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Saddle - Poor fit affects

DizeeeDizeee Posts: 337
edited June 2016 in Road general
After around 12 months of what has been quite serious back issues, I am now back on my winter bike and chugging away quite nicely.

As my recovery process still continues, or so I think that's what it is, something dawned on me. My saddle has always felt hard and sometimes not very supportive. I think my sit bones are not in the right position as I can often feel bone on bone burning which is relieved by getting off the saddle, plus whenever I get off in any case I can feel blood flow returning to where there is obviously high pressure when sat down.

My back has been fine for a while but I have been suffering with Piriformis tightness leading to calf and foot pain in my left foot now for around 8 months. I thought it was all tied into my back but now I am wondering whether my saddle is causing this. Has anyone hear experienced similar symptoms from a saddle?

At its worst my left calf and sole of foot feel like an electric fence when walking or changing gear in the car, but I have zero other symptoms.

Posts

  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    the piriformis tightness could be putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

    i don't understand the 'bone on bone' comment.

    more the saddle being 'hard.. not supportive" not supportive suggests soft to me.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • DizeeeDizeee Posts: 337
    Not supportive as in not soft but quite hard. When I sit on it sometimes it feels like my sit bones are crushing directly onto the saddle rails. It's a pro logo saddle around 80 quid so it is decent enough
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Is your saddle too high, if it is it can lead to all kinds of aches and strains as you over stretch. Also try using KOPS to get the saddles fore / aft position roughly correct. Make sure the saddle is roughly level by using a spirit level when the bike is on level ground. Also measure your sit bones to confirm saddle is correct width. Unfortunately a good quality expensive saddle does not necessarily mean it is right for you.
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    So you've not been riding for 12 months? if this is the case maybe you're not toughened up enough yet. how long have you been back on the bike?

    you may also need a wider/narrower saddle that supports the sit bones better. i'd avoid getting a softer, more padded saddle for the time being. you might even find a leather saddle like the Spa cycles set more comfortable.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    I had loads of trouble with this.

    General stretching will help the tightness - But for me the saddle was the key.

    One day I noticed an indentation on one side of the saddle - I was actually digging into it. I decided then to get a brooks saddle - I went for a B17 imperial - I think the width of it helped - but as the leather has softened it has got more comfortable.

    Also if you haven't done much cycling - you might want to try try chamois cream - IME this eases the censored toughening process....

    PM me if you want more info....
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Dizeee wrote:
    After around 12 months of what has been quite serious back issues, I am now back on my winter bike and chugging away quite nicely.

    Could you outline what your back issues were and how you were able to return to cycling? I'm currently two months into being forced to stop cycling due to it aggravating my back and I would be interested to hear how you got on.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,825
    I recently had issues with sit bone pain, I think due to the sciatic nerve getting pinched and it was quite painful. I was rather puzzled since I hadn't done anything to the saddle position recently, but had been off the bike for a while. Many months ago I tilted the saddle forwards by a couple of degrees, and I tried tilting it back a bit and that helped. Only a degree or two at most, but it made a world of difference due to the way my sit bones are angled against that part of the saddle. Might be worth a try tilting your saddle a smidge, perhaps backwards to start with. My saddle is an SMP Lite 209 and quite curved.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • step83step83 Posts: 4,107
    Kajjal wrote:
    Unfortunately a good quality expensive saddle does not necessarily mean it is right for you.

    This, I keep going back to my old Charge Spoon saddle, cannot fault the fit for me can do a day in the saddle without pain. Tried other far more expensive ones an I don't get on with them nearly as well.
  • DizeeeDizeee Posts: 337
    Dizeee wrote:
    After around 12 months of what has been quite serious back issues, I am now back on my winter bike and chugging away quite nicely.

    Could you outline what your back issues were and how you were able to return to cycling? I'm currently two months into being forced to stop cycling due to it aggravating my back and I would be interested to hear how you got on.

    Its a very protracted story so I will answer it in as quick and simple way possible...

    Started cycling in 2012 resulting in around 6 - 8k miles a year each year up until and including 2015. Back would get sore on occasion but only low level muscular stuff to be expected. Got used to it, ignored it and became used to discomfort. 2015 we moved house, I have young babies and everything culminated in me injuring my back in September when moving furniture. I didn't know it a the time but I had bulged / prolapsed a disc. I carried on with life and things got worse until I eventually had an MRI scan in December. The results I got in Jan showed the disc issue. Between all that though I had sought private and NHS physio and started stretches e.t.c. Mixed results with all that.

    Then in February, after all that time of suffering, an NHS physio tried to do some sort of manipulation on my lumbar, pressing down on the vertebrae. That was it, the next day I woke up and couldn't move, and I had pain that I did not know possible to have. Serious stuff, and off work for around 3 months. On almost every prescriptive painkiller possible and the reality of it all hit me mentally very hard. The serious pain lasted around 3-4 weeks and I have been recovering ever since. My recovery only started after I saw one particular physio in March , who was a god send. The rest were frankly useless. He simply pointed out that I had been sitting, standing, bending and twisting all incorrectly and therefore continually aggravating my injury and never giving it a chance to heal. He gave me basic golden rules of movement and told me if I followed them, I could forget about my back forever. Fast forward to now almost 3 months later and I am now pretty much pain free, painkiller free and cycling as normal. ( Well almost, I have missed a load of training having been off the bike and so have dedicated this year to relaxation and having a year off of hardcore cycling ).

