Sit bone pain

Pain in the sit bones when riding a bike?

At the beginning of the season, pain in the sit bones is a common problem. Sit bones get used to the pressure after five or six rides. The decisive factor for the right choice of saddle is:  

  • The individual saddle width, so that the sit bones are lying completely on top. 
  • The right saddle hardness; if a saddle is too soft, the sit bones sink in and the deeper lying, sensitive tissue such as muscle and tendon attachments are irritated.

The larger the area, the lower the pressure.

This physics law implies an advantage for the SQlab step saddle concept. The area does not - like with other ergonomic saddles - need to be reduced in a contra-productive manner with holes and cut-outs.

What is the meaning of this with regards to a bicycle saddle?

Pressure = pain causing magnitude, which should be as small as possible
Force = magnitude determined by body mass and gravitational acceleration
Area = useable surface area of the saddle and cyclist

Pressure= force/surface area

Causes of painful sitbones 

Saddle too narrow

Saddle with a wrong shape

Saddle too soft

Familiarization of the sitbones

Shearing forces

Saddle too narrow

Cause - saddle too narrow 

leads to discomfort to the sit bones and an increased pressure on the perineal area

SQlab Solution 

Sit bone measurement to determine the individual saddle width

More performance - less pain 

A saddle should fit like a pair of shoes! If a saddle is too narrow, then it presses exactly in the spots where it shouldn’t. Back in 2002, SQlab was the fi rst saddle manufacturer to introduce a system to measure the distance between the sit bones and to calculate the optimal saddle width. As a result, all SQlab saddle models are available in up to four different widths. 

This guarantees that your sitting bones lie completely flat on the saddle. This is the only way to relieve pressure to the sensitive areas in both men’s and women’s bodies that are aff ected by hard saddles.  >More about the sit bone measurement 

Wrong saddle shape  

Cause - wrong saddle shape 

leads to an increased pressure in the perineal area 

SQlab Solution 

Step Saddle with an optimum pressure distribution in accordance with medical advice

More free space - less pressure!

Persistently high pressure on the perineum expresses less in pain but more in feelings of numbness. However, this alarm signal should always be observed. Even if “deaf” means at first that nothing is felt, so it is not a direct pain that otherwise warns us of dangers for the body.

The pressure on the sit bone can be a little uncomfortable at first – until you get used to it – but it is a sign for the right saddle.  For men who need a little more space, the SQlab step saddle creates more free space and is therefore ideal. >More about the step saddle concept 

Too soft saddle 

Sit bones get used to the load

Deep-seated muscles and tendones are stimulated by soft pads

Cause - too soft saddle 

leads to sinking sit bones

SQlab Solution 

SQlab saddle models in different saddle firmnesses adapted to riding duration and area of use

A too soft saddle usually becomes very uncomfortable after approx. 30 – 45 minutes on the bike.

The sit bones sink in so far, that sensitive soft tissue such as muscle and tendons are aggravated. After approx. 30 – 40 minutes a dull deep pressing pain sets in.The sinking in of the sit bones also causes the perineal area in men and the lower positioned pubic bone arch in women to be subjected to higher pressure. Specifically, soft padding will effectively stop the blood flow. It is rare that the padding is so soft that the saddle shell causes the discomfort.

SQlab Solution
Soft saddles are generally only suitable for short distances!

Familiarization of the sitbones

Cause - missing familiarization

periosteum, muscle and tendon approaches react irritably 

SQlab Solution

Regular trips with a saddle model adapted to the individual saddle width and driving characteristics 

The sitbones are capable of getting used to a high pressure load and the discomfort will reduce. At the beginning of the season, or when switching to a new unfamiliar saddle shape, pain and discomfort in the sitbones is normal. Familiarization with a new saddle can take approx. 5 to 6 rides.

At least two days of rest should be scheduled between the initial rides to give the already sensitive muscles and tendons time to respond.

SQlab lists the hardness of the padding material on the saddle. We have developed a measurement unit called SQ Shore, which takes into account the combination of both cover and padding materials.

Shearing forces