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Life Coach
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Does this happen to anyone of you? No hand pain,discomfort or numbness while riding. Bike fit seems great as I can comfortably ride 40-60 miles with no problems. When I'm done my pinky on my right hand is essentially paralyzed. It usually last for 4 to 5 days unless I put in more miles. I've searched the web and keep running into "handlebar palsy". I guess that my nerves in my right hand are just a little more sensitive :confused:

In the picture I am trying to put all my fingers together in a line....

 

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wyrd bið ful ãræd
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I think you need to keep changing your hand position. And intermittently, stand up and pedal as well.

I think a road bike posture is not the most ideal position for a human body. It fits some of us better that others.

I had numbness on my left palm the other day for the first time and took me awhile to 'shake' it away. Unsure which position actually caused it but thereafter I kept changing my riding position.

Stand or seated. Even when seated you can sit further forward or back. You can be in the drops, even here you have the position where you can pull in the brakes or right at the end of the bars, in the hoods, right at the corner at the bends or on top. And occasionally sit up straight and twist your upper body. And sometimes even stand with the pedal in the 3 and 9 o'clock position and stretch back such that your arms are straighten with your body weight over the back wheel. You can even stretch your hamstring with the pedal in the 6 o'clock position with your leg straighten and toe up.
 

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When I started I too could ride 20-50 miles with no problems... and then my hands hurt like hell for days. Numb pinky side palm, tingly fingers, aches, burning sensation. It doesn't always have to hurt on the bike, to be caused by the bike. If this is true, then the fit isn't great? a millimeter this way, a millimeter that way can make a big difference. Since I've had all sorts of issues with my palms, I can't tell you what ails you. I do know that a lot of people say higher and closer, too much weight. For me, after the fit, it turned out to be something slightly different...the angle my wrist made with the hood and bar was all wrong, leaving me with numb/burning palms for days. I used to run my bar parallel to the ground, which had me cocking my wrists down to grasp the hoods... it also put too much pressure pinky side. My fitter turned the bar up just a few degrees... now my wrists fall/drape over the hoods more naturally and weight is also distributed on the palm better as opposed to that hotspot on flat bars...if you run a large seat to bar drop, and have the bars flat, your wrists will naturally have a better angle at the hoods. When the bars are almost level with the seat, some upturn to the bars (so that the end of your drops is pointing towards your rear hub, or above it) helps...I found....your mileage may vary.

If it's just your wrists, and not your lower back, knees, behind knees, outer knees, shoulders you're close... the bars are the last thing I got right.
 

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Does this happen to anyone of you? No hand pain,discomfort or numbness while riding. Bike fit seems great as I can comfortably ride 40-60 miles with no problems. When I'm done my pinky on my right hand is essentially paralyzed. It usually last for 4 to 5 days unless I put in more miles. I've searched the web and keep running into "handlebar palsy". I guess that my nerves in my right hand are just a little more sensitive.
You might also consider other aspects of your life. I had long-lasting numbness of the bottom two fingers in one hand that seemed to be caused by some long rides. Then one night I woke up and found that those two fingers were asleep because I was sleeping on my arm and pinching a nerve. I now sleep with my arm outstretched and haven't had the problem since. Riding aggravated it but the root cause was sleeping on my arm.
 

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Just reaching out on a limb here, but maybe you have a deathgrip on the handlebars? I mean, you should guide the bike, not hold it in a death grip.

Other than that, try to change up your hand placement... hoods, drops, tops.
 

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Life Coach
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies...I do try to vary my hand position as well as my position on the bike...My typical ride usually dictates that. Maybe I'll try going gloveless next ride or picking up some padless gloves. I don't recall it happening in the cold weather when and I was wearing my winter gloves with to padding in the palm.
 

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You've done some damage to your Ulnar nerve. My son had this, thought it was from riding - in the end we figured out that it was from playing a game console too long.
The damage can be in elbow or wrist, you may have done it by sitting at a desk and resting your elbow on the desk, could be cycling, could be cutting off circulation, or a combo of all.

In regards to my sons damage, he had a complete recovery, the nerve will regenerate at 1mm per day. It seemed I knew more then the Orthopedic MD when we went in to have it looked at. He didn't have much to say, more sit around and wait and talk about rehab latter. We came up with our own exercises (rubber bands) and messages, when all was said and done the bad hand was stronger than the other hand. My biggest suggestion is don't let the muscle atrophy start working on the hand as the nerve regenerates.
 

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Cycling Dolomiti Friuli
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Your padless glove idea could work. I remember a few decades ago buying heavily padded gloves and being in agony. I eventually found some very thin leather-palmed lycra-backed gloves from UK, almost feels like you're gloveless. That worked for years but lately I'm getting left thumb pains in the joint where it attaches to my hand/wrist (maybe arthritis?) These are manageable by constantly changing hand position on road bike but still haven't figured a workaround for mountain biking.
 

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I had serious numbness problems with my hands. Tried all sorts of remedies -- thicker gloves, padded bar tape, moving hands around more often on bars, exercising core muscles, etc. The cure, in my case, was to raise my handlebar higher. When I raised my handlebar so it is the same height as my saddle, the numbness issues went away immediately and have never bothered me again. My bike is also much more comfortable for me to ride, and I am able to ride in the drops for as long as I want.
 

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Cooper1960
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I would try riding without gloves, sometimes I find my gloves have a tendency to pull the webbing tight between my fingers and that causes discomfort, though nothing like what you are experiencing.
 

