on the nerves in the seat. if allowed to persist will giv e you impotence or limp dick as well as numb penis. i suggest yo con sult your urologist asap for his advice. in the mean time only ride witha well padded seat gnb
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 08, 2007 2:27 AM GMT
    Are you wearing cycling shorts? They help no end! Investing in a comfortable seat is a must, I think.... your bum should not be numb after a mere 10 miles!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 08, 2007 6:58 AM GMT
    Most of my cycling workouts are on hills and mountain roads which forces me to get up on the pedals. I did a distance ride from Canada down to San Diego many moons ago and had problems similar to what you describe (as well as numbness in the heel of my palm). Cycling shorts are a great help because the padding comes right up into the crotch. Combine the shorts with a gel seat and you should be able to eliminate much of the discomfort. The moment you feel numbness starting to set in stand up on the pedals for a few minutes and see if that won't remedy things.
    Happy cycling. I'm glad to hear you are getting back into it!!
    Rick
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    Sep 08, 2007 10:11 PM GMT
    I think that a gel seat would be a big step backwards. How's you posture? Your spine should be straight, and the pelvis not rolled forward or backward excessively. Is your bike fitted and adjusted properly? If you're not sure, you may need help from a mechanic. If the bike is adjusted correctly and your posture is still poor, you may need to work on core strengthening, in your off-bike workouts.
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 08, 2007 10:46 PM GMT
    Mindgarden has it right. You should try to find a neutral pelvic position so that you're not slumped forward onto your squishier spots. That means sitting back on the seat, on your ischial tuberosity (your ass bones) with your stomach tucked in. If your seat moves, adjust it accordingly until you find a setting that fits your body. If you can't concentrate on drawing your belly button toward your spine, you need to work on your core strength.

    When people sit forward on their seats it's usually because it's easier to push through the entire workout. There's no reason to utilize the upstroke from that position. Not only does it put you in danger of developing saddle impotence, but it also can cause you to develop a strength imbalance (quads and glutes vs. hamstrings and hip flexors) that can result in patella femoral syndrome.

  • kew1

    Posts: 1588

    Sep 09, 2007 1:59 PM GMT
    Any ideas what causes my thumb to go numb when riding. Makes it hard to downshift.
    Maybe the lever mechanism at the wrong angle, putting pressure on my wrist?
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 09, 2007 2:06 PM GMT
    "Any ideas what causes my thumb to go numb when riding."

    Stop sitting on it!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
  • gwuinsf

    Posts: 525

    Sep 10, 2007 6:00 PM GMT
    "Any ideas what causes my thumb to go numb when riding."

    I'm no expert on this, but I believe this is due to pressure on the nerves in the palm. I get numb palms after 7 days on the AIDS/LifeCycle. Neuropathy, I think it's called?

    You can alleviate it by getting padded gloves and there's even a gel padding you can wrap your handlebars with. If you're getting numb thumbs after one ride, there could be an issue.

    Have you had your bike professionally fit?

  • gwuinsf

    Posts: 525

    Sep 10, 2007 6:02 PM GMT
    Back to this thread though, I believe a numb dick means you have too much pressure on your perineum. I've only got pressure there when I'm riding lower on my drop bars. Otherwise most of my pressure is on my sit bone.

    Matt47510, have you also had your bike professional fit? Your body mechanics may have changed in the past few years as well as your flexibility.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 10, 2007 6:42 PM GMT
    Hey guys, thanks for your comments.

    I was wearing bike shorts, and I do have pelvic issues where my pelvis tilts forward, so to sit back on my sitz bones takes a lot of effort. I've been trying to do that, but as people have said to have a neutral spine, right now I can't really have a neutral spine and sit on my ilium bones.

    I did have my bike fitted a number of years ago, but haven't had it done since. That sounds like a good suggestion.
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    Sep 10, 2007 8:16 PM GMT
    Bike fit is very important because it could be the seat being too far forward, or angled too far back, and also the postion of your handle bars being too far forward that your not on the sit bones and leaning too forward on the bike.

    Also you may want to think about changing your seat. It isnt all about gel padding but a friend of mine was having the same problem when he got a seat with the hole in the middle to help alleviate the pressure there and he said that helped a lot and his dick worked way better.


    Also the cycling shorts with the padding might help but really its more about where your sitting on the seat as well. AS mentioned before posture is important.

    But first i would go in for a bike fitting and make sure its a store taht knows how to do a proper bike fitting!
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 10, 2007 8:33 PM GMT
    I agree with the idea of getting your bike professionally adjusted. However, if you've actually been diagnosed with lordosis (exaggerated lumbar curve), you might want to talk to a physiotherapist about things you can do to remedy this problem. A properly adjusted bike won't do much for you if you can't get off of your crotch.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 10, 2007 9:18 PM GMT
    Hi...

    First, it isn't a seat, it's a saddle. It is not intended to bear your full weight, only 20% to 30% of it; your arms and legs bear the rest of your weight, which ties in to bike fit.

    If the bike does not fit, then a disproportionate amount of your body weight will rest upon the seat, causing pain an numbness.

    Also, the type of bike may have something to do with it; road bikes or so called "performance hybrids" will have a more forward riding position, which will achieve the weight balance discussed above - these types of bikes are intended to allow you to ride for long distances.

