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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-02-06, 08:04 AM   #1
Jethro
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Tingling fingers question

Greetings --

I post rarely but read often and would appreciate any suggestions that can be offered on how to deal with fingers that go numb or have a tingling sensation from riding. The pinky and ring fingers on my left hand go numb and stay numb throughout the day or night after a morning or afternoon ride. I have no problem with any other digits. My ride is a Trek 820 MTB, and I ride on the bumpy, pot-hole riddled roads of New Orleans about 10-12 miles a day and another 5-8 miles a day on a smooth path. The MTB does have a front shock, and the handle bar grips are pretty new. I do not wear gloves while riding.

It is safe to say I "commute" by bicycle. I go most every where in the city by bicycle since Katrina and am very happy about this change in lifestyle. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Jethro
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Old 10-02-06, 08:18 AM   #2
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you are placing too much pressure on your ulnar nerve. Try relaxing your grip, raising your bars or getting bar-ends and changing hand positions more often. Getting gel-padded gloves may also help, but ultimately the problem is you have too much weight on your hands.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:20 AM   #3
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I commute 25 miles R/T 4 out of 5 days a week.....had the same problem at first....broke down and bought riding gloves, and routinely change my hand positions often.....took me a while to remember to change hand positions often...old habits die hard....
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Old 10-02-06, 08:25 AM   #4
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Refer this very recent thread:

RSI/Wrist & Hand Pain

Start with my post at the end and work your way back with the adjustments.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:44 AM   #5
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I think Dog and Bill hit the nail on the head. I have the same problem. I went for an 800 mile tour half a year ago and the tingling on the tips of my pinkies started (I also commute). It hasn't gone away. I use drop handlebars and my seat is the same height as the bars. I heard Specialized (Body Geometry) gloves are good for ulnar nerve problems. You might want to try some new styled ergonomic gel grips too.

At first I thought I had carpel tunnel syndrome, but this usually doesn't affect the little finger. I know that using the keyboard/mouse aggravates my problem, so you might want to use a gel rest support for your wrists. Good Luck.
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Old 10-02-06, 09:37 AM   #6
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As others have said, numbness in the last two fingers probably indicates an ulnar nerve issue. It's probably a case of putting too much pressure on the hands, but the ulnar nerve runs through the elbow and all the way up the arm, so something could be affecting the nerve at any point along the way.

I have similar symptoms, and for me it's caused by tension in the shoulders (and in my case it's brought on more by computer use than cycling). So that's another thing to look into -- if you have really tense shoulders you might want to see a good physical therapist or massage therapist.
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Old 10-02-06, 10:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jethro
Greetings --

I post rarely but read often and would appreciate any suggestions that can be offered on how to deal with fingers that go numb or have a tingling sensation from riding.

Jethro
You use gloves, so that's covered. Someone else recommended bar ends and frequent grip changes, also great advice. Keeping the wrists straight is also important for helping to keep pressure off the ulnar nerve. I addressed all of these issues by buying a set of these. Correctly setting their angle to assist in keping the wrist straight, and finding a comfortable setting for the integrated bar end pretty much ended any numbness I was experiencing on my flatbat road bike.
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Old 10-03-06, 12:16 AM   #8
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i've been getting this. light grip and curved wrists really helped me. it always seems to come from getting pressure on that little knob of bone at the bottom outside edge of my hand (find the base of your pinky finger and move all the way down). it usually gets better as soon as i start remembering to just keep the pressure right off that bone in everything i do, hence the cocked wrists. i've also always become more vulnerable to it any time i spend too much time holding a phone between my ear and shoulder. i try to ride with the idea that my hands are there more to just give the bars an operating range than to actually steer them, but that might not be an option for you if your ground is rough.
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Old 10-03-06, 02:00 AM   #9
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It could be either leaning too far forward with your riding position, thus placing too much pressure on your wrists (as other have alluded to), or gloves fitting too tightly is another possible cause.
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Old 10-03-06, 06:02 AM   #10
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specialized site - graphics

Yup ... ulnar. The Specialized bike site has a nice graphics that demonstrate the issue:

http://www.specialized.com/bc/micros.../main.html?x=y

+ click on "gloves and grips"
+ next scree click on "dissect"
+ then click on "A) You"
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Old 10-03-06, 03:44 PM   #11
Jethro
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Thank you very much for your responses and suggestions. I have learned quite a bit here and am probably going to try the grips Paiyili pointed out and also to try keeping as much weight as possible off my left hand.
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Old 10-03-06, 05:17 PM   #12
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Jethro,

I've got the Ergon grips and think the world of them. I've had problems with my hands falling asleep as well.

--A
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Old 10-03-06, 06:21 PM   #13
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Before you try anything drastic, see if changing your riding habits a bit will help. You might find that you don't have to even go as far as changing hand position often, but at least relaxing the muscles of that hand every few miles can make a big difference.

When I started putting in "serious" miles on my road bike a few years ago, I had almost the same issue, in my left hand. I realized that my right hand is busy all the time (shifting) - though it never had much activity beyond occasionally flexing a bit to flick the shift lever. My left hand, meanwhile, almost never moved (since that shifter was for the much less frequently used front derailleur.)

I started flexing my left hand, or at least letting it relax, every few miles. Soon, it became automatic. I haven't had a single problem since, several thousand miles later - in that time, I've switched bikes, switched to less padded gloves, and even put in miles without gloves.
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Old 10-03-06, 06:32 PM   #14
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check your saddle position-- if it is tilted down, it is throwing your weight forward, onto your hands. If it is level, there will be more weight on the saddle-- this combined with raising the handlebars (a little bit--don't go for drastic changes) should help.

train safe-
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