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wrm
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I had serious numbness problems with my hands. Tried all sorts of remedies -- thicker gloves, padded bar tape, moving hands around more often on bars, exercising core muscles, etc. The cure, in my case, was to raise my handlebar higher. When I raised my handlebar so it is the same height as my saddle, the numbness issues went away immediately and have never bothered me again. My bike is also much more comfortable for me to ride, and I am able to ride in the drops for as long as I want.
You might find this comfortable but it doesn't address the underlying core problem. As for riding in the drops all day, if the drops are the same height as the hoods on a normal bike why wouldn't it be comfortable ? The vast majority of cyclists have their handlebars lower than the seat. Often much lower. Mine is probably 5 inches lower. And I've had neck surgery and two fused disks. I also ride without gloves. My hands move continually tops, corners, hood, drops and back. I don't even think about it.

<sarcasm> you could also put some "ape hangers" on your bike. That'd be comfortable too. </sarcasm>

Bill
 

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Interesting picture and and a number of attempts to explain you problem.some of them are close to the mark but not quite.you have transient compression to the deep palmar branch of the ulnar nerve. This is strictly motor which is the reason you have only weakness and not numbness.the terminal sensory branch comes off in the wrist and is not generally subject to pressure in the hand itself.the nerve supplies the interosseus muscles which adduct(bring together)your fingers.this is directly proportional

to how long the pressure is applied to the nerve.I fear you may run the risk of more permanent or long lasting nerve damage if you don't shake things up a bit.this may reflect a bike setup issue placing to much pressure on your palms or you could be in perfect position and simply have a predisposition to this problem.padding(more of it and not less)might make a difference or consider a flat bar such as a Fsa K wing. Good luck and ride safe.
 

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^^^ Sh*t just got real in here.

On a more serious note, glad to have you aboard Doc! There is enough newb pain and suffering on these boards to keep your virtual practice humming through the night, six nights a week. Ha.
 

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You might find this comfortable but it doesn't address the underlying core problem. As for riding in the drops all day, if the drops are the same height as the hoods on a normal bike why wouldn't it be comfortable ? The vast majority of cyclists have their handlebars lower than the seat. Often much lower. Mine is probably 5 inches lower. And I've had neck surgery and two fused disks. I also ride without gloves. My hands move continually tops, corners, hood, drops and back. I don't even think about it.

<sarcasm> you could also put some "ape hangers" on your bike. That'd be comfortable too. </sarcasm>

Bill
What exactly is the point you are trying to make? That it's only proper to ride a bicycle if your handlebars are 5" lower than the saddle? There are plenty of cyclists who are not comfortable with large amounts of drop, and running handlebars at the same height as saddles is not exactly resorting to ape-hangers.

I have been cycling for 40+ years and ride more than 8,000 miles a year. Riding all of that mileage I have figured out what works for me, and many other cyclists have reached similar conclusions. If you are comfortable riding with a 5" handlebar drop, good for you -- but it's a matter of individual fit and comfort, not something to brag about.
 

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wrm
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What exactly is the point you are trying to make? That it's only proper to ride a bicycle if your handlebars are 5" lower than the saddle? There are plenty of cyclists who are not comfortable with large amounts of drop, and running handlebars at the same height as saddles is not exactly resorting to ape-hangers.

I have been cycling for 40+ years and ride more than 8,000 miles a year. Riding all of that mileage I have figured out what works for me, and many other cyclists have reached similar conclusions. If you are comfortable riding with a 5" handlebar drop, good for you -- but it's a matter of individual fit and comfort, not something to brag about.
Try reading for content. Raising the handlebars does not address the core problem. I clearly stated this so it's not hard to see. The vast majority of road bikes have handlebars somewhat lower than the saddle. This does not cause problems for these riders hands. Plain enough ? If hands are a problem it's better to look for the cause. Most experienced riders quickly figure out that by bending the elbows and using them as shock absorbers and moving their hands periodically is a better solution.

Bragging ?!?!? I don't recall doing that. I provided empirical data. I know of riders who have had lower back problems and choose to ride in a more upright position. That's entirely their choice. But it wasn't because of their hands.

And yeah - I've been riding for well over 40 years too. And being rather old I think it's probably a fact that I have less flexibility than most.

Your turn Sparky.




Bill
 

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Pass the popcorn please!!
 

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It really doesn't matter if "most" cyclists ride with their handlebars lower than their saddles, although I am not really certain that this is a true statement aside from pro cyclists and racers. What matters is what works for an individual cyclist.

In my case, I injured my neck as a child. My neck literally will not flex like most people, and if I ride with my handlebars lower it pinches a nerve and my hands go numb. It took me several years of experimentation and a trips to the doctor, chiropracter and X-rays to figure out what was going on.

But that's beside the point. There are many serious cyclists who simply are not comfortable riding with low handlebars. For proof -- go to any group ride, and you will see many bikes with riser stems and tons of spacers. It's also one of the leading complaints from people who try cycling and then quit or only ride occasionally. Finally, there is a whole school of cyclists -- Grant Peterson of Rivendell being the most prominent -- who advocate riding with higher handlebars for comfort as well as fit.

If you are a pro cyclist or race, you probably need low handlebars for the aerodynamic advantages. For the average cyclist, low handlebars achieve no purpose at all unless you just so happen to find them more comfortable and aerodynamics are important to you. BTW, the aerodynamic issue is really not a big deal with higher handlebars because you can overcome that by riding in the drops -- something that most cyclists with low handlebars seldom do judging from the group rides I have participated in.
 
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