Coccyx (Tailbone) Protection

I ride my 36” unicycles (darn my love for the big wheel) almost exclusively on paved asphalt (roads, sidewalks, and rail-to-trail greenways). I don’t UPD often, but when I do, five feet is a long way to fall on an unforgiving surface. I have always worn a lot (SixSixOne EVO Shin & Knee, POC VPD elbow, DocMeter WristGuards, Giro Helmet, etc) of safety gear. Yes, it is hot, it stinks, and it takes five extra minutes to get ready for a ride. But, I like to be able to stand back up, and live-to-ride-another-day.

The intimate relationship between my saddle (KH Slim) and cycling shorts (Louis Garneau bib-shorts) has always left my backside unprotected. I justified this risk by saying “I usually UPD off the front” and “Saddle soreness is something every distance rider deals with so I am doing everything I can (own stock in PaceLine’s Chamois BUTT’r) to prevent it”. That was until…

I had a nasty “low speed” UPD off the back of the wheel and landed directly (I had only bruised my hips going off the front before) on my tailbone in a “sitting position” last week. Turns out, it’s fairly difficult to actually “break” your coccyx bones. But, it is easy to “bruise” them and tear enough ligaments to cause significant discomfort. Then, if you just bump it with a light tap, it hurts like a bitch. I’ve ridden three times (10 miles each) since my accident. We unicyclists really sit more on our perineum than on our coccyx. Still, sudden onset saddle soreness stops me from doing my normal quarter century. I have always had lower back pain but it seems worse as of late. I think I might take a couple weeks off. I am so pissed at myself because it happened on a normal ride in my park on a routine turn that I have made a thousand times before. I just lost focus for a second. I guess it’s true what they say that most (automobile) accidents happen within 5 miles from your house when you let your guard down.

The majority of coccyx protection on the market is for SnowBoarding. I shopped AzzPadz, Skeletools, and other SnowBoarding protection but, if they are uncomfortable (feels like you got a load in your pants) sitting on the ski lift, they are going to be unbearable on a saddle. Some of the Motocross gear like Troy Lee Designs have anti-chafing pads on the inside thigh that I did not care for. I trust the d3o material in the SixSixOne EVO Bomber Shorts and the Visco-elastic Polymer Dough (VPD) in POC’s Hip shorts as much as I trust “real plastic” to dissipate the impact and that material seems like it would be much more “saddle friendly” but I ended up purchasing the Dianese MTB Impact Shorts pictured below. They MSRP for $150 but they are on sale for $69 at GoRidedotcom. Major selling points for me were the breathable mesh and the zippers for easy (no need to unlace my FiveTen Impact Mid shoes) on/off. Have not taken shipment yet but I hope and pray (no returns on clearance items) for minimum saddle interference from all that padding.

I am starting a new thread (my first ever) rather than resurrecting an old post (like the one below) because I wanted the Title (subject line) to focus on prevention rather than treatment.

Link URL to “Busted Tailbone won’t heal completely” thread below:

Please post a reply if you know of a better solution than what I have presented above. Your expertise is, as always, greatly appreciated. I have fallen before but this UPD scared the hell out of me. Mortgage and kid’s tuition make Long Term Disability or Early Retirement completely out of the question. Advice?

edit time 10 minutes expired but I’ll add this:

If not already evident from my Profile, AutoSignature, Avitar, and the tag line under it, my primary discipline is 36er commuting. Saddle soreness is a way-of-life for any distance rider even with good technique and the best handlebar. The only solution is to dismount and stretch. My heart, lungs, and legs could do a ride-your-age but my butt (yea, i said it) will never be able to do a uni-century because I have to stop every 5 miles and that was before I busted my ass. Getting old (I’m 42) sucks! Best case scenario I’ve got another 10-15 years (if I can keep from getting hurt) riding the big (36er) wheel before I have to move my Schlumpf hub into a 26er or a 24. That 10-12 inches makes a big difference (gravity + asphalt + my ass = ouch) in a UPD.

