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Old 04-29-05, 08:59 AM   #1
redbird57
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I have just been scheduled for surgery for CTS. After determination that it was severe this week, got the surgery scheduled for next week. Hopefully, this will allow me time to recover and continue training for the Hotter'nHell 100 the end of August. My surgeon knows that I am a cyclist and will resume training with or without his permission and has already talked about providing additional padding in my bandage.
How have others handleded this issue? How soon were you able to return to the bike? What accomodations did you make? When were things back to normal ( or hopefully, better)?
I am 67 and ride both a road bike and an MTB.
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Old 04-29-05, 10:48 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear of the CT issues-hopefully the surgery will give you some relief. I've heard from some folks they get so much pain it keeps them awake at night. Ugh.......I can't offer much advice as the only times my hands or fingers have gone numb is on colder days when I didn't wear my full fingered gloves!! But that was really tricky trying to change gears, brake, etc.

I would think heading doctor's orders but also listening to your own body will let you know what you should do. Certainly would not want to slow down recovery due to short term gains. A trainer is a temporary option but one I'd have a hard time with. There is still plenty of time to train for your ride!! Just a temporarty set back.
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Old 04-29-05, 02:09 PM   #3
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Not had CTS as a problem, but a couple of other serious ops have meant a change of set up on the bike to accomodate the body temporarily. You do realise that personal fitness will have a great role to play in any long bike ride, so find a Gym and use their non cycling equipment to get fit on while you are not in a position to use a bike.

I have finally realised the benefits of gym work, as an addition to Bike use, but watch out, Too much training can seriously damage your wallet with the latest trainers, clothing and the extra food necessary to replace the carbs burnt on the extra exercise
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Old 04-29-05, 09:01 PM   #4
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Make sure your bike is sized right so you don't put too much pressure on the wrists and arms. I found that my handlebars were too narrow, and that this also created additional stress. Finally, make sure your bars have adequate padding and that you're wearing padded gloves. Good luck!
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Old 04-30-05, 05:04 PM   #5
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I've had the surgury done on both hands and the next week after the surgury was uncomfortable but both hands felt alot better after than before.They will tell you when you do something stupid that is not good for them so listen to them ,also arrange for hand physio to help with the healing and return to full funtion.Enjoy being one handed you dont realize how much you use both 'til you can't use one to full function.
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Old 04-30-05, 06:12 PM   #6
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recumbent bike?

studio cycling/spinning?
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Old 04-30-05, 07:16 PM   #7
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It's just becoming May right now, so your wound should heal well in less than a month. Follow the doctor's orders and you'll be fine. I've had it done on both hands, and was back to work fairly quickly. Too bad I didn't cycle back then, or I could tell you how long I was off.
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Old 05-07-05, 03:17 AM   #8
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Two years ago, I had ct operations on both hands, six weeks apart. After each operation, I rode with one hand for ten days or so, until the stitches were taken out. Then I rode with both hands. I am 67, and ride about 30-40 miles a week. You will be glad you had this procedure. Both of my hands are like I never had ct.
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Old 05-07-05, 03:47 AM   #9
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Were's the Carpel Tunnel? & can you ride a bike through it?
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Old 05-09-05, 02:26 PM   #10
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Greywolf, the carpal tunnel is located in the wrist. You can ride your bike through it only if you are Raquel Welch and get yourself medically miniturized and injected into my blood stream. Because you are on this thread, you must be old enough to remember the movie. There is a great scene where she, in her skin tight leotards is attacted by antibodies. Still envy them the opportunity.
Had surgery on Wed pm and yesterday put pipe insulation on handlebars of both bikes. I will try it this afternoon.
Thanks to all who offered advice or encouragement.
So far I have fared better than Jake Scott. He played safety for the Miami Dolphins in their Super bowl years. In one playoff game he broke his wrist. He still played in the next game with it in a cast. He proceeded to break the other wrist. In an interview, he was asked, " How is life with both wrists in a cast?" His answer, "When you have to go to the bathroom, you sure find out who your real friends are."
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Old 05-09-05, 08:29 PM   #11
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My wife had the surgery two years ago on both hands at the same time. Happened over thanksgiving break at school (she's a teacher). I remember because I had to cook dinner for 18 people. Not a big deal, but I usually cook on the grill. Anyway, I asked her what advice she'd give, and that was to do the therapy your dr's recommend, take it easy otherwise, and give it time to heal. She came back with more grip than she'd had for years before the surgery. With in about 6 months, you couldn't tell there had ever been anything wrong, and you have to really look to even find the scars.