    I have had to make my life revolve around my back for 12 months and in that time have literally educated myself to exhaustion on what to do and what not to do. Once thing I have learnt is that any back pain is likely to be disc related, so any signs of pain need to be understood and dealt with. If not, they will develop over a period of time to the point that that your back muscles will be spasming and compensating too much, meaning your pain will increase and eventually if you have not sorted the root cause of the issue (often postural) your weakened disc will give way, bulging or tearing it's way into your spinal canal and potentially crushing the surrounding nerves.

    What sort of issues do you have?
  • DizeeeDizeee Posts: 337
    drlodge wrote:
    I recently had issues with sit bone pain, I think due to the sciatic nerve getting pinched and it was quite painful. I was rather puzzled since I hadn't done anything to the saddle position recently, but had been off the bike for a while. Many months ago I tilted the saddle forwards by a couple of degrees, and I tried tilting it back a bit and that helped. Only a degree or two at most, but it made a world of difference due to the way my sit bones are angled against that part of the saddle. Might be worth a try tilting your saddle a smidge, perhaps backwards to start with. My saddle is an SMP Lite 209 and quite curved.

    David - very interesting to read this.

    One of if not the KEY piece of info my physio told me, having dealt with until amounts of cyclists with back pain, is to tilt the saddle downward slightly. He actually said tilt your saddle down, raise your handlebars, and you will be fine. Now he is not a cyclist, so I don't 100% agree with that exact course of action, but, I do know what he meant.

    What he is saying is that if your overly long in your back and your lumbar is rounded, your just on a path to destruction. Many cyclists I observe do this. What you should be doing, is creating just enough pivot that you are able to maintain that vital lumbar curve ( the S bend in your lower back ). I have achieve this by simply tilting the nose down slightly and leaving the bars as they are. When riding the lower middle of my back is concave ( I think the correct term ) or to put it another way, dipped downward. My tailbone and top of my back then rise up around it. It is the exact same position your supposed to adopt when manual handling / lifting and basically means you are not putting your lumbar discs under stress. When you think about the amount of time and the forces exerted on your back when out on the bike for long spells, it doesn't take long to think about the amount of stress your back will be in especially if your position is wrong.
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    i have back problems. disk prolapse that was undiagnosed for years (told i had gout in my back). needed laminectomy and fusion at l5 s1.

    after years of doing nothing on doctors advise, i started riding and since then i too have stopped all meds for back pain. it is still there, i have lost some sensation in my feet, have continual sciatic pain and need a stick to help me walk any distance (i stumble a lot).

    but i don't limp on a bike and it is now my main mode of getting around and exercise regime.

    riding position is very important for my comfort and i've basically adopted my mtb position for the road bike: fairly upright, compact drops.

    i've found leather saddles like brookes and spa to suit me best, but they need to be wide enough to support the sit bones and not too flat in either plane, nor too rounded (with the sides sloping down from middle). i use a spa wharfe on both bikes now, it is the most like a brookes swift in shape but less than half the price and lasts longer.

    although my newest wharfe caused severe discomfort on first few rides, felt like a pin under my right sit bone. this is caused by bruising and inflammation of the tissues/ nerves under the the area. this has subsided but i had to swap the new saddle onto my mtb to soften it up a little.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • darkhairedlorddarkhairedlord Posts: 7,094
    More likely to be poor posture sat on the bog for too long. Resting your elbows on your knees may be combining with poor seating arrangement to disrupt the circulation.
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,825
    Dizeee wrote:
    drlodge wrote:
    I recently had issues with sit bone pain, I think due to the sciatic nerve getting pinched and it was quite painful. I was rather puzzled since I hadn't done anything to the saddle position recently, but had been off the bike for a while. Many months ago I tilted the saddle forwards by a couple of degrees, and I tried tilting it back a bit and that helped. Only a degree or two at most, but it made a world of difference due to the way my sit bones are angled against that part of the saddle. Might be worth a try tilting your saddle a smidge, perhaps backwards to start with. My saddle is an SMP Lite 209 and quite curved.

    David - very interesting to read this.

    One of if not the KEY piece of info my physio told me, having dealt with until amounts of cyclists with back pain, is to tilt the saddle downward slightly. He actually said tilt your saddle down, raise your handlebars, and you will be fine. Now he is not a cyclist, so I don't 100% agree with that exact course of action, but, I do know what he meant.

    What he is saying is that if your overly long in your back and your lumbar is rounded, your just on a path to destruction. Many cyclists I observe do this. What you should be doing, is creating just enough pivot that you are able to maintain that vital lumbar curve ( the S bend in your lower back ). I have achieve this by simply tilting the nose down slightly and leaving the bars as they are. When riding the lower middle of my back is concave ( I think the correct term ) or to put it another way, dipped downward. My tailbone and top of my back then rise up around it. It is the exact same position your supposed to adopt when manual handling / lifting and basically means you are not putting your lumbar discs under stress. When you think about the amount of time and the forces exerted on your back when out on the bike for long spells, it doesn't take long to think about the amount of stress your back will be in especially if your position is wrong.

    I said sciatic nerve, I think that's the wrong one. I meant the nerve that is right by the sit bone. I don't have back problems at all while cycling, it was a localised issue right at the sit bone.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    More likely to be poor posture sat on the bog for too long. Resting your elbows on your knees may be combining with poor seating arrangement to disrupt the circulation.

    and you base this assumption on ...?
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
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