6 Gross Cycling Injuries

Corneal Abrasion

Gravel (or was it a bug?) hurtled toward your face and snuck underneath your eyelid, scratching your cornea—the clear, protective covering on your eye.

Get Rid of It: Listen to your mother: Don't rub your eye. If blinking doesn't work out the debris, flush your eye with clean water or saline solution to prevent further damage. Most minor abrasions will heal without special treatment within a few days. During this time, don't wear contact lenses. More severe eye injuries may require antibiotic drops and a menacing-looking patch from your doctor.

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Don't Let It Happen Again: Wear protective eyewear (like these 8 Best Pairs of Sunglasses for Cyclists) to keep out debris. Next time, immediately flush the eye and, again, listen to your mother.

Saddle Sores

Your saddle, shorts, and dried salt crystals from sweat can work together like a belt sander on your butt while you pedal. Saddle sores first appear as a mild skin irritation, but progress to inflamed hair follicles. Left untreated, they can mutate into infected boils and oozing abscesses.

Get Rid of It: Take a few days off the bike and keep the affected area clean and dry. Diaper-rash and antibiotic creams can soothe the pain and speed up healing. Infected sores require a trip to the doctor and prescription antibiotics, says Gloria Cohen, MD, former physician for the Canadian national and Olympic cycling teams.

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Don't Let It Happen Again: Adjust your saddle height to reduce chafing and side to side hip rocking. Invest in shorts with a seamless chamois, wash them between rides, and get a lube job. There's no shortage of chamois creams—check out our list of the 8 Best Chamois Creams out there.

Learn how to Set Your Saddle Height Correctly

Infected Road Rash

After that incident involving your shoulder and the road's shoulder, you applied Neosporin for one day, then stopped treating the wound. Unfortunately, it's now a red-hot mess. Literally.

Get Rid of It: If you remain vigilant, most road rash can be treated with triple antibiotic ointments. If the road rash feels like a deep bruise, the area is stiff or hard, red streaks radiate from the abrasion, or you have a fever or nausea, get to a doctor right away. Cohen says these symptoms may be signs of compartment syndrome, which can cause long-term muscle and nerve damage, or cellulitis (spreading infection).

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