    On the other hand, many mountain bikes and so called "comfort hybrids" are not intended for long, continuous rides where you remain in the saddle. Rather, they are designed to allow the rider to sit more up-right, which by necessity means that more of the body weight is resting on the saddle; for short distances for people who ride only occasionally, this is more comfortable. For longer continous rides, these bikes will be uncomfortable for pretty much anybody. Some saddles are better than others, but it all comes back to the using a bike intended for long road rides and fit. Really wide saddles can cause other problems, such as chafing.

    Ergonomically designed saddles with a cut-away may or may not help, depending upon the shape and construction of your own body... the only way to figure that out is to experiment.

    Finally, if you haven't ridden much lately, then that will have something to do with it too, assuming the other two items aren't factors. Give it a month and see if the problem improves. Bike shorts will help as well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 10, 2007 9:18 PM GMT
    Already have the split seat, and that didn't help, and I'm doing a lot of therapies to help the pelvis. Maybe bike riding isn't the best thing for me.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 22, 2007 2:53 AM GMT
    yes bike riders impotance willresult if you dont usea padded seat
    you may n eed to cut down on the duration of your riding or take more breaks . this isa well recognized entity in medicine talk tome more ifyou wish
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Nov 22, 2007 3:27 AM GMT
    blackwell research

    they make a seat called "flow"

    it's awesome.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2008 7:39 PM GMT
    gasman saidyes bike riders impotance willresult if you dont usea padded seat
    you may n eed to cut down on the duration of your riding or take more breaks . this isa well recognized entity in medicine talk tome more ifyou wish


    But see this is one of the things that the medical profession falls back on too quickly. Extra padding is not always the solution. Fit is.

    As has been said bike fit is most important, and having it done by a shop that caters to racers is the best. Having your sit bones measured and getting a saddle that is one in your "size" and two that you like is next. Go to a shop that lets you demo saddles.

    Also it was mentioned above, that you shouldn't be "sitting" on your saddle. It is not a seat. Look at what the guys who spend hours a day in the saddle ride...usually very minimally padded saddles, and no it is not for the weight savings, it is because they are comfortable saddles and fit them well. One of the more popular saddles for those who ride day in and day out (for instance) is the Selle Italia SLR, which is nothing more than a thin leather cover over a carbon shell. ...and no cutout... I am certainly not suggesting this saddle, just that if you were to "sit" on it for extended periods you would be hurting big time.
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    Mar 13, 2008 7:44 PM GMT
    I get that "numb" feeling sometimes after 20 miles or so on either my mountain or road bikes (all with gel seats). After a little while or stretching a bit, it goes away. I don't consider it a problem per se as my circulation and penis functionality quickly return to normal.
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    Mar 13, 2008 8:33 PM GMT
    Twincam saidI get that "numb" feeling sometimes after 20 miles or so on either my mountain or road bikes (all with gel seats). After a little while or stretching a bit, it goes away. I don't consider it a problem per se as my circulation and penis functionality quickly return to normal.


    But you shouldn't be getting the numbness on a regular basis to begin with. It is the constant pressure on the peroneal nerve that is not good. Have you tried one of the cutout saddles or one of the newer inform saddles?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2008 9:33 PM GMT
    You have a sciatica problem. Stop the biking.
    1. You need to have your seat ajusted to fit you.
    2. You need to perform pain relief exercises...now...go to Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlielo...and do those three times daily.
    3. Your seat may be ajusted 10 degrees in either direciton....try it and see.
    4. You need rest.
    5. drink lots of water.
  • SFNavigator

    Posts: 62

    Jun 20, 2010 3:44 PM GMT
    As an avid cyclist who does numerous century rides and the AIDS Lifecycle ride each year its import to do three things:

    1. A bike fit is the most important thing you can get, and not the ones done at the local bike shop. You need a pro with experience. It usually takes about 2-2 1/2 hours to do a comprehensive bike fit.

    2. Cycling shorts are key. Put your money into the more expensive ones. Well worth the investment. Cheap shorts create all kinds of problems.

    3. Take rest stops, and STRETCH, it makes cycling so much easier.

    I just finished ALC 9, 574 miles to LA, paid $280.00 for the bike fit, and wore the more expensive cycling shorts and had no problems. But on day 7 my right hand did start to go numb and made shifting more difficult, but think its a pinched nerve.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 20, 2010 6:35 PM GMT
    This is one reason why cycling never appealed to me.

    The other reason is that it is very, very bad for the lumbar spine.
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    Jun 20, 2010 6:54 PM GMT
    viveutvivas saidThis is one reason why cycling never appealed to me.

    The other reason is that it is very, very bad for the lumbar spine.

    Not if you have proper form.
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    Jun 20, 2010 11:37 PM GMT
    Pinny said
    viveutvivas saidThis is one reason why cycling never appealed to me.

    The other reason is that it is very, very bad for the lumbar spine.

    Not if you have proper form.


    I don't think it is possible with most bikes, certainly not the typical racing posture. Anything that holds the lumbar spine in a position of flexion for a long time (as is the case in the racing posture) tends to be bad for the discs in the long run.

    It is not a natural motion pattern. The body did not evolve for it.