A Saddle sores among female competitive cyclists: A systematic scoping review
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© 2020 Sports Medicine Australia
Objectives: Saddle sores are a prominent but an under investigated health issue among female competitive cyclists. To identify and describe existing evidence of the prevalence, prevention and treatment of saddle sores among female competitive cyclists.
Design: Systematic scoping review and expert consultation. Methods: Primary studies and grey literature investigating saddle sores for competitive female cyclists were identified from six databases which were systematically searched (Medline; PubMed; Scopus; SPORTDiscus; Embase; Advanced Google Scholar) from 1990 onwards. An online survey was distributed to consultants in the female Australian competitive cycling community to obtain information and expert perspectives outside the published literature.
Results: Of the 401 studies identified, 10 met the inclusion criteria – 4 were case-series, 4 were cross-sectional, and 2 were brief intervention trials. There was limited empirical evidence to determine the prevalence, and identify prevention and treatment approaches for saddle sores. Handlebar positioning relative to the saddle and reducing perineal pressure had some evidence. Saddle sore treatments appear to be limited to antibiotics and surgical intervention when they worsen or become infected. Yet, three-quarters of the consultants (n = 16) indicated saddle sores were frequent among female competitive cyclists, identifying prevention and management strategies as topical creams, maintaining good hygiene, wearing appropriate clothing, leg elevation and taking time off the bike.
Conclusions: There is limited research investigating the prevalence, prevention and treatment of saddle sores among female competitive cyclists, although it has been described as a common occurrence by those in the cycling community. Research is required to understand its prevalence, along with trials to investigate prevention and management methods, so that evidence informed guidelines and/or protocols can be developed.
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