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  1. #1
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    numb finger = weak core?

    Since a "long" (5-6 mile/40 minute/pretty intense effort) ride the other week, I've had numbness in the tip of my left ring finger, whenever I ride. It mostly gets better between rides, and I've read that this can happen from nerve compression/leaning too hard on the handlebars, so I'm trying to figure out how to not do that.

    I've had to raise my seat to the point that it's level with the handlebars - about 4" of seatpost showing on my Raleigh Venture. Will raising the handlebars help? I'm also practicing riding one-handed, in hopes that doing so will force me to strengthen my core muscles, which I'd think will also help.

    Does anyone else have experience with this? What did you do to solve it?

  2. #2
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    It sounds like you are crammed in the cockpit. Try sliding your seat back on the rails, or tipping your handlebars forward. You may also want to purchase bar-ends to give you more grip options.

    My hands get numb also. I am always changing positions to keep them comfortable.

    I do NOT recommend riding one-handed. Things happen so quickly...
    http://www.trailerparkboys.org/forum...fault/beer.gif In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria. -Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Possibly, Becky. It's not the only one though.

    I see your bike has an adjustable stem, so I'd try to bring it up a little bit. Padded gloves will also help, if you aren't already using them.

    Also, remember to shake out your hands every so often to restore circulation, and maybe some bar ends or trekking bars for more hand positions?
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  4. #4
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    Thanks - I'm not sure "crammed in" is the problem - I actually feel like I'm having to reach for the handlebars, now, and my elbows are nearly straight. It's good to hear this is a very fix-able problem, though. I'd hate to do my hands any permanent damage!

    You're probably right about one-handed, 51. No worries, I've only done it when going slow on a nice, newly paved multi-purpose trail.

    Tom, good ideas - I didn't know those were a possibility on a bike like mine. Looks like I'll be going to my LBS soon... needed some adjustments, anyway

  5. #5
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyW
    Thanks - I'm not sure "crammed in" is the problem - I actually feel like I'm having to reach for the handlebars, now, and my elbows are nearly straight. It's good to hear this is a very fix-able problem, though. I'd hate to do my hands any permanent damage!
    OK, if you are having to stretch, then slide the saddle forward on the rail mount a bit and definitely raise that adjustable stem. Don't forget to rotate the handlebars to a comfortable position because when you adjust the stem, it will change the HB angle as well.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  6. #6
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tom. I'll try that. The good news about all this is, now that my seat's finally high enough, I feel like I have twice the power I had before!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    "The good news about all this is, now that my seat's finally high enough, I feel like I have twice the power I had before!"
    It's amazing what even minor adjusts will do! Easier on the knees too.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    Keep adjusting and wear some heavily padded gloves. But there still might be some conditioning needed before the pain completely goes away. Best of luck.

  9. #9
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Definitely consider bar ends. My first bike was a comfort and I never fully got rid of occasional finger numbness. Once I put on bar ends (sometimes called bull horns) for more hand positions, the problem significantly decreased.
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  10. #10
    Support JDRF b_young's Avatar
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    I have similar problems. 2 weeks ago I did a 110 mile ride. I still do not have complete feeling in my left pinky. I use padded gloves but no adjustable handlebar. I sometimes ride one handed just for that reason. My middle toes on both feet were numb as well after the long ride but all is well with them. My finger is starting to worry me. I had a fit done at the lbs, the day before the ride. Let me know if you find the thing that works.

    btw
    I am in Russellville, I am planning on the tour de cure this fall in NW ark, maybe we will get a chance to say "Hi"
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  11. #11
    awaiting uci approval tombailey's Avatar
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    Are you wearing a ring/rings? I haven't found it too bad for cycling but had some serious problems with finger pain playing golf in my wedding ring. just a thought.

    x

  12. #12
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Nerves and feeling usually come back. Once I was drilling a 1/8 inch dia. hole in some auto body sheet metal. The bit broke and the jagged remainder in the drill went through my thumb nail and out the other side of my thumb. (It sounds worse than it really was.) It was at least ten years before feeling came back to part of the tip of that thumb. In your case, you probably just pinched a nerve.
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  13. #13
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    While you are at the LBS you might want to ask for a fit. I was experiencing wrist pain when I first got my bike. I, like you, also felt that I was reaching for the handlebars and then also putting too much weight on my hands. What fixed it was actually sliding my seat BACK on the rails and swapping out for a LONGER stem. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I do know that it is now much easier to put less weight on my hands than it was before.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    Thanks all, lots of good advice here. I'm definitely going to ask my LBS to at least watch me ride a bit, to see if they have any other recommendations for adjustments. I'm totally ignorant about bar ends, and what they'll do to how I sit/ride, but it sounds like they're definitely worth a shot. I hope to "graduate" to a road bike in a year or so, once I've lost some weight and built up some strength, so maybe they'll help with training for that?

    b_young, I had thought the Tour de Cure was more of a distance event, but just looked and saw that there's a 10 mile route... I may just register for that! Surely I can add 4 miles between now and October. Feel free to email me to get in touch.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Becky, if you ride frequently, I'm sure you'll add 4 miles in a couple weeks ;-)

  16. #16
    Senior Member Winter76's Avatar
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    Check out Ergon brand handle grips, they are specifically designed to reduce numbess when cycling.

    http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/grips/grip_ergonomics.html
    3 years commuting while there's no snow on the ground. 20km round trip.
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    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!

