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Carpal Tunnel issues

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My carpal tunnel is getting really bad while riding. The first 5-6 miles are okay, but then I won't be able to feel my hands. If I rest for 15-20min then I can feel them for a couple more miles but then they go numb again. Anyone have suggestions on how to improve this? Would biking gloves help?

Replies

  • DeliriumCanBeFun
    DeliriumCanBeFun Posts: 313 Member
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    I think gloves are a must, even without carpel tunnel issues. You get a better grip, the padding definitely helps the comfort level, and if you ever fall it will save your skin. My first pair a little tight and seemed to add to the numbness, so now I make sure they are just slightly loose around the fingers. Imo a proper bike fitting is the best money you will ever spend for cycling. The slightest thing out of line or miss sized can cause all sorts of pain and numbness. CTS can be extra tricky even with a proper fit though. I have recently upgraded my bars to full carbon like my frame, and the reduction in vibration has made a massive difference. And the set that I have now is slightly wider, enableing me to keep my wrists and hands from turning in too much. Sometimes I still get a little numbness, but I'm good to continue without resting if I shake that hand out or put it up behind my back for a bit. Good luck finding what works best for you!
  • nutmeg4204
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    Thanks for the info. I have proper fit on the bike, so I know I am good there. Have you ever used those bars that go out in front that you lean down on? I am wondering if I should buy a set of those since I think it would completely get the pressure off my wrists. Do you have a favorite brand of gloves that have good padding?
  • KaktusJaque
    KaktusJaque Posts: 141 Member
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    Its hard to tell you what glove to get because everyone is different. I will say however its best not to go cheap, at least in my case. I have gone through a few cheaper glove and they just didnt work for me. I decided to get a more expensive pair and my numb hand issue improved. The more expensive gloves have more research in them to help have the best outcome. You may have to try a few glove out to find the ones that work best for you. My hands get numb if I ride for any length of time and forget to move them around. So in addition to the gloves, I move my hands around every couple minutes and this helps a lot. Here a a few articles to read up on.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/466503-my-hands-go-numb-when-i-ride-my-bike/
    http://bicyclehabitat.com/faq/frequently-asked-questions-fq176/how-can-i-prevent-numb-hands-when-riding-47.htm
    http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/04/training-center/training-center-hand-numbness-solutions_168742
    http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/uncomfortably-numb-tips-for-healthy-hands
  • Lukejacksmum
    Lukejacksmum Posts: 30 Member
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    I get this after 10 or so miles and have learnt that if I take my hands off the bars for 30 secs at a time it improves! Also changing position on my bars really helps x
  • veloman21
    veloman21 Posts: 418 Member
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    I struggle with this on really long rides. Double wrapping my bars has helped dampen some of the road vibration and as mentioned good gloves are a big plus too.

    One thing you might want to check is that your saddle has not moved down at the nose slightly. This can cause more weight to be shifted onto the wrists and hands and causes a strain.

    Moving your hands to different positions on the bars and even contacting the bars with different parts of your hands may help as well. Otherwise rest and anti-inflammatories should help.
  • nutmeg4204
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    What did you wrap your bars with? This may help me. I ride on country roads and they can be quite bumpy.
  • kcjchang
    kcjchang Posts: 709 Member
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    Aero clip-on, they take a while to master and isn't the best for control. And no, have not desire to learn to ride with them. Most organized group ride shuns them and I keep clear of any rider using them. I'm sure there are masters out there but the general instability they introduce to the bike scares me. Just try leaning your body forward in a semi upright position (weight on the front wheel) and ride a few miles to see how squirrel your handling becomes.

    Have you try to raise the handle bar height or try a shorter stem so that you are sitting in a more upright position? I stop using groves after switch to cork tapes. Might want to give that and a good pair of groves a try. How long was it since your bike fit? Most fitter will provide followups (within a few months) and the fitter may able to refit you to a more comfortable position.
  • veloman21
    veloman21 Posts: 418 Member
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    What did you wrap your bars with? This may help me. I ride on country roads and they can be quite bumpy.

    I double wrap with Cinelli cork tape. It definitely improved the buzzing feel when going over chip seal roads. Another big improvement was to go to 25c tyres. You can run these at much lower pressure and the improvement in ride quality is staggering. On rough roads they handle and roll much better than 23c tyres.

    A carbon seat post can help too.
  • Archon2
    Archon2 Posts: 462 Member
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    Is it carpal tunnel problem? Or just numbness in the hand?

    A lot of numbness is due to just pressure. If you try to keep your grip light on the bars, and move your hand position very frequently, you might seen an improvement.

