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Thread: Numb fingers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24

    Numb fingers

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    I'm new to this forum and don't know if this is the right place for this question, but here goes.

    I occasionally experience numbness in my fingers on rides that go longer than an hour. I try shaking my hands and every other thing, but the feeling takes some time to subside. Does anyone else experience this? Are there tips for dealing with it? Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    268
    What is your hand position on the handle bars? Do you have any history of wrist or neck issues?

    I've struggled with wrist tendonitis for years now, and I can't ride with my hands flat on the top of the bars. (Originally used it as an excuse not to do spinning ~ that didn't last long, and now we're on the road!) I have to ride holding the outside of the bar or in the hoods, so my thumbs are facing up & there is no break in my wrist - just a flat line knuckles to elbow.

    Might also have something to do w/ bike fit, reach, etc...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Reston, VA
    Posts
    19
    If you are not using gloves, get some! I use Pearl Izumi gel gloves, but in spite of this I've gotten a bit of numbness in my hands the last couple of times out. Each time I experienced it was after being down in the drops for an extended period. When I rode yesterday, I got out of the drops on a couple of downhill jaunts and the numbness went away. I may have to experiment with a different handlebar stem in order to get some of the weight off my hands- not sure about this yet...

    wendy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
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    3,150
    Numbness is very common. Position (especially being sure to change it) and gloves can both help. I'm grateful I sort of automatically do the right thing, due to those early years learning piano and that typing class ... wrists STRAIGHT, ladies! (Thank you for enduring my attitude, Ms. Zaremba!) Or... explore moustache handlebars... (Rivendell has 'em)
    Last edited by Geonz; 05-31-2006 at 01:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I don't have any neck or wrist issues but I do spend lots of time with my hands flat on top of the bars. I'll try moving around a bit more tomorrow. I wear the Pearl Izumi gel gloves as well. Interestingly, when I wear a full glove in the winter, the numbness doesn't happen. I can't wear those full gloves in this humidity, though, so I'll experiment with hand positions a bit more and see if that helps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Chandler, AZ
    Posts
    281
    Try some other gloves as well. I wear Adidas gloves and find them more comfortable. Certainly move your hands around a bit as well. Tinglining is similar to cramping. You may need more electrolites especially now, when temperatures are getting higher.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pewaukee, WI
    Posts
    18
    Different gloves can make a difference! I was wearing the PI Gel Lite gloves. I found that the padding ran across my hand funny and was squishing a nerve that caused hand numbness. I now use the PI Gel Vent Pro gloves and they have made a huge difference, along with forcing myself to change hand positions often.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2

    could be Raynaud's

    Have you ever noticed whether your fingers go numb when you are not riding? Like when you are cold or under stress? I have Raynaud's Phenomenon, which is a condition in which something triggers the blood vessels in the extremities (fingers, toes, hands, feet) to constrict, causing numbness (among other things). Although my RP is a hereditary rheumatic form, RP can also be acquired as a result of trauma and it is common to see in bikers who experience a lot of road vibration. Vibration triggers mine all the time. Good gloves help - I also have the Trek "buzzkill" ends in my handlebars and that seems to help as well. There isn't really a "test" for RP - just symptomology - but you might want to check with your doc if it is becoming a big problem. There are test for the various rheumatic conditions that can cause it. RP isn't necessarily dangerous in and of itself - but the one thing my doctor is adamant about is that I must never ever smoke (not that I would anyway, but apparently that can create havoc with RP because of tobacco's constricting effect)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Sonoma County, CA
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    658
    You may want to check the angle of your saddle as well. If the "nose" is pointed a little too far downward, your body may be pitching forward just enough to put too much pressure on them. The slightly down nose position initially felt more comfortable to me, but it was leading to numbness in the hands.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    30

    tense shoulders?

    I recently read an advice letter about the same thing and they said to check the position of your shoulders while you ride. Apparently where your brachial plexus (the nerves that supply everything to your arms) exits the base of the neck through the scalene muscles, can be affected by shoulder position. If you squash these nerves before they even get to your arms it can cause numbness. To relieve it we often sit up a bit and shake the hands around so we think its the hand position but it is often at the shoulder/neck. You wont be getting pain in the neck though as its just the nerves passing through the scalenes.
    I get numb fingers on my upright commuter and had noticed it was more in the head-wind and when I was pushing it harder. My instinct is to hunch up my shoulders when I ride hard. I now make a conscious effort to relax my shoulders, even to pull them down, towards my waist and it has really improved.
    Worth a try?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    What the good Dok-Torrr said. Think about keeping your shoulderblades pulled down toward your bra strap and your sternum held up proudly. (get that lower trap working!)
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Mrs. KnottedYet
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    9,075
    obviously we all use computers, and some of this is just a risk of too much "screen time".

    So make sure your computer situation at home and work is ergonomicly sound. And try to log off more...except for TE of course.

    It's important to get up, move around, stretch at work. There are excercises I do at my desk for hands and arms.
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
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    Usually this means too much of your body weight is being supported by your hands. Sometimes moving your saddle back a tad can help redistribute your weight, as long as that doesn't negatively impact your knee over pedal position. Anywhere from neutral to 2 cm back though is good for power and hill climbing, so unless your saddle is already very back moving it a little further may help. Try small changes though, say 5mm at a time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Bedford, MA
    Posts
    212
    I noticed too that with my Fuji I have I have more numbness than the Luna. I think it has to do with fit. I have to reach farther with the Fuji and I think the stem is too long. I am not sure what it is doing with my shoulders but the numbness is worse the more stretched out I am it seems.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    30
    The stretch out probably does put more tenseness in your shoulders.
    A very wise guy on the cyclingnews.com Q&A section (it is great for bike fitting/cleat adjustment tips) said that if you ride along on the drops and move your hands just off the bars you shouldn't have to shift on the saddle nor feel as if you are going to fall forwards when your reach and saddle height are right. (Do not do this on a group ride!)

 

 

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