What Causes Sit Bone Issues?
When you return to riding, begin riding, have a new saddle or choose to ride for longer times you will experience some discomfort at the points that take weight – your sit bones. This is a very common feeling that many people who ride a bike will have. You must understand that rather than sitting on your saddle you are actually straddling it and your sit bones are taking the majority of the weight. They are designed to do this but they will need time to adjust and build up their conditioning and strength.
One of the biggest issues for your sit bones is finding the support they need. This means that these boney protuberances are seeking a good surface to be reassured that they can efficiently transfer weight. So your saddle has to provide a “useable width”. Your saddle must match the width of your sit bones.
Soft saddles are meant for short distances. If you have a lot of soft cushioning or poor quality padding this will be adding to the problem. As you ride further and are seated for longer – it usually takes around 30 to 45mins – a soft saddle allows your body too sink too far. This means parts of your body like your sit bones make contact with the hard structures of the saddle. It also causes compression of structures that are attached to or move across your sit bones.
What is Discomfort? As mentioned above, discomfort at your sit bones is a normal part of riding your bike. It means that you are doing the right thing – bearing weight through these bones. It will feel a little achy, bruised, slightly red. The sensations will come on after time on the bike, on average around 30 to 45 minutes. It usually takes a few weeks to a month to overcome (depends on how often you ride). If discomfort is quite intense take 2-3 days off between rides. With each ride you should feel like there is progress or improvement being made.
What is Pain? Your sit bones will experience problems beyond discomfort when they are not being supported correctly. This will cause deep achy sensations, muscle & tendon inflammation, sores and chaffing. These problems will not resolve over time but become worse and are more immediate when you sit on your saddle. You will struggle to find any position that feels supported and will feel the need to be constantly shifting in your seat.