    When I'm a little tired, I tend to lean heavily on my arms instead of using my core, and I get numb hands within minutes as a warning!

    Maybe try to avoid putting pressure in between the heel of your hand, and also where your thumb joint connects to your palm. Nerves run through the areas there between the bones and pressure can definitely irritate them.
  • TheBigYin
    TheBigYin Posts: 5,686 Member
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    What did you wrap your bars with? This may help me. I ride on country roads and they can be quite bumpy.

    I double wrap with Cinelli cork tape. It definitely improved the buzzing feel when going over chip seal roads. Another big improvement was to go to 25c tyres. You can run these at much lower pressure and the improvement in ride quality is staggering. On rough roads they handle and roll much better than 23c tyres.

    A carbon seat post can help too.

    Either a Double Wrap (think they refer to it as Belgian Taping at my LBS, after the Spring Classics) of Cork tape, or, the Gel Inserts that Fizik and Specialiized make, with a single taping of cork-tape over them.

    Fizik...
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/fizik-bar-gel-set-with-tape/rp-prod27915

    Specialized
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/specialized/phat-wrap-padded-bar-tape-ec012114
  • DeliriumCanBeFun
    DeliriumCanBeFun Posts: 313 Member
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    Aero clip-on, they take a while to master and isn't the best for control. And no, have not desire to learn to ride with them. Most organized group ride shuns them and I keep clear of any rider using them. I'm sure there are masters out there but the general instability they introduce to the bike scares me. Just try leaning your body forward in a semi upright position (weight on the front wheel) and ride a few miles to see how squirrel your handling becomes.

    Have you try to raise the handle bar height or try a shorter stem so that you are sitting in a more upright position? I stop using groves after switch to cork tapes. Might want to give that and a good pair of groves a try. How long was it since your bike fit? Most fitter will provide followups (within a few months) and the fitter may able to refit you to a more comfortable position.

    This!!! I do ride solo a lot, but I don't do time trials or triathalons so I would never consider them. And I defo won't ride with anyone using them.

    I wear a pair of gel padded Specialized Body Geometry gloves that are the best I've ever found for me, and I use Lizard Skins 2.5mm bar tape. My stem is the one thing that I've adjusted since my fitting. I was experiencing pain between my shoulder blades when I first started riding and got a longer angled stem when I got fitted. While the original stem fit me, my upper body was not yet strong enough. Since I've become conditioned, I've gone back to the other stem and have more recently taken out spacers to get down even lower. If you're not using your core enough to hold yourself up, you will be putting too much weight and pressure on your hands. Try reminding yourself to not lock your elbows and keep from putting all your weight on your hands.
  • kcjchang
    kcjchang Posts: 709 Member
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    Forgot to mention that breaking take some adjustments too if you do decide to use an aero clip-ons. Go slow until you learn/mastered the effect that the difference in the weight distribution can have on stopping and maneuvering. Rider in this clip did not brace himself properly when he slammed on the breaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JKAIjKh8Jso

    It's less likely to happen when riding in the drops or on the hood but can too. Lucky for me, a slippery surface and a park car prevent me from the same fate when I was seven. I was riding a bike way too big, was inside the frame with top bar braced against on my right shoulder and hands in the drops, and couldn't make the 90 degrees turn. The breaking and the slippy surface cause me to slam sideways against the car before I could finish the somersault. It was a fun day.
  • shmulyeng
    shmulyeng Posts: 472 Member
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    First make sure the problem is or isn't Carpal Tunnel. My gut feeling is that it's not related to your Carpal Tunnel. The easiest way to tell a difference is by which fingers are numb. The Capral Tunnel will affect the inner fingers. Chances are it's your palm and outer fingers that are numb.

    Having faced the same problem, I went in to a bike shop for some advice. They suggested the Specialized Gel gloves as well as shifting positions more often. The combination of these two have greatly reduced my numbness.

    PS I've had Carpal Tunnel surgery after suffering from it for a while (way before my biking days). I haven't felt it even once since I started biking.
  • bridger48
    bridger48 Posts: 6 Member
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    Over due pressure on the hands during a ride will cause numbness as will exacerbation of a underlying condition of Carpel Tunnel Disease. Try these to ease your numb hands ; relaxing your grip, flexing periodically during the ride, adjustments to the bike to reduce weight being placed into the hands or new gloves.