There’s that strange point in life when you realize that you’re not invincible anymore… happens sometime between 18 and 25 I think. :roll_eyes:

That being said, I am like you for safety gear. I usually ride a 26" non-guni on paced/hard surfaces. Helmet is manditory. I like my brain, and it’s just one of those things that’s obvious. Wrist guards are a constant too from ProDesign. When I switch to mountain unicycling, it’s full body armour. Roach shin and knee gaurds, forearm and elbow guards. If I fall, I like to get up and ride again.

For the tail bone, instead of armoured undershorts, I use a high-end cycle short. I think they would be uncomfortable shorts for bicycling because of the thickness and width of the padding, but they are worth their value when it comes to reducing saddle soreness and minor tailbone impacts. The gel is about half an inch in thickness and it wraps around nicely. I’ve fallen on single track a bunch of times on the 26" and they have done the job. From a higher distance though, I’d be a bit more concerned.

Post a review when you start riding again. I’d be curious if they added the protection you wanted without inhibiting the ride too much.

a shout out to the ladies…

Women are more susceptible to tailbone injuries because their hips are further apart. I’ve even heard of a woman breaking her coccyx giving birth. Pardon me for being crude but the fix was to manipulate it from the inside (your butthole) out :astonished: . That alone sold me on buying a nice pair of impact shorts.

Please tell us you wear something else over those shorts?

Now that you mention it, the 1/4 to 1/5 inch of chamois padding in my Louis Garneau Corsa Bib Shorts (at $199 I would consider them high-end) might very well have been what “saved my ass”. That chamois was “cushioning” the area (my ass) of impact. Of course if you landed “just right” you can pinch or damage a nerve in your spinal cord (perish the thought) regardless of how much protection you are wearing. I should be good at falling. I’ve been doing it my whole life. In my youth, I held a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do. I think it is as you say, the higher distance.

I shopped around those ProDesigned wrist guards. They suffered the same fate as my Flexmeter DocMeter and Hillbilly fingerless because the guard protrudes too far to operate the brake lever that is way out on the tip of my handlebar. In the end, I had to settle with the protection provided by Kris Holm Pulse gloves on my left “braking” hand at least. More on that in the thread below.

Will do. Fingers crossed. If riding is inhibited too much, I will be subsequently reviewing the POC VPD and 661 EVO shorts in that order. My wife said to spare no expense in my protection. I’m taking her at her word. The Dianese are top of the line “MTB” shorts. Shopping over the internet is tough when you can’t try them on. I was glad, for what it’s worth, that I tried on my bib-shorts in my LBS. I was spec for Large but the Medium are perfect. One tug of the shoulder strap sets the boys up. My plan, by the way, is to zip those Dianese shorts over top of my bib shorts so went up a size. We will see when they get here.

Yeah, my daughter bruised my tailbone pretty badly when I gave birth to her. I had pain for over a year afterwards. You have my sympathies, tailbone injuries are SO unpleasant.

My sister’s tailbone was broken when she delivered baby #1. The baby’s collar bone was broken during that process too. I’ve had two tailbone injuries. Once rollerblading and once snowblading. No fun. I bought padded shorts but they wouldn’t have protected me from either injury. I needed the protection under the tailbone, not behind it.

The AzzPadz are the best for SnowBoarding. They get “under the tailbone” with a big 8 inch plastic plate. Problem is, you can barely sit down in the lift chair. Out of the question for sitting in the saddle. What I think would be perfect “under the tailbone” is the d3o or VPD material but they are both too stingy with 4 or 5 inches as the size of the tailbone pad. If they covered my whole backside, then they would be a no brainer. I wear the former on my knees and the latter on my elbows. The material is soft and pliable in your hands until you hit it with a hammer at which time it magically transforms into a “plastic” like pad to dissipate the impact. And you thought NASA was a big waste of $. :roll_eyes:

Just out of curiosity, are the “padded shorts” you bought the ones from UDC? They carry the Hillbilly Dirt Gear CYA Protective Shorts with Hard Shell Plastics for Heavy Doody :wink: protection for tailbone. I would be very interested to read a review of those. I paid the same $69.99 for my Dianese shorts but mine were on sale. The two look and sound very similar. In the end, it was the zip on/off that sold me. Plus, Dianese is supposed to make really high end stuff. Desperate for a solution, I was ready to fork over the $149 MSRP and it was just dumb luck (it really does pay to shop around) to find them on the clearance rack.

