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Thread: Elbow Pain

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    Elbow Pain

    Lately when I ride, I have been having elbow pain. I dont think I lock my elbos because there is a slight bend to them so I am not sure the reason behind this.

    I got home tonight with a little light left outside so I went riding. Felt great except for my elbows. Only after four miles, they hurt. It hurt to bend my elbow to touch my lips and also to straighten my arm completely. Also, it hurt to squeeze the water bottle too.

    Any thoughts?

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    Seems like you're having quite a few fit-related problems. Have you thought about paying for a professional fitting?

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    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Seems like you're having quite a few fit-related problems. Have you thought about paying for a professional fitting?
    ^^^^ This.

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    I can relate to this.... I developed some re-occuring tendonitus a few years ago as the result of a few falls on the bike. After not getting it taken care of, I had to go throu 4 months of PT and rehab and can only now start to ride. I also had to change my position to a very upright 25 deg stem so I do not put as much weight on it as I used to.

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    I did get a bike fit but still some tweaking that needs to be done. Had some issues before the bike fit and those are solved but the elbow pain is somewhat new.

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    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Drop bars or flat bars? I primarily ride flats, but was playing with drop bars in the spring. Caused incredible elbow pain. I found it was bar width and how I positioned by hands on the hoods. Was trying to be square on the hoods, turning my wrist in and slightly twisting the elbow. Didn't bother wrists or hands at all, just elbows. Once I figured it out, rolled my wrists out to keep the elbow untwisted and all issues went away.

    May or may not help. It's my only encounter.

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    Thanks Roll!

    I ride with drop bars. Was thinking perhaps the bend in the elbows was not enough. I know i am not locking my elbows but I only have a slight bend in it. Perhaps I need more of a bend? But not sure if a long stem is needed or adjust the stem out a little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    I did get a bike fit but still some tweaking that needs to be done. Had some issues before the bike fit and those are solved but the elbow pain is somewhat new.
    What sort of fit did you get? A "professional" fit should take 1-3 hours and cost $100+. If I bike shop employee spent 10 minutes adjusting your saddle height, that isn't really a proper fit. All of the professional fitters I've used have suggested I return for a follow-up visit after a couple of weeks if things didn't feel perfect...

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    It was $150 but waived and he spent an hour with me. Will visit him this week also.

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    I have this problem. But it isn't related to riding. Your ulnar nerve is aggravated.

    Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulnar_nerve
    "The ulnar nerve can be trapped or pinched as it proceeds from the brachial plexus to the fingertips. One common cause is cubital tunnel syndrome. In this syndrome, a tunnel on the medial side of the elbow traps the nerve.
    Pinching of the ulnar nerve often causes paraesthesiae (tingling) in the fourth and fifth digits. Temporary paraesthesiae can be caused by sleeping or poor posture while awkwardly placing weight on one's arm, or by cycling for extended periods of time. In severe cases, surgery is performed to move the nerve."

    Also see handlebar palsy, same deal: http://www.health-bee.com/exercise/w...unnel-syndrome

    Drop bars are a problem because "the nerve may be stretched when held in the lower position of a drop handlebar."
    Last edited by Pachydermatous1; 08-11-11 at 10:01 AM.

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    pack: any solutions?

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    Some exercises you can do (or physical therapy). http://www.livestrong.com/cubital-tunnel-syndrome/

    I think you can also use a brace at night to keep you from bending your elbow. I'm going to look for one. I know mine is worse after I sleep with bent elbows.

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    I get this too. It's one fo the few pains that concerns me as I start to look into long distance riding. Haven't really found one thing to fix it yet.
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

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    For my pain described above, it all had to do with wrist rotation on the hoods. I was rolling my wrists inward to get the center of my thumb to forefinger valley centered on the hood. That twist caused a twist in my elbow that was painful regardless of how much my elbow was bent. I never rode lock armed, but shallow or steep elbow bend hurt.

    I rotated my wrists so the palms of my hand were perpendicular to the ground, running along the outside of the hood and bar. My thumb curled over the hood. Since my wrist was in line with my forearm, there was no more elbow twist and pain immediately went away.