  17. #17
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    I had numbness problems with my MTB. The things that helped were:
    bar ends
    ergon grips
    riser bars
    riser stem
    ironman gloves

    The ironman gloves had helped with a case I had with my road bike. I also added aerobars.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    4 miles in a couple weeks is probably right! I ride 4-6 times a week, varying from 3-6 miles, right now (walking too). That's up from ZERO, five weeks ago, and I've been consistently amazed at how easy it is to increase distance, and getting my bike fitting properly should let me improve that much faster!

    I'm going to my LBS tomorrow, I imagine I'll make one or two of these changes at a time, in the interest of saving money. I imagine it'll be raising the handlebars a bit and any other bike adjustments, probably some gloves (should have those anyway), and possibly bar ends.

    Edit: just had a look at the Ergon grips - those look fantastic! Thanks!
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  19. #19
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winter76
    Check out Ergon brand handle grips, they are specifically designed to reduce numbess when cycling.

    http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/grips/grip_ergonomics.html
    Those are sweet I gotta get a set of those.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Winter76's Avatar
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    The Ergon grips have really helped me. It used to be any ride longer than 5miles/8km and my wrists would start hurting and my hands would be numb so I'd have to keep sitting back and shake my hands until the feeling came back. With the Ergon grips I'm good for 12.5 miles/20km before any pain starts and so far no numbess.
    3 years commuting while there's no snow on the ground. 20km round trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by madfiNch
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!

  21. #21
    Weekend Warrior
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    I have the same problem on my MTB and road bikes, but in my case due to nerve damage on my upper arm. The things that help me most are:

    * Bar ends on MTB, drops on Road (moving my hands often)
    * Padded gloves
    * Exercising the numb hand (stretch, etc during your ride, WELL before it goes numb).
    * Less weight on the wrist

  22. #22
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    I had the same problem with my RB. I adjusted everything except foward/aft position of the saddle. Contrary to conventional wisdom, moving the seat BACKWARDS reduces the weight on hands/arms/wrists. By moving your body's center of gravity further back (behind the crank) even by just an inch or so, dramatically shifts weight off your hands. I moved my seat back as far as it could go, and the numbness went away.

    You'll need a friend to hold the bike up, or set it on a wind trainer. Sit on your bike with your hands on the handlebars and the crank arms horizontal. If you have a drop bar, hold the bar out on the brake hoods. Try taking your hands off the bar without moving your torso. If it's a strain to hold your torso in that same position, that's an indication of the work your arms are doing to hold you up.
    That quote is from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm, where has a great writeup on the importance of fore/aft positioning of the seat (among other things). This may be old new to everyone, but I was blown away by the comfort difference.

  23. #23
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the advice - I have at least an improvement, and possibly some of the problems solved! Got Ergon grips, gloves, and raised my handlebars (the nice guy at my LBS did it for me), also got a computer and a few other odds and ends. Did a little test ride and felt a huge difference, so I'm really looking forward to riding again!

    I sadly had to take today off from biking, so I couldn't try out my new toys. Before I went in yesterday, I went for a ride, just in case they had to keep it a day or two, and ended up going 7 miles, which is a new personal best! One of my knees hurt a bit (front of knee, above kneecap) - LBS thinks it might be my foot position on the pedal, which has been a bit too far outside. I think I'll be ok for at least a short-ish ride tomorrow, so I can enjoy the improved upper-body fit/comfort, and concentrate a bit more on my form/foot position.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

  24. #24
    Senior Member BeckyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erkme73
    Contrary to conventional wisdom, moving the seat BACKWARDS reduces the weight on hands/arms/wrists. By moving your body's center of gravity further back (behind the crank) even by just an inch or so, dramatically shifts weight off your hands. I moved my seat back as far as it could go, and the numbness went away.

    That quote is from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm, where has a great writeup on the importance of fore/aft positioning of the seat (among other things). This may be old new to everyone, but I was blown away by the comfort difference.
    I've got my saddle back as far as it'll go - I guess a comfort bike is just designed for a more upright position, not the leaning-forward position I had it in? I've already decided that my next bike is gonna be a road bike that FITS. I think that'll be my "100 lbs lost" present to myself, hopefully sometime next spring/early summer.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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