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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having issues with my right hand and a sharp pain between my thumb and index finger. Since my stem was a bit long (I had a little bit of shoulder strain), I swapped out the 100 mm stem for a 90. This made my shoulder better, the hand pain still persists. I tend to take my right hand off more than my left (for grabbing water bottle and signaling turns). I also wear padded gloves, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

My theories are: my gloves are worn, angle of the bars/hoods or my stem might still not be right. I did have some initial elbow pain on my left arm after swapping the stem, but that was due to rewrapping the bars and had to remove the left shifter to run new cable housing, it was not aligned. After adjusting the left shifter, that pain has gone away.
 

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I have been having issues with my right hand and a sharp pain between my thumb and index finger.
I don't know your particular situation, but I had a fitting recently and they discovered that I needed a 40 cm handle bar (was 42 cm). The pain in my shoulders and hands after long rides disappeared quite magically. It may not have been the only factor - saddle position, height and tilt were changed too - but the difference is remarkable.
 

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I have been having issues with my right hand and a sharp pain between my thumb and index finger. Since my stem was a bit long (I had a little bit of shoulder strain), I swapped out the 100 mm stem for a 90. This made my shoulder better, the hand pain still persists. I tend to take my right hand off more than my left (for grabbing water bottle and signaling turns). I also wear padded gloves, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

My theories are: my gloves are worn, angle of the bars/hoods or my stem might still not be right. I did have some initial elbow pain on my left arm after swapping the stem, but that was due to rewrapping the bars and had to remove the left shifter to run new cable housing, it was not aligned. After adjusting the left shifter, that pain has gone away.
Agree saddle tilt and handlebar width makes a difference in how weight, or how much weight, is distributed to the hands, but the first thing I'd do would be rotate the brake hoods more horizontal, so that you can lay the hands on the tops and keep them aligned with the forearms.

Some guys have the hoods tilted up too far and when they hit a bump it all gets transferred from the hoods butted up to the hands, right where you have it, between thumb and index finger. Holding the hoods level enables the elbows to bend and fore arms to act as shock absorbers, and magically takes lots of pressure off the hands. The hands can absorb road shocks through the soft palms resting on the hoods and curves in the handlebars, rather than the crook between thumb and fingers taking all the shocks straight through the brake hoods.

That's the most obvious fix, I would think. Then of course keep the saddle level, so you can balance fore-aft and aren't "falling" forward on your arms. But that will stress the shoulders and arms too, not just the hands. With horizontal saddle and hoods, one can move fore-aft on the bike, too, and alleviate normal stress induced in the hands, arms, and shoulders.

Don't rely on the gloves to compensate for bad fit. All they can do is soften the blows, and not a hell of a lot! The problem is there's too much weight on the hands.
 

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Since my stem was a bit long (I had a little bit of shoulder strain), I swapped out the 100 mm stem for a 90. This made my shoulder better, the hand pain still persists.
Consider the possibility that shortening your reach was a mistake. Sometimes, riders think the bars are too far away when in fact they're too close and too high, putting your upper body into a state of tension with constant hand pressure against the bars.
 

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I have been having issues with my right hand and a sharp pain between my thumb and index finger. Since my stem was a bit long (I had a little bit of shoulder strain), I swapped out the 100 mm stem for a 90. This made my shoulder better, the hand pain still persists. I tend to take my right hand off more than my left (for grabbing water bottle and signaling turns). I also wear padded gloves, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

My theories are: my gloves are worn, angle of the bars/hoods or my stem might still not be right. I did have some initial elbow pain on my left arm after swapping the stem, but that was due to rewrapping the bars and had to remove the left shifter to run new cable housing, it was not aligned. After adjusting the left shifter, that pain has gone away.
While this may well be a fit issue it could also be a "body issue." For example, how strong is your core? If you have a weak core you may be putting a lot of pressure on your hands. Also, how long have you been riding? Your body just needs time for adaptation to cycling. Have you tried hand massage? It could be a pinched nerve that needs to be "released."

Worn gloves seems to be the least likely cause, though different gloves with a different padding structure might help. Do you ride on the hoods most of the time? Try alternating with riding on the drops.
 

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You could be pinching a nerve. Make sure you're not placing your hands on the bars near these points. You want your weight on your hands at the meaty part of your thumb and the web between your thumb and index finger.

 

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I'm with Kerry and Tig on this one - at a minimum, it's the quickest and cheapest theory to test. Keep an eye on where your hands are hitting the bar. But, also watch the angle of your hand relative to your wrist/arm.

Your triceps are your front suspension. Combined with a strong core, these two "systems" should be doing the work to support your weight and absorb the shocks.

Watch how many guys ride with their arms locked and shoulders hunched. This takes the load off the triceps and core - and not in a good way. With a slight bend in your elbows, you'll automatically engage your core more to take the weight off your triceps... that you just engaged more. That, in turn unweights your hands.

The other easy fix is to move more - tops, hoods, drops.
 

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Here's what worked for me. I moved my hands slightly back from the bend in the hoods. If you have the area between your thumb and forefinger pressed up against the hoods, you can get numbness. Try moving your hands back slightly so you are not pressing here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Agree saddle tilt and handlebar width makes a difference in how weight, or how much weight, is distributed to the hands, but the first thing I'd do would be rotate the brake hoods more horizontal, so that you can lay the hands on the tops and keep them aligned with the forearms.

