How to Prevent a Sore Tailbone When Cycling

Don't allow a sore tailbone to stop you from achieving your goals.

Don't allow a sore tailbone to stop you from achieving your goals.

You've taken up cycling to tone your tush, not cause it pain. Unfortunately, repetitive strain or friction against the coccyx bone, the technical name for your tail, experienced during cycling can cause soreness or injury. Getting the right gear and building up the length of time you spend in the saddle gradually will help you prevent extreme soreness in this region.

Assess the position of your saddle. Adjust the tilt of your saddle so it is roughly level to the ground. Make sure when you are seated that your weight is placed squarely on your two "sit bones" -- the bony part of your butt. If it is tilted too far forward or back, you may experience soreness in the tailbone or other areas.

Ask to have your bike fit by a professional at a cycling store. Riding with the seat too high or too low can cause chafing or straining to reach the pedals which may translate to a sore tail. Position the handlebars low so that you lean forward and take the weight off the tailbone.

Purchase a more comfortable saddle. Just because the seat came with your bike, doesn't mean it will be right for your body. Even with the most expensive of bikes, components can be changed. Look for a saddle specially designed for a woman and with a cut-out under the coccyx or other design made to alleviate pressure on your tail. Ask if you can try out different models for brief stints on a stationary trainer in the cycling shop.

Purchase a gel saddle if you are sore from indoor cycling class. Most gyms frown upon you taking off and putting on a whole new seat, but you can cover the ones they provide with a cushioned seat that will make your hour-long workout more pleasant. A gel seat will not prevent soreness for everyone, however.

Wear shorts made especially for cycling. Look for a woman's style of padded cycling shorts which feature a chamois lining to buffer the tailbone and other sensitive parts. Try a variety of brands; some fit differently than others.

Work up to long rides gradually. Your coccyx needs to build up a tolerance to spending a lot of time in the seat. Spend just 20 to 30 minutes riding for the first few weeks. Add 10 minutes to each ride over the next few weeks until you reach your goal time.

Stand occasionally during your ride. Hours in the seat reduces blood flow to the region -- regardless of whether you are on a bike or in a desk chair. Balance on the pedals as you coast down hill or as you climb a big hill.

Tip

  • If your tailbone is already sore, try sitting on an ice pack to ease the discomfort.

Warning

  • If you feel intense pain in your tailbone, do not try to cycle through it. Allow your body to rest and seek medical attention if it persists.
 

About the Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.

Photo Credits

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