How to Stop Numbness While Cycling

Written by andrea chrysanthou
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How to Stop Numbness While Cycling
Specially made cycling clothes can prevent chafing and numbness while cycling. (bicycle racer image by jimcox40 from

Cycling provides a great cardiovascular workout, but riding a bicycle also can be harmful to your health. Sitting on a bicycle seat can cause compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the perineum or area between the anus and penis or vagina. Continued compression can lead to nerve damage, swelling, numbness, pain and even erectile dysfunction. There are several things you can do to reduce or even prevent compression and the feeling of numbness when cycling.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Saddle with cutout or wide saddle
  • Gel seat cover

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  1. 1

    Wear cycling shorts with chamois padding to help relieve pressure.

  2. 2

    Move the handlebar so it is lower than saddle height. Researchers have determined this position is less likely to cause erectile dysfunction in long-distance cyclists.

  3. 3

    Adjust the seat so your knee is slightly bent when your foot pedal is at the lowest point.

  4. 4

    Choose a saddle or seat that is designed to prevent compression. Seats are available with large cutouts in the middle that relieve pressure on the perineum. If you cannot find a seat with a cutout, choose a wider seat over a narrow one as a wider saddle is better able to support more of your bones and reduce stress.

  5. 5

    Use a gel seat cover for short distances only. While gel seats help reduce some stress, they do not offer enough support or stability over long distances.

  6. 6

    Tilt your saddle downward. This will reduce stress and compression on the perineum.

  7. 7

    Change your position and stand up frequently on the pedals while cycling. This also will take pressure off the perineum.

  8. 8

    Cycle less if you find that you are continuing to experience pain. Your body may need longer breaks between riding.

Tips and warnings

  • If numbness or pain persists, see your doctor.

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