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Old 06-29-07, 10:14 AM   #1
Yen
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Lots of numbness in hands/fingers

I'm on vacation and trying to ride daily to work out this sit bone issue. Today I rode 8+ miles around the neighborhood streets. On our previous rides I noticed some numbness in my hands, particularly my right one since it doesn't wear a brace like the other one, but not a lot and I shook it off. This morning, the numbness got so bad I couldn't feel the trigger shifter under my thumb. It helped to let my arm hang down briefly and shake my hand, but I had to do that much more frequently this morning.

I am trying to make sure I hold my hands in a neutral position. I'm not putting all my weight on the bars, I just try to rest them and try to distribute my weight between my hands, legs, and seat (trying is the operative word..... I'm still learning) all the while trying to keep my sit bones happy.

I'm considering getting a brace for my right hand also. The one I wear on my left hand has a metal bar that slides into a sleeve on top of the brace, preventing my hand from hyper-extending (this protects the prosthetic lunate in my wrist, should I fall and land on my left hand). I believe the bar in the brace does help to keep the left hand more neutral than the right. Both of my wrists are bad, I never could extend my hands back past 45 degrees. The range of motion has never been good and there are subtle anomalies in my wrist anatomy that contribute to this.

I'm wondering why this was so much worse today --- I almost headed back home sooner than usual just because of this --- and what I can do about it while I am riding. What else can I do to prevent and alleviate this? Is it one more thing to work out with practice and experience? If it can get this bad in a semi-upright position a hybrid, then I can only imagine what I'd feel on a road bike...... and this problem is exactly why I chose a bike with an upright riding position in the first place. Maybe the top tube is too long??? I don't think I am leaning too far forward, and I don't feel any trouble at all trying to reach the bars.

Jen
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Old 06-29-07, 10:16 AM   #2
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Try a good pair of gel biking gloves. Also, the more you get used to biking, the fewer problems you should have. You will become more relaxed on the bike.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:18 AM   #3
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Thanks... I forgot to add that I always wear gloves, and they have gel pads. I don't know if they're a good pair or not... I bought them at the LBS.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:28 AM   #4
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Try a good pair of gel biking gloves. Also, the more you get used to biking, the fewer problems you should have. You will become more relaxed on the bike.
+1 on the gloves.

I was experiencing some numbness in my hands and several people recommended these to me. I've been wearing them for a year and seldom have any numbness problems.

http://www.ironmanstore.com/index.ph...d&productId=86
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Old 06-29-07, 10:35 AM   #5
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Honest to goodness, I was plagued by this problem until I bought the Buenos Aires, and I haven't had so much as a tingle since.

It might just be the road bars with all the different positions you can put you hands in, or the carbon fork, or the Buzzkill inserts, or the full carbon. I don't know. I do know that the problem with the hands vanished overnight with the new bike.

That might not be a practical solution, or it might be the very excuse you've been looking for......
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Old 06-29-07, 10:36 AM   #6
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As we've discussed in other threads, your bike is too large for you. Which does result in a longer top tube than what is probably optimal for you. Which could impact your dialing in the bike to fit you best. I.e. your sliding forward on the seat.

The traditional attempt to reduce weight on your hands and to decrease numbness would be to alter the bike to move the hand positions up and back, and then add bar ends to give you alternate hand positions.

Some possibilities would be to replace the handlebar with one that had more hand positions or to get one that has a higher rise to it than your present one. If your present bar has a 2" or 50mm rise, you could get a 3"/75mm or 4"/100mm. Or you could get something like a Trekker bar with multiple hand positions.

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...jpg&view=large

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=11123

Long bar ends, with a curve in the middle, afford two more hand positions. They can be wrapped with bar tap to give them some padding.

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=11986

I fought this problem last year. Switched from a 1.5" riser bar to a 3" bar and it has reduced my numbness by around 80%. On many of my 1 hour rides now, I experience no numbness.

BTW, did you get the women's version of the Cypress SX or the men's version? I remember you saying that your hubby might end up with the bike, but decided to get something different. That left me wondering if you had gone with the men's version.

