Rare condition caused by saddle chaffing stimulates growth of 'cyclist’s nodule'

By Simon Schofield

We’ve heard of some strange physical effects of a life in the saddle – but this one might take the biscuit.

Thankfully, according to the South African scientists who’ve documented the condition, it is rare. But some cyclists have been diagnosed with a ‘third testicle’.

The more scientific term is a ‘cyclist’s nodule’ and it’s caused by constant rubbing in the saddle area.

The repeated vibration and friction between the ischial tuberosities (that’s your sit bones) and the saddle can lead to the development of a tender, firm, soft-tissue nodule around three centimetres in size.

“The condition is termed a third, or accessory, testicle”, say the scientists.

“Symptoms include pain on pressure and when sitting in the saddle which may even require the cyclist to give up the sport,” says the report in the South African Journal of Sports Medicine.

Treatment can include a local steroid injection or, in worse cases, the nodule has to be removed with surgery. Even, then it can recur, says the researchers.

Even more bizarrely, the researchers came across a ‘third testicle’ case in a female cyclist. It was so large that the 29 year old rider was advised to give up cycling. She refused.

“She opted to change the saddle which appears to have helped,” says the report.