Bike riding is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that can enhance your social life and allow you to enjoy the outdoors. But when regular biking results in pain and discomfort from chafing on your inner thighs it can take the fun out of riding. Instead of putting the brakes on, treat inner thigh chafing and take steps to prevent it from reoccurring.
Causes of Inner Thigh Chafing
Various factors contribute to chafing when you ride your bike. Things you may not even consider can cause moisture and warmth to build up on the skin of your thighs, causing them to rub together. The resulting condition, intertrigo, is one of the most common skin rashes, according to the Mayo Clinic. As chafing leads to redness and itching, the skin on your thighs can become cracked. These tiny breaks in the skin make you susceptible to fungal or bacterial growth if the chafing is left untreated.
Treating Chafed Thighs
It's important to keep your chafed skin dry until the irritation clears up. Wash the skin of your inner thighs daily to remove dirt, sweat and bacteria. You can also use a 50/50 white vinegar and water soak to kill any bacteria present in the rash. Rinse well after soaking for 10 minutes, and then pat dry the skin. An over-the-counter zinc oxide ointment or 2.5 percent hydrocortisone cream can help the skin on your thighs heal and will also soothe redness and itching while reducing inflammation.
Clothing and Equipment to Prevent Chafing
Although bulky muscles or excessive fat in the thighs can contribute to inner thigh chafing while you ride, clothing is also a common culprit. Biking shorts are the best garment to wear while riding because they're made with seams that lie flat and are constructed from six to eight different panels. These specially made shorts have protective chamois padding between the legs and are made with fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin.
Your bike seat, or saddle, can also contribute to chafing if it doesn't support proper riding form and protect the perineum -- the area located between your sitting bones. If you bike regularly, it's a good idea to test several saddles before buying to find one that supports your style of riding with its shape, size and padding.
It's best to not wear underwear beneath your cycling shorts if you want to avoid chafing. Although your biking shorts are made to stay put and not move around as you ride, your underwear is not. Prior to getting dressed for a ride, make sure your skin is clean and dry, and apply a lubricant cream to reduce friction and prevent bacteria from forming on your moist, warm skin.
- Mayo Clinic: Here's the Rub -- Relief Available for Groin Rashes
- Bicycles West: Buyers Guide to Women's Cycling Shorts
- REI: How to Choose a Bike Saddle
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Chafing
- The Physician and Sports Medicine Journal: Athletic Skin Injuries
- Cyclery USA: Selecting the Right Bicycle Saddle
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.