    Do you know if you really have Carpel Tunnel Disease? Carpel Tunnel Disease usually effects only those parts of the hand reached by the damaged nerve. If the medial nerve is the cause the little finger is not effected. There are tests for Carpel Tunnel and degrees of the disease with varied symptoms, worth finding out.

    Most cyclist I know have experienced hand numbness during rides. Those of us that reached a certain age commonly have some nerve damage in our hands and feet, goes with life. While the numbness can be reduced and somewhat controlled, I find situational awareness is my best defense, not feeling your shifter or brake handle when needed is not fun.
  • Valpinglow
    Valpinglow Posts: 31 Member
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    I get numbness and tingling in my hands also and determined that it was ulnar nerve compression as opposed to carpal tunnel. I had a professional bike fitting in which my stem was shortened and my bars re-taped with thicker gel tape. I also started wearing gloves with gel padding. The numbness and tingling has improved but is still there. I suspect that part of the problem is because I am overweight, I am top-heavy therefore putting more pressure on my hands than other cyclists.
  • nutmeg4204
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    First make sure the problem is or isn't Carpal Tunnel. My gut feeling is that it's not related to your Carpal Tunnel. The easiest way to tell a difference is by which fingers are numb. The Capral Tunnel will affect the inner fingers. Chances are it's your palm and outer fingers that are numb.

    Having faced the same problem, I went in to a bike shop for some advice. They suggested the Specialized Gel gloves as well as shifting positions more often. The combination of these two have greatly reduced my numbness.

    PS I've had Carpal Tunnel surgery after suffering from it for a while (way before my biking days). I haven't felt it even once since I started biking.

    Okay, so maybe it isn't Carpal Tunnel? I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel quite a few years ago due to my numbness, but having stayed home with kids for nearly ten years I haven't had issues in quite awhile. I must have forgot which fingers were affected before, but yes, you are correct, this time it is the outer fingers and palm. I am going to be buying some gloves and practicing using my core more to put less pressure on my wrists. Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!!
  • nutmeg4204
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    I think you have successfully turned me off of those bars!! Lol.
  • shmulyeng
    shmulyeng Posts: 472 Member
    Options
    First make sure the problem is or isn't Carpal Tunnel. My gut feeling is that it's not related to your Carpal Tunnel. The easiest way to tell a difference is by which fingers are numb. The Capral Tunnel will affect the inner fingers. Chances are it's your palm and outer fingers that are numb.

    Having faced the same problem, I went in to a bike shop for some advice. They suggested the Specialized Gel gloves as well as shifting positions more often. The combination of these two have greatly reduced my numbness.

    PS I've had Carpal Tunnel surgery after suffering from it for a while (way before my biking days). I haven't felt it even once since I started biking.

    Okay, so maybe it isn't Carpal Tunnel? I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel quite a few years ago due to my numbness, but having stayed home with kids for nearly ten years I haven't had issues in quite awhile. I must have forgot which fingers were affected before, but yes, you are correct, this time it is the outer fingers and palm. I am going to be buying some gloves and practicing using my core more to put less pressure on my wrists. Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!!

    Let us know how it works for you.

    I just wanted to repeat. Ever since I got the Gel gloves and learned not to lean on my hands too much, my fingers and palms feel much better.
  • Archon2
    Archon2 Posts: 462 Member
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    While gloves and bar tape help, I think most of the solution is going to be mental (it was for me).

    Don't lean on your hands with a lot of weight. Use your core to balance and take weight off the hands.

    Move your hand positions, even a little bit, once or even twice a minute. Much more options here on a road bike for this.

    Rest a single hand when safe to ride with one hand. Then alternate.

    Don't grip the bar with the death grip when you are suffering on a hill. Relax your upper body and focus on your legs.

    When I am tired, I tend to forget the above, and the inevitable numb fingers come back :)
    Things are also getting better the less heavy I get, so if you are trying to drop weight, you might find that helps here a lot too.
  • blackcoffeeandcherrypie
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    I changed my handlebars so that they put pressure on my hands in a different place, easing it.

    I had a bar type handlebar (like a mountain bike) and I replaced it for a 'north road' handlebar from Raleigh (also known as 'bent back' or 'north rounder' handlebars).

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/handlebars/index.html

    The curve towards me eased the pressure on the outside of my hand, which was making my little finger and ring finger go numb, and vastly improved the problem. I went from having numb, tingly fingers for hours after riding, to just a little bit of tingling in the last 10 minutes of a 2.5 hour ride.

    'Experts' all told me that these handlebars would not improve the condition and that I was better with the 'bar' type handlebar. I would recommend trial and error and using your own judgement, as what works for one person is not what works for another.