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Hand Problems from Cycling?(9 posts)

Hand Problems from Cycling?TheMane
Jun 20, 2003 10:26 AM
I guess this is the right forum to post this question in... since I got back from school, I've been biking every day for a little over a month on my new-to-me trek 2300. Everything has been going well, except a few days ago, I noticed that it was getting hard for me to type the "a" key on the keyboard with my pinky. Figuring this was a temporary problem, I continued to bike until two days ago when I noticed that I really seemed to have no strength left in my left pinky.

I made an appointment with a doctor had they did x-rays and looked at the hand. They claimed that pressure on the base of the palm on the side of the hand with the pinky was causing problems with the nerve and that I needed to stay off my bike for a week or so and take ibuprofen to help the pinky recover. The problem is with the muscle that goes from the base of the palm to the second joint in the pinky (the one closest to the tip of the finger). This muscle is apparently under the muscle that goes to the first joint. If I put my two hands next to each other with the palms facing me and the pinkys touching, I can only push against the other hand with my right hand, the left hand's pinky cannot push back.

My question is this: What can I change in my riding style to prevent this problem? I wear gloves with padding when i ride and I have rather soft cork wrap on my handlebars. I generally ride for about 2 hours a day in the morning. Is there a special way to hold the handlebars that will prevent pressure in this area of my hand? Also, any suggestions on how to help my pinky recover?

thanks!
-John
Aleve-iate the problemt0adman
Jun 20, 2003 10:37 AM
Not sure about hand positions but you might want to try gel padded gloves. I also highly recommend Aleve (or any naproxin sodium product) to decrease the inflamation and free up that nerve. Hope it gets well soon.
re: Hand Problems from Cycling?briburke
Jun 20, 2003 10:38 AM
I had a similiar problem last year, except it was the index and sometimes middle fingers of my left hand that would go numb. The biggest thing for me is to change hand positions often (like every 5 - 10 minutes). I don't necessarily go from the hoods to the drops all the time, but change how I'm resting on the bars (such as resting the heel of my palm on the bar directly behind the drops, where it's pointing forward). I noticed it would happen when I could feel the skin between my thumb and index finger stretched when riding on the hoods - maybe you can notice something similar.

You might also consider trying different gloves as well. My cheapo $5 one's definately didn't cushion as much as the Pearl Izumi gel one's I bought.

Also - I consciously try to relax my hands to make sure I don't have a death-grip on the bar.

-Brian
You are correct sir!pitt83
Jun 20, 2003 6:21 PM
1.) Change hand positions often. 2-3 minutes, not 20-30. Get 5 hand holds you like and swap them.

2.) Aleve-It will reduce the swelling on the ulnar nerve

3.) Peral Izumi Gel-lites. Last year's model if you can find them. They're better ladin out with the pads. Some folks like Specialized Body Geometry; mine split in the fingers quickly.

I rode through it last year. Wasn't fun, but it did heal with those simple steps.
Is your saddle level?Dave Hickey
Jun 20, 2003 10:44 AM
It sound to me like you have too much pressure on your hands. If the nose of your saddle is lilted down, most of your body weight is being supported by your hands.
Is your saddle level?Sadlebred
Jun 20, 2003 10:58 AM
Going with the too much pressure on your hands....If you find yourself leaning down too much, check to make sure that your brake hoods are not mounted too low on your handlebars. You can either move the brake levers up or rotate the bars, so that they are farther up.

Is your stem too low? Consider getting a stem with some "rise" to it. That will decrease the pressure on your hands. If you have a threadless stem, it should be an easy task.
raise your handlebartarwheel
Jun 20, 2003 11:18 AM
I developed bad problems with numbness in my hands after buying a newer bike with a lot more drop from the seat to the handlebar than I had been used to. Problem went away when I raised my handlebar to about 1" below the saddle height. Other things can help -- like good gloves (eg, Pearl Izumi Gel Lite), extra padding on bars, shortening your reach, making sure saddle doesn't tilt down in the front, back and ab exercises. Basically, if your handlebars are too low your weight balance shifts to your hands, placing too much pressure on the nerves. Some people with more flexibility and stronger back and ab muscles can handle more drop, others can't. Unfortunately, many new bikes are set up these days with handlebars that are too low and it can be difficult raising them with threadless systems. A new stem with more rise is usually the easiest solution.
Make sure you have the right size framejrescpa
Jun 20, 2003 11:20 AM
I had a similar problem as a result of riding a small frame with the seat too high. As soon as I switched to a 57" frame from a 53" the problem was gone. I had no problems for 2 years doing 30 mile club rides on the small bike, but when I increased to 50-60, too much time and weight on my hands.
I posted a similar question a couple days agoIamhoosier
Jun 20, 2003 2:06 PM
Someone posted a nice link that hit the nail on the head. Believe it was Buffalo Sports Medicine. You may want to go back a couple days on this board and find my topic.

I will attempt to post the link but I am worse with a computer than I am with a bike!! http://www.sportsmed.buffalo.edu/info/ulnar.html