Updated: Sep 14, 2022
If you are a cyclist or have recently purchased a Peloton Bike, then you know what I’m talking about. You are enjoying a distance ride, probably chugging out 40 miles and feeling good. Then you approach a stop sign and or take a break and notice some numbness around...well...your groin. The groin pain and/or groin numbness maybe even extends to other areas of your body. After a few moments resting, the sensation starts to tingle and the groin pain goes away and groin feeling comes back.
Basically, what has happened is you’ve stopped the blood flow to the area and your pudendal nerve resulting in “pudendal neuralgia.” Basically, groin numbness has resulted from a lack of blood flow and oxygen. If you are an avid cyclist and this happens often, then you need to change your bike fit. See my other BLOG "'Peloton Bike' / cycling Groin Numbness and/or Sexual Dysfunction" for a more detailed explanation of what is happening. Also, reach out to me for a virtual or in-person free consultation to discuss your specific details to make sure you have not damaged anything important. If you have been using a Peloton bike, or a similar stationary bike, and this happens, you need to change your bike settings. If the numbness continues and is long lasting, more substantial damages and even sexual dysfunction can result.
You will need to make some adjustments to your Peloton bike and you want to test your body position on your bike as if you were riding. If you are adjusting a road or mountain bike, hopefully you have a bike trainer or a long, safe downhill street you can use to assess your bike fit.
Here are 3 things you can try to see if your bike is properly fitted for your body.
How High Do You Sit On Your Steed?
Most people I see in my clinic have way too low of a saddle height on a road bike and on a
Peloton bike. Meaning you are sitting too low on your bike. This can cause a range of problems and is especially damaging to your knees. Cycling involves a lot of repetitive motion, with even more repetitive motion added on top of it all. Over time, all those revolutions per minute (RPMs) will add up and cause damage. To check if your seat is too low, place your bike on the trainer and sit on the bike like you are about to ride. Place one heel on the pedal and see if your leg is completely straight without shifting your hips to the side. You should be able to sit comfortably on your saddle and have no side-bend in your back or a shift in your hips when you place your heel on your pedal. If you notice your knee is bent, raise up the seat post. If you notice your hip drops, then lower your seat post. Like I mentioned, I usually find people have their seat posts way too low. There are technical angles that you should have when on your bike but if you are interested in that then reach out to me and I can do a clinical bike fit for you.
2. Riding a Pony, Mustang, or Clysdale
Another area I often find is people have bikes that are too big for their body. Usually Peloton bikes are one size and I see this more on road bikes. Cyclists have the unique problem of trying to find a bike size for their body. Add in the fact that every person is uniquely different and each manufacturer makes their own proprietary size of bike and it is no wonder why bike sizing is so difficult. Don’t forget that each person’s anatomy is different and some people have longer legs and shorter torso (like me) and vice versa. Bike sizing is an art so make sure when you buy a bike that you get someone who understands your body size and what you need. Or try to get a bike fit on the bike you are considering. You can try and check the size yourself by doing one easy trick. Put the bike on a trainer, sit on the bike and grab the handle bars like you're going to ride. Now look straight down through the stem and see if you can see the front wheel hub. If the bike size is right, the bike stem should block your view of the front wheel hub. If you see the front wheel hub behind the stem, the bike is too small. If you can see the front wheel hub ahead of the stem, the bike is too big.
3. Hunting, Western, or Racing Saddle angle
One last quick and easy measurement you can do is checking your saddle angle. Basically how level is your saddle? You want to make sure that you are placing the majority of your body weight on your ischial tuberosity aka “sit bones”. Also, consider your riding style and terrain. Obviously, if you have a Peloton bike the terrain doesn’t factor in (haha). If you're riding flats then a neutral is best, but if you ride a lot of hills then you may need an adjustment. If you are riding for recreation then you want a neutral or 0 deg angle. If you tend to ride more aggressive and/or aero style, or if you use the drop down bars often then you may need a slight adjustment. Now when it comes to adjusting your saddle, you really are only going to adjust it by 1-3 degrees and no more. It may not seem like a lot but, like before, small adjustments to a repetitive activity has dramatic effects.
By adjusting your Peloton bike or similar bike you can avoid groin numbness and any lasting effects. If you still notice effects that have altered your sexual performance and/or urinary control, contact and schedule an appointment with your physical therapist. We can help in more ways than you know. Reach out to me for your free consultation and if you have any questions and want to get things squared away fast!
You Deserve the Best, Expect the Best,
Dr. Estrada, DPT, OCS
Dr. Estrada is an Endurance Specialist at EPRSG and has over 15+ years of experience. He has completed over 10+ half marathons, marathons, and triathlons. His experience ranges from swimming, running, cycling, mountain biking, and many other sports. He has coached many athletes ranging in ages from high school to senior athletes in their 90's.