    Through this, I was using a stem that was far too long (a 130 from my flat bar rig, where a better fit would have been a 100 or 110). With the correct stem length, the issue might not have been as bad in the first place. But since it was a temporary experiment on drops, I didn't correct it, and the bike is now a lovely flat bar road build.

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    roll: Can you take a pic of the before and aftter position of your wrists so I can get a visual? I know it might be a pain in the ass but it would help to see.
    Last edited by chefisaac; 08-11-11 at 12:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    For my pain described above, it all had to do with wrist rotation on the hoods. I was rolling my wrists inward to get the center of my thumb to forefinger valley centered on the hood. That twist caused a twist in my elbow that was painful regardless of how much my elbow was bent. I never rode lock armed, but shallow or steep elbow bend hurt.

    I rotated my wrists so the palms of my hand were perpendicular to the ground, running along the outside of the hood and bar. My thumb curled over the hood. Since my wrist was in line with my forearm, there was no more elbow twist and pain immediately went away.

    Through this, I was using a stem that was far too long (a 130 from my flat bar rig, where a better fit would have been a 100 or 110). With the correct stem length, the issue might not have been as bad in the first place. But since it was a temporary experiment on drops, I didn't correct it, and the bike is now a lovely flat bar road build.

    I was going to post this, almost exactly.

    My question to the TS was going to be whether or not he choked up on the hoods? I used to death grip the darn things, and had pain in my elbows as well.

    Likewise, when the other (now my only) LBS saw me on my bike, the resident fitter there saw the problem right away, and actually approached me and asked "do your arms hurt when you ride?"
    Turns out that with the longer stem, and the narrower bar, it was just as you described, i was reaching outward putting strain on my shoulders, and then because the bar was to narrow, i was rotating my elbows in, causing that twist at the joint to happen, which was being compounded by the tightening in my forearm from the death grip, which further loaded the elbow joint.

    The fitter ended up recommending that I get a shorter stem, a wider bar (which was a cyclocross bar with flared drops, and ergo bends), and he rotated my hoods up on the bar a couple degree. He also made me get a pair of leather gloves i couldnt make a fist in, so that i didnt try to strangle the handlebar.
    First time i put any miles on the bike after those changes, it was like riding a new machine.

    Now aside from having my arms fall naturally into place on the bars, i also ride primarily with my thumbs over the hoods, and hardly have any weight on my hands at all, and do most of my support with my core.
    Obviously i dont think everyone should make as drastic a change as i did (cause it wasnt free). But it does show that little changes to fitment and posture, and something as simple as not riding with a death grip can make all the difference in the world.

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    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    roll: Can you take a pic of the before and aftter position of your wrists so I can get a visual? I know it might be a pain in the ass but it would help to see.
    I will give it a shot when I get home.. the bars are no longer attached to a bike but I think I can swing it. As I was describing it, I thought "Man, a picture would show this easier."

    The handle bars I used were also too narrow, which didn't help. It was put together to be an experiment to see if I could ride with drop bars. I got it to work once I rotated my hands, but ended up on flats anyway. Chicks dig flat bars.

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    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Picture Attempt

    I have no idea if this will work. First two shots show the bar, to try to show that the brake/shift levers are rolled in a little bit. This is also part of my fix, and I found out about it on BF (shameless plug)

    IMG_0453.jpg IMG_0455.JPG

    Next two show bad hand position, from riding position and top. Please realize that the bars are floating in space so my forearm angle looks really strange.

    IMG_0449.JPG IMG_0454.JPG


    Last two are happy position, from same vantage.

    IMG_0450.JPG IMG_0451.JPG
    Last edited by RollCNY; 08-11-11 at 04:08 PM. Reason: removed failed attempts, will retry

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    thank you so much for posting pics. Makes since.

    I took my bike back to the LBS that did the fitting. He lowered the stem a little, move the handlebars up (roated them up) and raised the seat. We will see how that goes.

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    roll: did you do the rotation yourself?

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    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    rotating grips in, yes. Didn't remove the tape, loosened the brake lever, rotated and tightened. The tape kept it from moving by a large amount. Funny thing was that it actually made the levers more comfortable in the drops, so they may have been intended to be rotated in.

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