Going to the extreme, I guess you could always buy one (I like the looks of the Spine Ergo but then again, I already wear a Camelbak) of POC’s vests.

Then you could attach POC’s the coccyx protector as an add-on. It appears to get “under the tailbone” but looks like it would be very obstructive in the saddle.

The following description probably doesn’t meet the needs of the OP, as it is really only designed to fit behind the coccsyx not under it. But, I saw the title of the thread and I would contribute. This might be for someone with meager funds. I ride Muni and it’s where I wore it most.

This was on the cheap.

Took long kneepad 1/2" thick. It’s the longer size, possibly 9 or 10 inches.
Cut off the elastic wrap around the inside of the knee.
opened up one seam
Removed the knee padding
Cut two corners off at a diagonal
Took a very thin bendable cutting board made of thin plastic
Cut a into @1.5" strips on the top half and taped together lengthwise with electrical tape.
Cut some more smaller sections for the lower half and taped together with electrical tape.
Taped lower half to upper half.
Then placed over the foam section from the knee pad and inserted back into the kneepad cover.
Before hand stitching it closed, I hand stitched in a piece of large velcro running nearly across the width of the kneepad cover. The soft section of the velcro was sewn into the back of my riding shorts just inside the waistband.
Stitched up the open seam of the knee pad.

Before riding, I would insert the pad down the back of my shorts near the rear waistband. The plastic pieces would face behind me when I used the pad.The kneepad/coccsyx pad sits at the base of my seat and reaches up past my waistline of my shorts an inch or two.

Without the velcro, the pad works it’s way out and falls on the trail. I lost two of them that way before adding the velcro.

the plastic sheet parts were added in order to slow penetration of rocks when landing.

I have stopped wearing it for the past two years because I wasn’t falling on my tailbone, with experience, I got better at not falling on my butt, but really should have been wearing it early in the summer… I fell hard on a steep rocky descent filled with scree. My wheel locked up and slid out forward and I went down hard. Luckily I only bruised my coccsyx, but I felt it for about 5 weeks before I could sit down without any discomfort.

I don’t have any pix of how I made the pad. It was in the gallery once, but it looks like the gallery is DOA


Dianese MTB Impact Shorts review

No, but I’m definitely wearing something else under them. I think GoRide (took shipment yesterday) failed to include the white liner (inner shorts?) that you see in the picture. The chamois pad is made of Dupont’s CoolMax® material as if they were meant to be worn directly on the skin (no undies) but the mesh holes are very, very wide. These things are as see-through as those fish-net-black-pantie-hose that MaryJaneRottencrotch wore when I lost my virginity in the 80’s. Lucky they fit perfect over the top of my Louis Garneau Corsa Bib Shorts. Glad I got the XL size. I’m 5’9" 160 lbs. They are far from tight but they are not falling off. If English is your primary language, understanding the Dianese sizing chart (on which these are not addressed at all) is tough. I like the fact that they zip on/off without removing my 5.10 Impact Mid shoes. I do not like the idea of having a waistband (major benefit of bib shorts) to collect sweat. I wish the hip/thigh pads were removable (the Skeletools are modular like that) but I hit there sometimes too. Now, onto the real reason I got them. Coccyx (tailbone) protection seems ample and there is minimal seat interference inhibiting the ride. It’s obvious they were made for MountainB*kers. They seem (have yet to put them to the test) to do a good job of getting “under the tailbone” but I would not mind for the tailbone section to be a bit wider to dissipate impact like the AzzPads. All in all, I’m going to say they are $70 well spent.