Updated: Jan 30
If you have ever experienced groin pain and/or numbness while cycling on your bike or stationary Peloton bike, know it can lead to lasting damages and even sexual dysfunction. Groin numbness when cycling affects males and females alike and to almost an even amount, with damages varying depending on your Peloton bike and/or cycling fit. This is an issue that has been coming up a lot lately from my athletes and it appears most people tend to ignore the problem rather than address the issue. And really the fix to your Peloton bike or road bike is quite basic and easy to do. I’ll clarify what is going on and why it is happening so you can avoid lasting damages.
Using a bike, whether it is a road bike, mountain bike, or a stationary bike like a Peloton, groin numbness is a bad sign and something to be taken seriously. The groin numbness comes on slowly and often you do not even realize it has happened until you take a break or finish your ride. By then blood flow to the area has been drastically reduced and, depending on how long your ride is, you could have lasting damages that result in sexual dysfunction. If you experience groin pain or groin numbness while riding a bike like a Peloton, you need to seek help and remedy the issue quickly. Give me a call or schedule a Free In-person or Online Consultation to learn what you can do TODAY to fix the problem. Also, Check out my other BLOG post “3 Peloton Adjustments for Groin Numbness and Sexual Dysfunction” for some quick fixes. With that being said, there are some easy fixes you can do to your Peloton or bike that can help immediately.
When you sit on your bike, you are using your ischial tuberosities aka “sits bones” to support your body. Those are the bony parts right under your gluteal fold aka “butt-cheek.” Now not to get full anatomy nerd on you but this area of the body is incredibly “busy.” There are a lot of nerves, arteries, veins, tendons, muscles, etc. running through the area and it gets very easy to cause problems. There are also differences between men and women.
The one nerve I like to point out is the Pudendal nerve, which is responsible for a lot, but not all, of the nerve function in your groin. Depending on your style of riding, you can cause a compression of the surrounding arteries that feed the Pudendal nerve, resulting in a decrease in blood flow that ultimately results in what is called “Pudendal Neuralgia.” Think of it when you have sat on your legs when crossed and your foot “goes to sleep.” As you start to move a round, you get tingling in your foot and the sensation comes back. Well, the same thing is happening when you are on your Peloton bike or when you cycle.
Your style of riding has a lot to do with Pudendal Neuralgia happening. The rule of thumb is the more aggressive rider you are the more likely you are sitting less on your ischial tuberosities and more on the soft tissue in your groin.
Or if you tend to ride more hills and long climbs, the forward lean of your body position can also result in a compression of the blood flow to the area. Even a few degrees can make a dramatic impact on where you place your body pressure on the saddle.
The best remedy is to make sure you have an appropriate bike fit done by a professional. Make sure you get someone qualified to do the bike fit as well. Your typical bike mechanic is a great resource for aftermarket products you can add to your bike but not the best option for your bio-mechanics. You want to seek help from a bio-mechanic expert like a sports physical therapist or a nationally trained, bike fitting mechanic. There are a variety of things you can change on your bike like spacers, saddles, tube heights, drop downs, pedals, etc. but one thing I recommend to my athletes is to upgrade your saddle! Typically the saddle that came with your Peloton or bike is good but not so good for your Pudendal nerve. Saddles like ISM or something similar with a cutout space for pressure relief are the best option. You might be spending around $150-$200 on a good saddle but the price is worth it if you compare the risk of developing lasting damage and/or sexual dysfunction from groin numbness or groin pain.
Now, if this has happened a few times and/or if your groin pain or groin numbness was only for a brief moment, then typically there isn’t any kind of lasting damage and some simple fixes to your bike fit can help remedy the problem. But if this happens often and for prolonged periods of time, this can result in a decreased amount of blood to the area which can result in sexual dysfunction. Reported causes have resulted in erectile dysfunction (ED), infertility, decreased sensation, decreased erection strength, and decreased erection time in men. In women, it has been reported women who experience groin pain and groin numbness have decreased arousal, decreased orgasms, urinary leakage and decreased genital lubrication.
So if you experience lasting groin pain and/or groin numbness when you cycle, please seek appropriate help and ask questions to your healthcare provider.