Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a 20+year MTBer who recently starting road biking.

My problem is that I'm getting left sided carpal tunnel symptoms whenever I'm on the hoods or drops. I've not had this problem with MTB. I've already tried several different types of gloves without improvement. My hands are fine when flat on the top part of the bar, but this gives me the least amount of control. The pain is classic carpal tunnel (I'm very familiar with it) and is most pronounced on long descents. Yesterday I climbed up Vail pass and I had to stop several times on the 8+mile descent to shake out the numbness.

I'm suspecting my problem is related to handlebar height & drop and perhaps hood position. Also, I'm a bit narrow shouldered. My hands are slightly greater than shoulder width apart when on the hoods or drops.

The bike is a Speshy Roubaix comp with a short drop bar and Shimano 105.


Bar height is about an inch lower than saddle. I started with bars even with saddle but it really was no better/worse.

Any words of wisdom regarding...
- optimal bar to stem heigh
- bar width: anyone think there is value in me going a bit narrower?
- getting a bar with more drop? The stock bar has "narrow drop"

I'm pretty saavy about bikes from my years MTBing and have the saddle & cleats pretty well adjusted.

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
I've just started road biking myself and noticed that my fingers fell asleep as well. My handle bar is too far away for my torso, and angled too far down. (It makes sense to me because I have short torso, short arms, but longer legs.) Tcon bought an adjustable stem and while it has helped a little, it still needs further adjustment.

As for you going with a more narrow drop- there may be value. I say try it. And bring the bar in closer to you so that you are comfortable in the drops. It sure beats the alternative (CTS)...

Good luck.
 

·
Frog Whisperer
Joined
·
41,515 Posts
I ride 40 cm nitto randonneur bars.....they are amazing...VERY old school....I find them to be far more anatomically friendly than ANY ergo bars I have ever used. I had a very serious left wrist fracture a few years ago...and I can shift with no pain now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
I had pain in my right hand and elbow shortly after first few rides this year. I took the tip from this board to change hand position often and shake them loose once a while. I have not had any pains in the hands or arms since. I only get pain in the quads.... and they are getting bigger and harder.
 

·
Gruntled
Joined
·
3,775 Posts
My first suggestion would have been to raise your handlebar, to take weight off your hands, but it sounds like you've already tried that. Is your saddle level? If it's angled downward that can put weight on your hands too. I think the next thing I'd try is a shorter stem. After that, experiment with moving the hoods and maybe some different bars.

Basically, I think this has to be solved by changing your position, not by using more heavily padded gloves (or bar wrap), which will just disguise the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Jim Nazium said:
My first suggestion would have been to raise your handlebar, to take weight off your hands, but it sounds like you've already tried that. Is your saddle level? If it's angled downward that can put weight on your hands too. I think the next thing I'd try is a shorter stem. After that, experiment with moving the hoods and maybe some different bars.

Basically, I think this has to be solved by changing your position, not by using more heavily padded gloves (or bar wrap), which will just disguise the problem.
So I stopped by a shop that I trust yesterday.

A few things were brought to light:
1. Raise the handlebars a bit and change the angle
2. Drop the saddle height slightly - I was a bit overextending at the knee
3. Saddle tilt was indeed slightly off

We made these changes and a quick test ride did indeed show improvement. But what was also brought to light was that I should really be on a 56cm frame and mine is a 54. My bike only had 2 rides on it and the owner (who is the local dealer for the brand I'm riding) graciously accepted a trade-in for the correct size frame + some cash to make the deal fair for both us. I'm a bit of a tweener between those two sizes but after measuring me in ways I didn't know was possible :D he's confident I should be on the bigger frame.

Before pulling the trigger I test rode my bike with the geometry changes and then tested the bigger frame. I'm optimistic things will be OK now.

BONUS: the newer bike has better components and I lost almost 1.5 pounds (and a bunch of dollars)

Thanks for the suggestions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Are you sure you dont have low thyroid? low thyroid will give carpal tunnel like symptoms.
you should see a doctor.

The Squeaky Wheel said:
I'm a 20+year MTBer who recently starting road biking.

My problem is that I'm getting left sided carpal tunnel symptoms whenever I'm on the hoods or drops. I've not had this problem with MTB. I've already tried several different types of gloves without improvement. My hands are fine when flat on the top part of the bar, but this gives me the least amount of control. The pain is classic carpal tunnel (I'm very familiar with it) and is most pronounced on long descents. Yesterday I climbed up Vail pass and I had to stop several times on the 8+mile descent to shake out the numbness.

I'm suspecting my problem is related to handlebar height & drop and perhaps hood position. Also, I'm a bit narrow shouldered. My hands are slightly greater than shoulder width apart when on the hoods or drops.

The bike is a Speshy Roubaix comp with a short drop bar and Shimano 105.


Bar height is about an inch lower than saddle. I started with bars even with saddle but it really was no better/worse.

Any words of wisdom regarding...
- optimal bar to stem heigh
- bar width: anyone think there is value in me going a bit narrower?
- getting a bar with more drop? The stock bar has "narrow drop"

I'm pretty saavy about bikes from my years MTBing and have the saddle & cleats pretty well adjusted.

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
Classic carpal tunnel is when the nerves are pinched in the tunnel, most often when the wrist is flexed in. The carpla nerve affects the thumb and next 4 fingers. The pinky is on a different nerve.

So, where are you getting the numbness? For me, with my carpal tunnel, I flex my wrists up or ut to get the feeling back. Sometimes I do get numbness when riding, and you just need to try altering your hand position.

But numbness can also occur due to pinching nerves further up your arm. Best to get a NCV and electromiography test to see if you have nerve damage or function.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
rugger said:
Classic carpal tunnel is when the nerves are pinched in the tunnel, most often when the wrist is flexed in. The carpla nerve affects the thumb and next 4 fingers. The pinky is on a different nerve.

So, where are you getting the numbness? For me, with my carpal tunnel, I flex my wrists up or ut to get the feeling back. Sometimes I do get numbness when riding, and you just need to try altering your hand position.

But numbness can also occur due to pinching nerves further up your arm. Best to get a NCV and electromiography test to see if you have nerve damage or function.
I believe you are referring to the median nerve when you state "carpal nerve".

What I'm feeling is definitely carpal tunnel syndrome. No doubt about it. It's something I diagnose and treat professionally every day of my life :wink: On the other hand, I know very little about proper road bike positioning.

So far things are good with the different hand position that comes along with the bigger frame. I'll consider ordering EMG/NCV on myself it it begins to recur, but so far-so good on with the bigger frame and hand positioning.

Thanks again for the suggestions folks. I do appreciate it.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top