Some guys have the hoods tilted up too far and when they hit a bump it all gets transferred from the hoods butted up to the hands, right where you have it, between thumb and index finger. Holding the hoods level enables the elbows to bend and fore arms to act as shock absorbers, and magically takes lots of pressure off the hands. The hands can absorb road shocks through the soft palms resting on the hoods and curves in the handlebars, rather than the crook between thumb and fingers taking all the shocks straight through the brake hoods.

That's the most obvious fix, I would think. Then of course keep the saddle level, so you can balance fore-aft and aren't "falling" forward on your arms. But that will stress the shoulders and arms too, not just the hands. With horizontal saddle and hoods, one can move fore-aft on the bike, too, and alleviate normal stress induced in the hands, arms, and shoulders.

Don't rely on the gloves to compensate for bad fit. All they can do is soften the blows, and not a hell of a lot! The problem is there's too much weight on the hands.
I did tweak my saddle angle a little bit and found out it was not straight. It was tilted forward slightly and pointed a little to the left. I also do think you're onto something about my hoods tilted up, as shown in this picture.

I tilted the bar down a little bit today and did notice a subtle difference on the ride to work. Although I need to go on a longer ride to see if it helped.

tlg said:
You could be pinching a nerve. Make sure you're not placing your hands on the bars near these points. You want your weight on your hands at the meaty part of your thumb and the web between your thumb and index finger.
The meaty part of my thumb and the web is the spot that is hurting. Specifically the Adductor pollicis is the part that hurts.

Kerry Irons said:
While this may well be a fit issue it could also be a "body issue." For example, how strong is your core? If you have a weak core you may be putting a lot of pressure on your hands. Also, how long have you been riding? Your body just needs time for adaptation to cycling. Have you tried hand massage? It could be a pinched nerve that needs to be "released."

Worn gloves seems to be the least likely cause, though different gloves with a different padding structure might help. Do you ride on the hoods most of the time? Try alternating with riding on the drops.
My core is fairly strong though not six pack strong. I have been commuting pretty consistently for the past year and was riding 20 mile rides 2-3 times a week before commuting for the year before that.
 

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I did tweak my saddle angle a little bit and found out it was not straight. It was tilted forward slightly and pointed a little to the left. I also do think you're onto something about my hoods tilted up, as shown in this picture.

I tilted the bar down a little bit today and did notice a subtle difference on the ride to work. Although I need to go on a longer ride to see if it helped.



The meaty part of my thumb and the web is the spot that is hurting. Specifically the Adductor pollicis is the part that hurts.



My core is fairly strong though not six pack strong. I have been commuting pretty consistently for the past year and was riding 20 mile rides 2-3 times a week before commuting for the year before that.
Wow, from your pictures I wouldn't just rotate the handlebar, but remount my brake/shifter so that it's horizontal. No wonder your having pain. Take off the handlebar tape, loosen the shifter/brake so that it forms closer to s horizontal surface for your hands to rest. You might need to change the length of your stem to account for the revised positioning. View attachment 316421

Should look somewhere closer to this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thanks for the responses. I guess I need a shorter stem still then. My left shifter was more forward (accidentally) which caused my elbow to lock out. I'll keep an eye out for a 40-60 mm stem.
 

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I guess I need a shorter stem still then. My left shifter was more forward (accidentally) which caused my elbow to lock out. I'll keep an eye out for a 40-60 mm stem.
I've never seen a stem shorter than 90mm for road bikes. It will position the "steering lever" too far behind the front wheel for optimum control; not enough weight over the front wheel.

I would make sure the saddle is level, viz. you're not sliding forward on it. And just rotate the levers down so the tops of the hoods and the bend on the handlebars provide a horizontal surface to rest your hands. If the levers are crooked up, they'll hit the hands straight on. That's most likely why the left hand is hurting.

Rider needs enough room to let the back be more or less flat. Too short a reach is a mistake. It crunches up the upper body and rider will be hunched over on the handlebars and want to raise the stem. Move the bars forward to allow a comfortable reach with the back flat. Once you get used to it, it'll go all day in reasonable comfort.

Its a bit like swimming, engaging all the muscles in the body, core, arms, as well as hips and legs. Upper body is in isometric tension, ready to hold the bars steady in hard efforts and climbing. On road bikes, rider wants about 40% weight on the bars and 60% on the saddle. That's the most comfortable positioning. The body will handle it better than upright on a short stem, upper body weight "falling on the saddle," or stretched out on a long stem, "falling on the handlebars." Once you get used to it, you'll likely put that 100mm stem back on!
 

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Thanks for the responses. I guess I need a shorter stem still then.... I'll keep an eye out for a 40-60 mm stem.
Don't be too surprised if this will have the opposite effect of the one intended. A competent fitter might be of help.
 

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I got what you originally said in an email, before the edit! :nono:

Put the gloves back on OP.:thumbsup:
I didn't see the pre-edit version but my interpretation of post-edit version is, don't use gloves as remedy to hand pain... :yesnod:
 

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You will want to move your brakes down first, then determine where to go. You may just be riding up on the hoods with the area in pain.
 
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