This is the men's version:
http://penncycle.com/itemdetails.cfm...Id=39&id=10325
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Old 06-29-07, 10:43 AM   #7
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I would not try to over analyze this unless you get constant numbness. I ride 95% of the time with no problems but I will still occasionally still get number fingers or hand depending on which nerves I manage to compress. My bike is setup perfectly for me and I have gotten numbness even wearing the Specialized BG gloves that have a 'special' pad to prevent ulnar compression. I also never grip my bars but always just have my hands resting on the bars. I also change positions frequently. I think that no matter what you do this will occur on occasion, if it is constant then some changes are in order.

Also remember that everyone's anatomy is slightly different, so where the nerves are your right hand are slightly different than your left and different than other people. So what works for one person may not work for you.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:59 AM   #8
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I agree with Tom. You need to have your hands in a position where there is a relaxed natural bend in your elbows. I assume you have already adjusted your handlebars as high as you can get them?
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Old 06-29-07, 11:12 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. Most of the time (actually, every day except today) this has not been a major problem. Today I could not feel the trigger shifter. I don't believe I'm gripping the bars... at least I try not to... and I don't feel like I have to reach far, I just put my hands on the bars.

Tom: I bought the men's version. It may be a smidgen too big, but it doesn't feel like it when I ride it... meaning I don't feel like I need to lean too much to reach the bars, I don't feel up to high, things of that nature. I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to go to my LBS and tell them about my wrist problems and mention that some have told me my bike seems a little big for me, and see what they can do for me. I'm willing to try different bars and certainly more hand positions would be nice to have. My wrists are a physical problem though, whether I ride or just sit and do nothing, so I will need to work with things to get this just right. Thank you very much for your suggestions. I hope you stay on this island, I need your statisticationalistic expertise!

Beverly: Those look like great gloves... I'll see if my LBS can order them for me, if not I'll order them directly.

Weak Link: Thanks, but right now we are trying to pay off some bills. I want to give this bike more of a chance before I get another one. Most of the time the numbness isn't this much of a problem, just an annoyance. I've never before had trouble feeling the shifter like I did this morning. But I'm keeping your suggestion in the front of the cerebral file drawer for future reference.

Stonecrd: Thanks, I will work on this. Glad to hear it's not always the fit of the bike, and I do believe more places to put my hands would be very helpful.

CardiacKid: Yes, the stem cannot go any higher. My elbows are always bent, and I feel relaxed. I'm not trying to reach to get to the bars, they seem to be just right there when I sit on the bike.

The guy at the LBS where I exchanged seats (not the one where I bought my bike) said that raising the stem all the way forward is a safety issue and he wouldn't recommend it. Has anyone heard that before? He said something about control going down hills....... I think I was starting to feel dazed at that point because he had already told me my bike is too big and I was starting to get that sick feeling from hearing that.... telling me the stem was too far forward also, almost took me over the edge.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:16 PM   #10
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Sounds like you are riding longer and harder than you used to. Hand numbness is something that I still get and I have to exercise the hand to clear it. I do it frequently and as soon as the tingling starts its hand off the bars and flex the fingers.

Now you have had the leg stiffness- the butt pain and now the hands. Only the backache needed to complete the set and turn you into a true 50+er that is getting back into riding. Some of these pains may go away with exercise as you adjust but it is just something you will habe to persevere with until the 2nd bike comes along. You still have a bit of time on the existing bike to find out what the next bike will be so stay away from the LBS till the Autumn sales start.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:18 PM   #11
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I agree with Tom the bike is too big and it is not necessarily a hybrid/road bike thing. Ladies need less seat angle and a shorter top tube plus a smaller handlebar (reach and width) plus shorter reach brakes - Trek WSD or equal. And some ladies are more sensitive than others to fit issues and for whatever reason have special needs.

Posture and core strength are other factors in numbness / pain. Make sure that your back is flat, you are on your sit bones with the pelvis rolled under i.e. flat back, shoulders down and back and head up. Do not stick out your chin and raise your shoulders as this may cause referred nerve pain in the arms and hands and it may put more weight on your hands. Keep your upper body and face relaxed and you should be able to feel like you can unweight your hands while riding by tightening your core and slightly raising up. If you feel like all the weight is on your hands then you need a shorter stem, if possible. And since your sit bones are sore, you may be adjusting your posture to put more weight on your hands to relieve the pain in your butt.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yen
Tom: I bought the men's version. It may be a smidgen too big, but it doesn't feel like it when I ride it... meaning I don't feel like I need to lean too much to reach the bars, I don't feel up to high, things of that nature.
I know you keep saying that, and I hope it is true, however as a 21" hybrid has had all of its tubes cut to lengths that are suited to fit a man who is around 6'0" tall, I have a hard time fully accepting it. I'm almost 5'8" and have ridden 21" hybrids and they are definitely too big for me.

