Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    My Bikes
    custom built roadie
    Posts
    756
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    problems with numbing fingers

    Hey everyone,

    My dad (53) has been riding his bike for the past 3-4 months now and was complaining to me about numbing fingers that would make it impossible to ride any longer than 4-5 miles. At the time he was on a mtn bike so I told him a properly fitted road bike would fix that problem because it certainly helped me when I was in his position. Plus road bikes are awesome =). But anyway, so I just built up a road bike for him and he once again has these tingling numbing issues in his hands. He and my mom have been remodeling the house now that I moved out, and he does alot of the work himself. I was wondering if maybe this was putting too much stress on his hands, making riding all the more uncomfortable. Or maybe perhaps he just needs to play around with the saddle height/stem length? Anyone with experience with this I would greatly appreciate. I was really looking forward to riding with him on a 40 mile loop along to coast of socal when I came home for the holidays. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,024
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Barring any special physical problems unique to your dad, the usual advice is wear good gloves, try shock absorbing gel tape, change hand positions often, rest your weight on different parts of the hands (the "heel", the side, between various fingers), keep elbows flexed, bring the saddle up to seat level or so to put more weight back on the seat and off the hands. If your dad is experienced and flexible enough (I'm 59), an aero bar can really rest the hands, too. This is one of those things were tiny changes in position can make real changes in comfort. Sometimes, I think, we are sometimes simply born with sensitive or easily aggravated parts of our body. But its worth trying all of the aboved.

    Our recumbent friends will, as they often do, suggest a 'bent bike for real hand comfort.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Brazos River valley, south central TX
    My Bikes
    2005 Surly LHT; 2006 Surly CrossCheck with Extracycle; 1987 Schwinn World Sport as urban cruiser
    Posts
    1,298
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    microadjustments & movement

    Stealth:

    Many of us 50+ers have dealt with numbing fingers after/during a ride. For many of us, getting the 'fit' & angle between seat & handlebars was key, for others just moving around on the bike (standing up, having at least 2 hand positions, etc.) helped, adjusting weight distribution between seat & bars have ALL been part of addressing this issue. If you search this thread you'll find some very articulate explanations of the Numb Fingers syndrome.

    On my steel MTB converted to road/commuter, I had to raise the stem, add good barends, go through 3 saddles, wrap both flat bar & barends with good thick padding and remember my riding position needed to be adjustable & flexible. For example, I would be riding along, pushing the cadence & realize I'd held the same hand position for at least 10 minutes without moving. That was not necessary, just a riding habit that would cause then the numbness to start.

    CC's recommendation of good padded gloves is completely correct as well. I finally took my MTB in to the LBS where we spent an hour getting everything 'fitted' - this is on a bike that is too small for me but has been modified such that now I can ride comfortably for up to 4 hours. Also as your dad rides more, his positioning and way of riding will change (like getting used to the seat...?) so slowly tweaking the bike's configuration to match his comfort/fitness level will help a lot.
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

  4. #4
    Resident Old Fart Olebiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Bikes
    Douglas Precision Ti
    Posts
    1,299
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was having trouble too, so last week I installed a set of Aztec pads that I got from Performance. I rode a century yesterday with no numbness at all. You might try try them.
    Wag more, bark less

  5. #5
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Fairhaven, Massachusetts
    My Bikes
    Novara Randonee, Felt Z45, Marin Belvedere Commuter
    Posts
    1,723
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Tell him he need to relax his grip and unlock his elbows while riding. It's very common for new and many experienced riders to stiffen.