Good luck with it, and take it easy.
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Old 05-10-05, 09:02 AM   #12
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Final Report: Rode yesterday 5 days after the surgery. The pipe insulation on the bars on the right side plus the extra padding in the bandage worked fine. Not perfect, but good enough for a 25 miler with hills thrown in. No residual effects. The ride was a great encouragement for continued training and keeping my fitness up to make the Hotter'nHell 100 the end of August. The hand feels great. For the first time in 2 years it did not go totally numb after about 10 min on the bike and was still fine after the 25 miles. I intend to keep the pace moderate and the distance low until the stitches come out. I will concentrate on hill workouts under the belief that strength goes before endurance in someone with a good base.
Thanks to all who offered advice or encouragement.
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Old 05-21-05, 06:16 PM   #13
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Hi Redbird57,

I meant to add a post a week ar so ago, but got caught up in a helmet debate on the Advocacy threads.

I have worked in occupational safety and health, and received a lot of training in ergonomics. I have translated this into my riding too. There are several other things you can do to lessen the problems within the carpal tunnel of the wrists. Here are some further suggestions, beyond what has already been offered (the padding was a good one, by the way).

--Elevate your handlebars. This will place less pressure on your wrists. You can do this by adjusting your stem upwards, to the limit of its height (check the mark on the stem). There are also now adjustable stems which allow you to set the height better, and have been included on some new bikes. I bought longer stems for my bikes (a Schwinn LaTour and a Trek 1440). If you do this, you will find that you are in the drops position more frequently.

--Look at your hand position. If the top of your wrist and your arm form an angle, that would contribute to the carpal tunnel problem. Your surgery should take care of the symptoms, but for those still coping, a straight wrist helps a lot in prevention of carpal tunnel syndrom. Where does this happen? Usually on mountain bikes with straight bars, or holding the top of the drops. When you are in the drops, the hand makes a more natural, straight (non-deviated) position relative to the wrist. When you bend (deviate) the wrist, the tendons going through the carpal tunnel tend to rub against each other, and if they do that enough, they will swell. They can even form scar tissue. This pushes against the nerve going through the tunnel, and causes the symptoms of carpal tunnel (loss of grip strength, pain and numbness).

--Think about the type of frame you have. The stiffer the frame, the more road vibration that is transmitted to the bars, and to your hands. Usually steel frames soak up more of this than aluminum. I've heard that titanium frames are also good at soaking up vibration.

--I use 7 mm of closed-cell foam neoprene from my old wet suits under my tape on the handlebars. This works well for padding.

Take a look at this website by Rivendell. It explains fitting a bicycle in terms that others have not. I have tried it, and it is a very good way to ride. Here is one statement that everyone who has a wrist problem should be aware of:

Quote:
Most riders have the tops of the bars where the drops are supposed to be, and the drops are down there so far they never get to them.
You can see the whole article at:

http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/htm...fposition.html

One thing I like about this position is that I can stand up straight, with straight legs, and still be holding on to the top of the bars without bending over. It gives a very good overview of the landscape

Since doing this with my two upright bicycles, I switched to a Rans Stratus long-wheelbase recumbant bicycle, which I really like. The recumbant riding position eliminates hand positions that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrom.

Good luck,

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 05-21-05 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Correct spelling
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Old 05-21-05, 06:45 PM   #14
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May I endorse what John Ratliff said about Rivendell's recommendations. Getting your handlebars at least up to the level of your seat (preferably above if you have wrist problems) will do more for your shoulders, elbows, and wrists than anything else. Good luck!
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Old 05-21-05, 06:59 PM   #15
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I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist on June 14, 2001 and rode again (36 miles) for the first time on July 1, 2001. I rode about 140 miles the following week. The only notes in my riding diary indicated a slight soreness. Good luck, it won't be that bad.
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Old 05-22-05, 04:26 PM   #16
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To John Ratliff's excellent advice, I would add, "select the lowest-pressure tires which will fit your rims, and run them at their minimum recommended pressure." You won't win any races, but you may be able to ride more comfortably.

This discussion reminds me a bit of my Colles' fracture of the right radius (I'm left-handed, which was the only good part of the whole painful experience). Five weeks after the incident, with my forearm still in a cast, I started riding my mountain bike in reasonable comfort. The last motion I regained was axial rotation, so I started using a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, initially with a stack of 3" floppy discs under the left side. As I regained flexibility, I gradually removed floppies from the pile, until I no longer needed them. Some of you CTS sufferers, either pre- or post-op, may find an ergo keyboard helpful.
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Old 05-28-05, 04:08 PM   #17
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I saw one solution for someone with the same problem where the guy had fitted butterfly bars along with an adjustable stem. This was set way up and fitted with arm rests so that the whole arm rested on the rests and the bar which was tilted up towards the rider. Could help perhaps.
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Old 06-11-05, 03:18 AM   #18
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My hands were so numb at night due to carpal tunnel, I couldn't sleep. I had both operated on at the Lexington Hand Clinic in Lexington, KY. two years ago. They are like new. One word of warning: I have heard horror stories about general surgeons doing carpal tunnel operations and botching it badly. You want a surgeon who does this procedure frequently. The Lexington Hand Clinic has surgeons who have reattached severed hands so they work again. I figured if they can do this, a carpal operation should be a snap. They did an excellent job.
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