View Full Version : Hand problems

07-21-2005, 08:06 AM
I wear cycling gloves and I move my hands around a lot while riding but I am losing strength in my right hand to the point where I cannot even shift. The ill effects last and don't go away after the ride. I notice when I am not riding that I have trouble turning doorknobs and the key in the ignition of my car. I just don't have any strength left. After a few days, it does come back. Any suggestions?

Pedal Wench
07-21-2005, 08:11 AM
I was having problems with numbness in one hand - my ring and pinky had no feeling for a few days after long rides. I added gel padding to my handle bars, and invested in very good gloves. On my new bike, I'm using an Easton K-Wing handlebar, with a very wide grip. No more problems. I also make sure to move my hands often, loosen my grip, and shake out my hands as often as I remember.

I wear cycling gloves and I move my hands around a lot while riding but I am losing strength in my right hand to the point where I cannot even shift. The ill effects last and don't go away after the ride. I notice when I am not riding that I have trouble turning doorknobs and the key in the ignition of my car. I just don't have any strength left. After a few days, it does come back. Any suggestions?

07-21-2005, 08:14 AM
Are you leaning on your hands, or are you using your ab & back muscles to help support your upper body? I was told many years ago to use those muscles to support myself and to pull the weight off of my hands.

There was a recent discussion about loss of hand strength that you might find interesting. You can find it at http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=3215&highlight=hand.

--- Denise

07-21-2005, 08:51 AM
I had the exact same problem with my right hand, i.e. couldn't turn a key;
couldn't turn a doornknob, couldn't lift a coffe cup; couldn't do anything which caused my fingers to have to push downward - the same mechanism as when we shift gears. It turned out it wasn't related to riding, but was due to the fact that I had tinys fractures across the knuckles of my first and middle fingers. I didn't even know I had them, but I had "jammed" my hand in an auto accident. Six weeks later I had my hand x-rayed. Could you have injured your hand and not realized it? My hand healed up fine and there was nothing they could really do about it.

07-21-2005, 09:50 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I think I will try the gel padding...thanks Audio-A. It is funny since I don't have any problems at all with my left hand. I really don't think I am leaning on my bars too hard but I could be. I will read the links for that other post...thanks Denise. Nina- it is really interesting because what you are describing is exactly what I am feeling. It cannot think of any injury I have had. I guess about 9 years ago I got hit with a baseball in a bating cage which made me fracture a bone in my thumb, lost my thumb nail...maybe that never healed properly. I thought it was from riding but maybe it might be related to that. If that is the case, I am not sure what they could do now. I will try the gel padding and see what happens before I hit the hand doctor!!! Thanks.

07-21-2005, 10:10 AM
I had the same problem, but with my left hand. (maybe it has to do w/whichever hand is dominant?) If you see my post, you can see it got pretty serious. Every time I rode, it got back to the same level. I ended up forced to take a number of days off in a row (unrelated reasons) and my hand finally began to improve. I did also buy new gel gloves, move around as often as possible from the top to the hoods to the drop. I've had a little loss of hand strength since then, but nothing that's incapacitating (sp?). I'll probably switch over to gel tape as well. Hope this helps?

07-21-2005, 11:24 AM
I actually do have the 2.5mm phat bar gel tape from Specialized and I am going to switch it out for the 4.5mm on Saturday. We might play around with the handlebar rotation too to see if that helps. I try to do only one change at a time so I know what works. I will post again if I make any progress.

07-21-2005, 12:03 PM
Bikerjeane, several thoughts come to mind.

If your core muscles (abs and back are strong so you are not leaning on your hands), think about where the pressure is coming from. It may be no where near the palm of your hands.

A year ago I took a fall from my mtn bike. It has taken a yr to heal because I damaged the tendons. Any irritation causes a little swelling in my wrist which then pinches nerves cause numbness and lack of strength in my hand. The dr told me it could take a long, long time to heal but absolutely to not ride through the pain. Braking in the drops was horrendously painful but riding on the hoods was fine. I really paid attention my position and speed so I could compensate.

Changing the fit and postion from the norm: Are there any positions which don't cause the problem? Anything which cocked my wrist caused problems and since I ride road and mtn including bar ends on the latter, I had lots of positions and adjustments to test. You don't say whether this is a road bike or mtn bike. Which is it and have you really had an expert look at your position including wrist and hand positions. I get a lot of wrist pain from the common 3-5 degree bend flat bars stocked on mtnbikes and now use a 9 degree bar. Unfortunately, fixes like 9 degree bars takes an very experienced fitter or someone with a lot of bike knowledge who will think spatially and beyond the normal stuff on the LBS shelf. Ulnar Compression Syndrome will also cause the symptoms you're having. I ride with relaxed and slightly bent elbows, but I can't maintain the sharp elbow bend postion that many road racers use because I'll get symptoms much like you describe. I also like to have my road brake hoods tilted inward slightly for my hand and wrist comfort. The LBS will build the bike with these aimed straight forward unless told otherwise. On all my bikes, I'll close my eyes and kind of rotate brake levers, bars, etc. until my body says it's happy. I don't want my eyes to tell my body "this is where the component is supposed to go."