    He probably rides with his hands on the brake all of the them too. Take a deep breath and let every part of your uppper body sag and unlock elbows.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  6. #6
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    My Bikes
    Too Many
    Posts
    2,393
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This may sound silly but it works for me! Don’t grip the bars with your thumb. Just place your thumb beside your other fingers and cup your other four fingers around the bar supporting your weight in the palms. Of course, when you need to use the brakes get your thumb around the bar! I think this prevents me from tightly griping the bar so my hands are relaxed when I am not using my thumbs. My bike Elmer from childhood days taught me that trick.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    6,455
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    All the posts preceding this one offer good advice on places to start. It is most likely an issue of too much pressure and/or vibration on the hands/palms. The distribution of weight between the seat and handlebars is critical related to too much pressure. Generally speaking, the more bent over one is, the more the seat needs to be back on the seat rail. Stand with your back and legs against a wall and try to bend over at the waist. You can't do this unless your rear end can move backwards in direct relationship to the amount you are bending. Hence, many riders are out of balance because their seat is not back far enough. Additionally, most riders fare better with their seats set so that they are level or with the nose slightly up. This places more of the weight on the rear and less on the arms and hands. Good gloves, two layers of bar tape of other padding can also help. With the arms bent at the elbows you're using them as shock absorbers of sorts. So, there are lots of good places to start in addressing this. Hope your dad gets it worked out soon.
    Last edited by NOS88; 10-09-06 at 09:05 AM.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    NC
    My Bikes
    Serotta, kestrel, Raleigh, Cannondale, Proflex, Santana tandem, Santana Stylus (single), Trek, Schwinn, Azuki
    Posts
    806
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I read all the suggestions, and all seem very well thought out. I also experience numbness in my fingers on occasion. Having ridden road bikes since the early 80's, this has been a recent occurence. I have traced it back to the way one of the bikes is setup. It is an unforgiving Scandium frameset which translates much of the road through the frame to the seat and bars. I don't have this problem with my other framesets which are steel, CF, and titanium. At first I attributed the numbness to the frame, but after experimenting with more compliant parts (CF bars, fork, more forgiving wheels, etc.) I have come to a variety of conclusions. The parts selection is definitely critical, but the setup itself is the most critical, a slight up or down of the saddle (no slope to the saddle is imperative for me.) or bars is the most effective way for me to eliminate the numbness. I measured the other bikes and tried to emulate the setup with this particular bike. I still experience numbness on occasion with this bike, but I have eliminated it for most rides by careful setup, and constantly changing my hand position while riding.
    I also reserve this bike for rides of 50 miles or less.

  9. #9
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    East Tennessee
    My Bikes
    2002 Lightspeed Classic; 2010 Pedalforce RS
    Posts
    847
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Being another that has this problem whenever I increase my mileage, I agree with most of the advice here. But especially the advice to not grip with your thumb, just keep it parallel to the other fingers. Another thing that helps a lot for me I haven't been mentioned, is keeping my wrists straight and not let the hands rotate up.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    My Bikes
    custom built roadie
    Posts
    756
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    thanks for all the great tips everyone. i will be sure to pass this all down to my dad. it's great to know that this problem has many possible remedies.

  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Paoli, Wisconsin
    My Bikes
    RANS Stratus, Bridgestone CB-1, Trek 7600, Sun EZ-Rider AX, Fuji Absolute 1.0, Cayne Rambler 3
    Posts
    9,980
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks from me too. I'm having the same problem. Took a 45 minute ride today, my longest in nearly 30 years, and my hands went numb on me twice.

    I have an 80's city bike, a forecursor to today's hybrids, but without quite as much of an upright sitting position. I have to lean forward a bit and the weight begins to hurt my hands within 6-8 minutes. I've raised the handlebar to its maximum height, adjusted the saddle to give me my most upright position, purchased padded bike gloves, and have tried changing my hand positions and shaking them from time to time. This has helped a little.

    On my first few rides my saddle was killing me too. I installed an add-on seat cushion and between that and riding a few times to get more used to it, that is no longer a problem. After 45 minutes today I was fine, whereas 3 weeks ago a 5-minute ride was painful.

    But my hands aren't coming around so easily. Right now the pain in my hands is the only thing making my rides unenjoyable.

    I might have to switch to a full hybrid or crank-forward. I've taken 5-10 minute test rides on both and they were wonderful.

  12. #12
    On the road again! seafoam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    My Bikes
    2006 Specialized Sirrus Sport, 2006 Bianchi Giro
    Posts
    30
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For some people, it could be a question of neck position on a road bike - if there are cervical disc problems. Leaning forward, trying to look up - that kind of thing.
    2006 Bianchi Giro
    2006 Specialized Sirrus Sport

  13. #13
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Fairhaven, Massachusetts
    My Bikes
    Novara Randonee, Felt Z45, Marin Belvedere Commuter
    Posts
    1,723
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Thanks from me too. I'm having the same problem. Took a 45 minute ride today, my longest in nearly 30 years, and my hands went numb on me twice.

