Touring - Partial finger paralysis?
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05-29-09, 06:55 PM
I have been touring for about two weeks now and I am having trouble with my left hand. I have all the feeling in my fingers, but i can't straighten them very easily or complete menial tasks. Flicking things is impossible. i'd just like to know that it is not going to last.
05-29-09, 07:35 PM
Injuries / pain etc like that is rarely permanent.
However, I'd try to change things asap. If you're using drops, I'd try cushier gloves, different hand positions, bar gels, lower PSI tires, maybe get your fit checked.
05-29-09, 07:55 PM
I had that too on week #2 of last summers X-country trip. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=3Tzut&page_id=79097&v=SY Didn't hurt, I just had trouble making them work. My naturopath called it nerve compression and said it would go away if I got some good gloves and added some clip-on aero bars. I did and I saw results within 2 days. I wasn't bothered by it at all the rest of the trip.
05-29-09, 09:51 PM
On a recent tour I developed the habit of riding with my wrists sitting on the point where the handlebar extensions meets the handlebars. I had trouble writing and had limited feeling in the tops of fingers 4 and 5 for about a month and a half. It went away and now I'm 100% ok. As mentioned, the type of problem you describe is, thankfully, rarely permanent.
05-29-09, 10:15 PM
Yeah, happened to me too - little finger and outside half of ring finger numb and hands clumsy for about 3 weeks after I stopped riding. Totally fine after that. I switched to drop bars and it never came back.
05-29-09, 11:16 PM
I get this as well. It's a repetitive injury and without doing something to remedy it, it can cause further damage along the line.
I've always worn gloves and on my last long tour I got more thickly padded gloves than normal but not only did the pain return it did so more quickly and I found that padded gloves seem to add to the problem. I decided to try riding without padded gloves all together and found that (disclaimer here) that for me it took much longer to develop the symptoms. Since then, I've found that padded handlebars (without PADDED gloves) work best, giving me more road time without trouble. I also do arm stretches while in the saddle, including pressing against my handlebars and flexing my wrist and and stretching my forearms. I also found (another disclaimer) that working to keep my upper body weight down also helps.
Of course (last wishy washy disclaimer) this may not work for everyone but it does for me.
Cheers and good luck!
05-30-09, 05:33 AM
Is it your middle finger, cause I get that riding in traffic. HA.
Its caused by high frequency vibration you experience while riding.
My hands used to go tingly and sorta numb after sawing for more than an hour. Which is not good when you're handling a chainsaw. Went away after a few hours. Never had that problem on a bike, though.
Try padded (gel) gloves, more bar padding (double wrap them, or try those gel pads), and changing hand positions frequently while riding.
Dan The Man
05-30-09, 08:57 AM
I got into the habit of riding down low with my forearms resting on the top of the handlebars as one of my main positions, like triathalon positioning but without the tri bars. This relaxes your wrists and biceps but it forces your head down more and makes you kink your neck to look up. Of course you have to be comfortable enough steering your bicycle with your elbows and you would have trouble swerving hard.
I probably ride on the hoods or sides about 50% of the time, on the crossbars about 20%, elbows 20% and drops 10%.
05-30-09, 11:48 AM
This can be because of ulnar nerve neopathy in the ring & pinkie fingers. Stretch often, get good gloves and don't put pressure on your elbow (ulnar nerve is close to the surface here (funny bone)
05-31-09, 08:23 PM
Also, my problem was carpal tunnel from riding. What my doctor prescribed was wrist supports (http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=303935&navAction=jump&navCount=1&id=prod3543919) when I sleep and adjustments to my bike. The wrist supports were to handle bending the wrist in during sleep, which when combined with the bike caused the carpal tunnel.
06-01-09, 06:50 AM
Don't worry about it, the numbness will go away when you get off the bike. I still get the symptoms when riding my LeMond for long distances. It is all about weight transfer from your body to your bike. Has to go somewhere: butt, hands, or feet. Probably some adjustment could be made to your bike to change the transfer but I would not offer a solution.
06-02-09, 01:48 PM
Hey! Thanks everyone for their responses. I actually tried riding without my gloves and it started improving instantly. I'm glad to hear these kinds of things go away.
06-02-09, 03:38 PM
One of the things that helped me with this is undoing the velcro on my glove, the pressure of the glove on my wrists seemed to make this worse. I now ride without my gloves closed up most of the time.
I had some nerve injury to my left hand [used less than my right] last summer on a bike tour. It cleared up completely, but took several months to do so - damage only took 4-5 days of riding. I wouldn't keep riding unless you resolve the problem as you can end up with permanent damage.
I'm with Vik, don't tolerate nerve injury as though it's a normal part of long distance riding. Damage is damage. It's not like recovering from a long hard effort and muscle fatigue. It's damage. This is where I prefer drops over straight bars and bar ends but everyone is different. Moving hands around a lot, flexing them often, stretching arms while riding, ensuring that your arms are never straight with dead weight on the bars but dynamic with flexed elbows. You may find different gloves worthwhile but it's primarily how you rest your weight and anchor your hips through your arms.
Wrist and hand nerve damage is serious (and as LeeG points out, it's damage, not fatigue). Your body will work to repair the damage when you get off the bike, but you're doing yourself cumulative harm that may contribute to bigger problems down the line.
Is it going to last? No, it will get better. But if you're looking forward to a lifetime of pain-free cycling, now is the time to start figuring out what combination of handlebars, gloves, and fit adjustments will let you avoid abusing your hands.
I used to have wrist pains all the time, so I stopped using drop bars. I now use a Nitto Albatross. It puts my hands in a natural position(like shaking hands) and I have more places to put my hands that with drop bars. I use thumbshifters and TT bar end brake levers. These are the ultimate touring bars for me. Use them with a longer than drop bar stem.
More padding never helped, nor do gloves. Once the hands are in a non stressful place, no extra padding or gloves are needed. :)
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