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Old 05-27-11, 09:03 PM   #1
rockhoppernc
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Why do my hands hurt so bad at the base of my thumbs when i ride.?

why do my hands heart so bad at the base of my thumbs around the palms and where my hands connect to my wrists when i ride. even a short ride.

how do I keep the weight off of my hands?
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Old 05-27-11, 09:17 PM   #2
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It may be a fit issue, bars to low perhaps. But is it possible that you're gripping the bars too hard? I know that if I wear padded gloves I get that same muscle ache/cramp.

Have you studied up on and gotten your **** fit dialed in?
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Old 05-27-11, 09:20 PM   #3
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If you're using a bike with straight mountain bike bars, I had the same issue and it was TOTALLY resolved by switching to drop bars. If that's not an option, some of those Ergon grips helped me out a LOT before the switch, too. They give a bigger pad right at the meaty base of your thumb. Great for distributing the weight better.
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Old 05-27-11, 09:30 PM   #4
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I have no problem with the drop bars on my road bike, but the flat bars on my hybrid cause pain and numbness if I don't switch my grip every so often. Changing your bars might help.
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Old 05-27-11, 11:03 PM   #5
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Maybe raise your handlebars or lower your seat?
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Old 05-27-11, 11:08 PM   #6
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Happens to me on my flat bars too. I think it's from putting too much weight on my hands or gripping too tightly against the base of my thumbs. Seems to go away when I loosen up a bit.
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Old 05-27-11, 11:17 PM   #7
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was thinking that if i lower my seat then i will lose power in my legs, right
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Old 05-27-11, 11:28 PM   #8
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Happens to me on my flat bars too. I think it's from putting too much weight on my hands or gripping too tightly against the base of my thumbs. Seems to go away when I loosen up a bit.
My fit is good but I would still suffer from hand pain from time to time. Changing to Ergon-type grips with some matching, cushy bar ends quickly fixed that. And while bar ends may not get used a whole lot by some folks, I often ride with little or no grip on them to keep my hands relaxed on long stretches and my wrists in the same position they'd be if on drops. Variety.
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Old 05-28-11, 07:29 AM   #9
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you might try moving your saddle back and/or getting a longer stem. Peter White wrote a good article about fitting. I have gone to a longer stem, and had zero hand numbness on my 370 mile ride last weekend. This was a significant improvement.
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Old 05-28-11, 07:56 AM   #10
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Or you could try some of those ergonomic grips. The larger the better.
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Old 05-28-11, 08:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rockhoppernc View Post
was thinking that if i lower my seat then i will lose power in my legs, right
Some, yes.

Can you balance yourself in your riding position without holding the bars? If not, it could be that your seat is too far forward.
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Old 05-28-11, 08:31 AM   #12
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if your saddle is the correct height for your legs you don't want to change it. You might get rid of the numbness in exchange for hip or knee pain if you start tweaking the seatpost position. If it were me, I would get an inexpensive adjustable stem and try several different positions until you find a sweet spot.
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Old 05-28-11, 08:35 AM   #13
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thanks for all the help-- this is on my road bike.
this is what I did. I raised my stem a little, lifted my seat a little and slid it back a little. I am going on a little ride today and I will get back to you.
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Old 05-28-11, 08:41 AM   #14
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I have similar issues, and I believe it is due to my wrists carrying the weight of my torso. I am a bit on the heavy side. Same issue with my motorcycle; I put some bars that are taller and closer to me, it solved the issue. I ordered a set of butterfly (trekker) handlebars for my commuter, just got them, will put them on and see how much of a difference they make.
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Old 05-28-11, 08:57 AM   #15
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I have some bar ends on my commuter. They give me quite a few hand position options. Bar ends are a quick, easy and economical option.
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Old 05-28-11, 09:07 AM   #16
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No pictures of your set up and you on the bike.. ?
but even that is a 'wont work over the web' situation..
take a trip by a Bike shop and ask the people who can see you,
and the fit on your bike.

generally , take more weight on your back side ,
More upright riding position , high bars , tall stem
a bend type so they come back closer.

it will be a casual, rather than a performance, posture.
it's a trade off ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-28-11 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 05-28-11, 10:05 AM   #17
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Just curious, do you have short legs and a long torso, or do you have broad shoulders? I have both and have also not been successful in getting pressure off of my hands. Do your hands hold weight "up", or are they resisting the tendency to slide forward?