    But my hands aren't coming around so easily. Right now the pain in my hands is the only thing making my rides unenjoyable.

    I might have to switch to a full hybrid or crank-forward. I've taken 5-10 minute test rides on both and they were wonderful.
    I would suggest a 45 minute test ride. Someone really should ride with you to observe your technique.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  14. #14
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    6,455
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by capejohn
    I would suggest a 45 minute test ride. Someone really should ride with you to observe your technique.

    Very good point. The eye of an experienced cyclist can be very helpful.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  15. #15
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    North Central Massachusetts
    My Bikes
    Cannondale R600
    Posts
    1,281
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Last season I had this problem; this season my hands are fine, but I have problems with my feet!

    For me, getting more flexibility so that I could stretch out a bit helped me ride lower which took weight off the hands. Also, both my bikes have "flattop" type road bars - one set more or less conventional, and the other FSA K-Wing. Both help provide a good "platform" for resting your hands. A lot of my problems initially came because the reach was a little far for me and I ended up placing my hands with the "slot" of the heel of my hand on the "corner" of the bars. That slot is where the nerves run, so it was compressing the nerves, causing numbness.

    One trick I used at first was to cut out a piece of a Dr. Scholl's insole (gel) about the size of a coaster and put it in my gloves in that slot area (whicj usually doesn't have any padding). Until I got everything else worked out, this was quite effective. I don't use this padding anymore, though. For me, it was a matter of getting the fit dialed in.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Delta, Colorado
    My Bikes
    2007 Specialized Sirrus Comp, 1988 Diamond Back Ascent
    Posts
    304
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    All of the above works well for me. Not mentioned yet, but effective for dealing with some disc compression problems and the related pressure on nerves, is to work on your core muscles. Since going through physical therapy for a back injury, my hands seldom go numb, partly because my core is much stronger. This also relates to riding relaxed -- stronger core means I'm not putting near as much pressure on the arms to "hold my body up." Buy your dad an exercise ball and ask him to do core exercises during the football game.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  17. #17
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    My Bikes
    Mecian
    Posts
    2,956
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What core building exercises are you doing? I have chronic hand numbness, and know I have a weak core. I could use some ideas on core strengthening.
    Recycle, Reclaim, Reuse and Repair
    The 4 Rs to save the planet

    "Toes"

  18. #18
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Delta, Colorado
    My Bikes
    2007 Specialized Sirrus Comp, 1988 Diamond Back Ascent
    Posts
    304
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    core exercises

    Check out this link for good variety of core exercies --
    http://www.back.com/articles-exercises.html

    This is the site my therapist suggested to start with. Has basic to advanced.

    He also suggested swimming -- low impact but great workout. While in the pool, he gave me a long list of core exercises to do while grabbing the side of the pool. Not only helps with the core, but greatly improved my flexibility. Basic stretches are also an important component.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,192
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's time to think recumbent. bk

  20. #20
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Paoli, Wisconsin
    My Bikes
    RANS Stratus, Bridgestone CB-1, Trek 7600, Sun EZ-Rider AX, Fuji Absolute 1.0, Cayne Rambler 3
    Posts
    9,980
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Thanks from me too. I'm having the same problem. Took a 45 minute ride today, my longest in nearly 30 years, and my hands went numb on me twice.

    Thanks for the suggestions offered here. I went out this morning and rode for 50 minutes. Used some of the techniques in this thread and the pain in my hands was considerably lower. No numbness at all. Much more enjoyable.

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
    My Bikes
    Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
    Posts
    19,915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Thanks for the suggestions offered here. I went out this morning and rode for 50 minutes. Used some of the techniques in this thread and the pain in my hands was considerably lower. No numbness at all. Much more enjoyable.
    I have a Blood circulation problem in the extremities- Hand and feet. Exercising the hands while riding before the pain comes in helps and on the feet- I am used to pulling up on the pedals for about 100yds every 5 miles or so. I also find that aspirin will thin the blood and aid circulation so always carry a couple with me when riding.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •