First of all, thanks to everyone for their stories. It’s good to finally find somewhere that people are willing to share their experiences of this. It seems crazy that it’s not more widely publicised as a very real risk of cycling. If more people knew what can happen, they might be able to prevent it. I know I would have tried!
I wanted to share my (ongoing) experience as I think it may be slightly different to some others:
I had been having issues with saddle sores for some time. These seemed to be primarily on one side of my groin and recurred in more or less the same place. My bike fitter was not much help. I suspected it might be caused by my cleat alignment, but he said it wasn’t likely so I forgot about it. Having tried numerous creams, bibshorts and anything else I could think of, I opted to try a few new saddles out to see if that could have been the problem.
I hadn’t had much luck with the saddles but eventually found one I thought would work. Soon after I went on a cycling holiday in the Pyrenees. Once I started on the holiday, I felt like the saddle was actually a little uncomfortable, pressing into a spot next to my left sit bone. I only felt this when riding in certain positions and was having such a great time riding the big mountains I thought nothing of it. 5days and 22hours of riding later (my previous max would have been about half that). On the sixth day we drove back to the north of France (about 8hours) and there were no issues. On the 7th day when I woke I felt a little pain whilst sitting but didn’t think much of it. I tried to go for a recovery ride and the second I sat in the saddle an electric shock shot from the back of my perineum into my left testicle which erupted in pins and needles. Needless to say the ride was abandoned, with the pain proceeding to continue anytime I sat down.
Obviously, I was incredibly worried about this and saw a Dr who didn’t know what was going on but gave me some Ibuprofen and told me to go to the emergency room if it continued. It did, so I did. I was then diagnosed with Cyclist’s Syndrome (although the Dr was a little unsure) and prescribed Naproxen.
Over the next few weeks the pain subsided a little but was still causing problems. I proceeded to spend 6months visiting various PTs and Dr’s who were largely unable to help. I also took a lot more Naproxen and Ibuprofen over this time. Some of the PT’s stretches helped a little but nothing seemed to be resolving the problem. Eventually the pain subsided to a feeling like I was sitting on a golfball with a sensation like muscle strain radiating down the back of my leg and in my groin. During this entire time I had not sat on a bike.
I eventually paid for a private MRI as the health service in my country is very slow (2years wait) and it revealed some inflammation in the ischial bursa and fossa. I tried a pelvic specialist PT for a number of weeks which helped a little, but again my pain soon plateaued.
In January I paid to privately see a urologist who diagnosed it as ongoing fossa inflammation, and referred me to pelvic PT. I saw the PT for several weeks, receiving internal work and ultrasound therapy as well as some release of the exterior muscles. This seemed to be making progress. Unfortunately, I had to travel for work and although I’m now home, coronavirus prevents me from returning to the PT. I have tried the wand but have not been able to achieve the same results as my PT.
The pain has largely subsided, but a lot of discomfort still remains and I am still having to sit on a specialist cushion and stand where possible. It has now been almost a year. I tried to ride one of my beloved bikes on a trainer but even 5 minutes caused issues. I also tried one of the ISM saddles but it still seemed to dig into the same place.
All of the information everyone has posted has given me a few ideas. I have struggled with postural issues and weak core since I was teenager so suspect this may have been a contributory factor also and will be trying to strengthen this in the hope of further relief.
FYI, under consulting with one of the PTs, it seems that cleats may well have been a cause of the sores as they were causing some pelvic rotation on (front to back).