I have minimized the problem by sliding my seat back, but I still have some pressure on my hands. Sliding the seat back more would likely cause knee pain for me, so I have to make a compromise. I would echo the sentiments to see a fitter, and I would talk to the fitter about your goals before you decide on one.
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Old 05-29-11, 02:32 PM   #18
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well everything worked out well, I also wound up wrapping my wrists with a ace bandage and that extra padding along with the movement changes worked out.
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Old 05-29-11, 02:46 PM   #19
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Try some bike gloves if you don't already have them. I had the same problem before I got a pair. The padding isn't even all that thick but it makes a world of difference. Riding my bike now is no more uncomfortable than holding onto the steering wheel in a car.
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Old 05-29-11, 03:18 PM   #20
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ya i do have gloves what VERY good padding i thing I just need a little padding and support from the ace wrap.
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Old 05-29-11, 04:41 PM   #21
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Looks like too much weight on your hands or wrong angles somewhere. I second the notion that you should see someone who knows how to fit a bike properly. Perhaps you need more shock absorption, i.e. thicker tires too?

However, I had similar problems when I owned road bikes. No matter how much padding I'd used or how the bars were adjusted, I even tried different length stems: I was always getting that kind of pain at the base of my thumbs, when riding for too long on the hoods. Including a shop-fitted carbon bike.

My experience was totally opposite to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakevance View Post
If you're using a bike with straight mountain bike bars, I had the same issue and it was TOTALLY resolved by switching to drop bars. If that's not an option, some of those Ergon grips helped me out a LOT before the switch, too. They give a bigger pad right at the meaty base of your thumb. Great for distributing the weight better.
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I have no problem with the drop bars on my road bike, but the flat bars on my hybrid cause pain and numbness if I don't switch my grip every so often. Changing your bars might help.
I guess, we're all different. There are no rules that apply to all and no solutions that solve problems the same way for everyone. I grew up riding with flat bars. I was over 30 y.o. when I rode drop bars for the first time, so perhaps my muscles, joints and tendons are developed differently. Drop bars made me suffer most of the time. I was getting elbow and forearm pain too on drop bars, the position didnd't feel natural, my arms felt twisted.

To be fair, poorly padded straight bars would also cause pain during bumpy rides, so I always use gel grips or Ergon grips.

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was thinking that if i lower my seat then i will lose power in my legs, right
Don't mess with your saddle. It must be set up just right. Too low and your knees will start to hurt. Too high and the tendons underneath your knees will give you trouble. You can experiment with the horizontal saddle position (move it forward or backwards), the stem lenght and angle and the handlebar position, but leave the saddle height as it should be.

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thanks for all the help-- this is on my road bike.
this is what I did. I raised my stem a little, lifted my seat a little and slid it back a little. I am going on a little ride today and I will get back to you.
Also check the drops angle. If the hoods are too low or too high they can give you trouble too.
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Old 06-03-11, 06:38 PM   #22
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I stopped by the bike store near where I work and they suggested rotating the hand grips from the flat against my palm position I had them in to a position that supposidely puts less pressure on the fatty part of my thumb palm. Sort of hard to describe here, but the grips on my bike are sort of a tear drop shape in profile (if you were to cut through them). They can be rotated, takes a bit of force, but they can be adjusted to any postion. I'm going to try it out and see if it makes any difference.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:49 AM   #23
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My LBS told me the same thing when I asked. I have the same pain in my thumb so please let me know if rotating the grips
makes the pain go away.

Quote:
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I stopped by the bike store near where I work and they suggested rotating the hand grips from the flat against my palm position I had them in to a position that supposidely puts less pressure on the fatty part of my thumb palm. Sort of hard to describe here, but the grips on my bike are sort of a tear drop shape in profile (if you were to cut through them). They can be rotated, takes a bit of force, but they can be adjusted to any postion. I'm going to try it out and see if it makes any difference.
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Old 06-06-11, 07:27 PM   #24
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I experienced the same pain at the base of the thumb as described by the OP. I ascribed it originally to arthritis pain, since I was also having intermittent elbow pain. I went through a daily course of Aleve over several weeks and it went away.... not sure why and not sure for how long.

One thing I do note is that I can tend to "death-grip" the handlebars. I also see many cyclists riding with locked elbows. My personal suggestion is to make sure that your pedalling cadence is high. This kind of provides a little "levity" for your upper body... keeping a lot of weight off the bars.

If you want to test this out, try a bicycle ride where you do a lot of coasting... I'm sure you'll suddenly notice that your arms and hands are hurting.
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Old 06-06-11, 09:25 PM   #25
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Resident physical therapist responding here.

Where exactly does it bother you when you say "the base"?

At the metacarpophalangeal joint or the carpometacarpal joint?

Or, does it feel more superficial, such as in the soft tissue that makes up the thenar eminence?
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