You don’t have to put up with saddle pain while cycling!
Bikefit for saddle pain @Star Physio using GebioMized Pressure Analysis Technology.
Star Physio’s staff have been fitting cyclists to find their optimal position for over 20 years. In the last 5 years, Star Physio has been working alongside the best fitters in the world and invested in technology that has revolutionized professional bikefit.
The long held belief that the knee needed to sit over the pedal spindle (KOPS) has been disproven, and our previous methods of measuring knee angles to attempt to identify ideal saddle height have been proven to be very inaccurate.
GebioMized technology analyses pressure at the contact points on the bike, in particular the saddle, to show us how and where weight is distributed, and what movement is occurring at the contact point. This incredibly accurate information allows us to make adjustments to maximise stability and performance and reduce or remove load from sensitive or sore areas such as with saddle sores or saddle pain.
In the picture you can see an example of a female cyclist who presented with saddle pain in the right-side pubic area. Her initial saddle analysis map is the left saddle picture. The area of high pressure (bright yellow) was identified by the cyclist as being the site of her saddle sore.
During the Star Physio bikefit, we made significant adjustments to the saddle position including lowering and moving the saddle forward, changing the saddle tilt and reducing the reach to the handlebars. The saddle map on the right of the picture is the SAME SADDLE on the SAME DAY. You can see that in the new pressure map that the peak pressure has been reduced from 959 to 718 millibars, but more importantly the area of peak pressure has been moved further back on the saddle to an area of the pelvis that is able to tolerate load better. The cyclist’s pain and saddle sore were immediately relieved and she fell back in love with her bike!
A common misunderstanding with saddle pain is that most problems are due to the wrong saddle. Our international group of bikefit and saddle pain experts (including bike fitters working with GB Cycling, Team Sky, Orica Green-Edge, Mitchelton Scott, Trek Segafredo, Cycling Canada and the best pro triathletes in the world) agree that approximately 80% of saddle problems are due to incorrect fit, and only 20% are due to the wrong saddle.
Star Physio’s managing director Damian Oldmeadow has been providing professional physiotherapy bikefits for over 20 Years.
“In the early days, the plumb-bob and goniometer were our only tools and we relied on athlete (and coach) feedback to assist us in decision making about the correct bikefit position. In the last 10 years there has been an explosion of research around bikefit for performance and injury and it has really challenged our long-held beliefs around the ideal position, with the reality being that there is no magic saddle height that can be measured by knee angle or by using inseam measurements either to reduce or prevent pain or for performance. In addition, our old fear of moving cyclists forward of the fabled “KOPS” position for fear of increased knee pain has been completely disproven, as we now understand that the research which this was based on was flawed”
“From here we moved forwards to camera based measurements, if possible from multiple angles. The Retul System gave us information at 30 frames per second which we could slow down, but still this system gave recommendations based around “KOPS” and a measured knee angle. It was as good as we had available when it first came out, however more research has shown how unreliable trying to measure knee angles is due to a multitude of potential errors. In fact research suggests that the error is commonly between 10 and 15 degrees, and in the past we thought that we were able to measure in 1 degree increments!”
“Then came GebioMized Pressure Analysis! About 5 years ago I first met Daniel Shade at an international conference in London. Immediately I saw huge potential for the saddle pressure map in particular due to the large number of cyclists with saddle pain that I met. At this stage I did not fully understand that this technology would not only assist with saddle pain, but that it would completely revolutionize bikefit. While even my high-quality cameras could give us information at 60Hz or frames per second, this system gave us 200Hz or 200 readings per second. Not only did it show where areas of high pressure were on the saddle, and in the feet when using the additional foot pressure sensors, but it gave us a true indication of saddle stability, and the cyclist’s ability to maintain a position on the bike while producing power. Any movement results in wasting energy moving around on the saddle as well as an increased risk of pain at the saddle and the joints above and below the pelvis. This is a highly accurate method of measuring bike position or “bikefit”, particularly when combined with high quality cameras, and it is now the Gold Standard in bikefit, and the method with which more and more of the best cyclists and triathletes in the world are choosing for their fit.”
“I could go on and on about the benefits of pressure analysis in bikefit, but the reality is that I honestly just don’t know how we were able to fit bikes well in the past without it! As physiotherapists, we know that some athletes are incredibly robust and will survive in almost any position on the bike, however others need to be very accurately positioned to avoid injury and maximise performance. Regardless of which type of cycling athlete presents to us, this system gives accurate, valid and reproduceable position analysis assisting us to find the best position for every cyclist whether it be to alleviate pain or maximise efficiency and performance.”
“I now enjoy a fantastic collaborative relationship with Daniel, Lotte Brave and the GebioMized Team in Germany as well as with a quality group of international bikefitters and researchers. We share our combined knowledge and experience from different backgrounds to continue to improve our skills in bikefit and drive further product improvements as we keep searching for the perfect bikefit!”
Star Physio in West Perth is the only place in Western Australia to have this technology available to cyclists to assist with not only saddle pain, but also for optimising your cycling position for comfort, efficiency and performance with world leading technology!
Check out our website for more information or get in touch by filling in the form or calling us today!
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