All this comes from 20 years of building up and riding tons of mtn and road bikes and being a position princess (ask my wrench boy hubby).

The gloves themselves: I have found that I get a lot of numbness from the particular gloves I wear. On the road, I hate PI GelLites because the pads cause a ridge in just the wrong spot on the pad of my thumb. My old PI White lines are much more comfortable and I'm trying some new Assos which don't have separation of the padding but a nice smooth palm. Only one short ride, but they did feel good.

Lastly get medical help and do not push through this pain. Inflammation that causes loss of strength is nothing to fool around with. Nerves are involved and unless you can determine exactly what is causing such a severe problem, you need to seek the help of a medical pro. Nerves do not rehab well. The cause of the symptoms can be nowhere near your hands.

07-21-2005, 12:21 PM
Thanks SadieKatie. I have a road bike...just got it a month ago so I am new to all of this so my husband is trying to help much like yours. He has been riding much longer than me. My bike is a Specialized Dolce Elite (women's bike). http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=11502 I am going to take a look at everything more closely tonight after getting such great replies from everyone here. My bike came with the Specialized phat gel tape that is 2.5mm. I am thinking about switching that out for the 4.5mm this weekend. I am really going to focus on my wrist position on the bars and hoods to see what angles are going on there and see if I can make some angle corrections. Since I am new at riding (putting in nearly 100 miles a week though training for a TNT 100 mile ride in October) I am not comfortable down on the bottom of my bars which may have a lot to do with it. I have a tendancy to really hit the brakes hard coming down hills and I am doing it from the top. After reading, my symptoms sound much more like a carpal tunnel thingy more than UCS. I think I am going to try a different pair of gloves too. Mine have pads in key areas instead of being more uniform and that could be doing it too.

07-25-2005, 06:51 AM
Good thing you asked this question! I have been feeling numbness in my right hand and was like what is going on? Now I know it's normal and I can do something to stop it so I can have a comfy ride.

07-25-2005, 09:00 PM
I just had a little finding in my last race(which I got 2nd overall :cool: )
Placing my small finger around the outside of the barend, instead of the normal 1 lever, 3 on the grip(mtb). It was instant improvement, since my hand was almost locked in place, then felt perfect.

08-01-2005, 09:10 PM
Here's a few hand/arm/back stretches that will help you out:

1. Hold up your arms in front of you at shoulder-height. Bend your left elbow at a 90 degree angle, do the same with your left wrist, bending it backwards, fingers towards you. Bend your right elbow as far as it will go, bend your right wrist so your fingers are pointing away from you, and bring your hands together so that fingers & palms are touching. Gently push your hands together so that your wrists get stretched, and hold. Then, swap positions so that you're doing the same but with your hands going the opposite direction.

2. Hold your arms in front of you at shouder height, palms down. Make a fist with one hand, and angle your wrist downward. With your other hand, press the fist so that you feel a little stretch in the back of your fist, and hold. Do the same with your other hand.

3. Hold your arms in front of you at shoulder height, palms up. Bend one wrist backwards as far as it will go. With your other hand, pull/press on your fingers and hold, but leave your thumb out of the stretch. Swap hands.

4. Do the same as #3, but palms up.

5. At stoplights or pause-points, stretch your shoulders & back by grasping your hands behind your back. And, to stretch your lower back, press your hands into your lower back, thumbs curled around your hips, for a moment or two.

One other thing that my LBS pointed out how to determine if I've been "straight arming" is callouses on the bottom of my palms. Straight arming comes from putting too much weight on your hands while riding. Your elbows aren't meant to support your whole upper body, but to flex & absorb bumps. Definitely strengthen your core muscles & try to bend your elbows a little while riding so as to evenly distribute your weight.

Pedal Wench
08-02-2005, 06:14 AM
I've been getting symptoms of trigger finger - my pinky and ring finger don't move smoothly - they snap from one position to the next. I've only gotten it a few mornings, and it's better in a little while. I don't know if it's cycling related, because the first time I got symptoms, I had been off the bike for over a week. I've only woken up with it for a few days, but it's really a weird thing.

08-06-2005, 04:30 AM
I had some really severe hand problems a few years ago, pre-riding days. No one could diagnose it. I went to an acupucturist and she cured it. She insisted that I keep my hands warm at all times - wearing gloves to do my barn chores and other outside stuff even when it was only a little chilly, making sure I waited til water was warm before I wash my hands.

Also, we tend to curl our hands and wrists up in all kinds of contortions when we sleep, restricting blood flow and healing. I wore braces that kept my hands and wrists in a straight but relaxed position.

I hope these ideas can help your hands heal up faster, too. :)