As to it being a man's bicycle, that would be okay if your upper and lower torso lengths are more like a man's ... a man's upper torso is larger proportionally to their lower torso than for a woman. Looking at how Giant make their Cypress hybrids, in a 19" size, the top tube on a woman's bike is almost an inch shorter than it is for their man's bike.

Thus I continue to believe that the bike being too large is a significant contributing factor to your various discomforts.

A handlebar that can be adjusted to be closer to the seat, like one with more rise or sweep, would reduce your reach, kinda like shortening the top tube. As such handlebars are commonly available at LBS's for around $12-$20, I'd give this a try.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:30 PM   #13
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Regarding the gloves Yen, the color is perfect for you!
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Old 06-29-07, 01:47 PM   #14
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I don't remember seeing any pictures of Yen on this bike. I think that would go a long way toward telling whether some of our assumptions about how it fits are right or way off base. Even then, figuring out fit problems can be tricky in person, let alone from pictures. And trying to do it via written words is very sketchy. We all tend to offer advice based mostly on our own experiences, which may be more unusual than we realize. Or worse yet, we may just be parroting things we've heard or read. I think you should rely mostly on advice from someone who is there with you, seeing exactly what factors may be at play.

Pesonally, I have had more hand numbness problems with very upright bikes with flat handlebars than bikes with stretched out riding position and drop bars. But that's just me.
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Old 06-29-07, 01:54 PM   #15
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Regarding the gloves Yen, the color is perfect for you!
They are? I didn't notice any pink in the photo.
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Old 06-29-07, 01:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I don't remember seeing any pictures of Yen on this bike. I think that would go a long way toward telling whether some of our assumptions about how it fits are right or way off base. Even then, figuring out fit problems can be tricky in person, let alone from pictures. And trying to do it via written words is very sketchy. We all tend to offer advice based mostly on our own experiences, which may be more unusual than we realize. Or worse yet, we may just be parroting things we've heard or read. I think you should rely mostly on advice from someone who is there with you, seeing exactly what factors may be at play.

Pesonally, I have had more hand numbness problems with very upright bikes with flat handlebars than bikes with stretched out riding position and drop bars. But that's just me.
I will try to get a photo of me on the bike... I'm betting that I'll look more relaxed than some of you imagine. But maybe not!
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Old 06-29-07, 02:11 PM   #17
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Every minute or so you should change the position of your hands. Never keep them in one position for any
long amount of time. Make it a routine to constantly move your hands. Position changes can be very slight, but it definitely helps.
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Old 06-29-07, 02:30 PM   #18
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Is this the bike?



If so, I revise my thoughts. You are already upright and sitting back. There are not a lot of hand positions available which may be the hand problem.
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Old 06-29-07, 03:02 PM   #19
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Yes, that is my bike. And yes, there are not a lot of hand positions available with those bars. I'm planning to discuss this with the LBS in a few days.
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Old 06-29-07, 03:19 PM   #20
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Yes, that is my bike. And yes, there are not a lot of hand positions available with those bars. I'm planning to discuss this with the LBS in a few days.
Bar ends!!!
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Old 06-29-07, 03:28 PM   #21
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Yen, sorry to hear about the hand bothering you. I've been riding my Giant Suede WSD bike (16.5-17" frame) since May 5th, usually every other day. My seat only bothered me when I wore the wrong kind of pants. I've learned to lift my rear up off the saddle as I ride to keep from being sore.

My big problem was hand feeling tingly and swelling. I tried different gloves first. I ended up wearing contracter gloves (suede palms, foam padding) rather than the biking gloves because the biking gloves aggravated my problem (too tight at wrist & seams on the palm). The LBS guy also raised my handle bars back to the 40 degree setting. It seems very upright yet I can ride 8 miles without problems. The upright position keeps me from going fast but I'm riding for exercise not speed. I can do my hilly 8 miles in 45-50 min. unless the wind is above 15 mph.

The LBS man told me to constantly move my hands, rest them lightly on the grips, relax my shoulders, and come back for bar ends if I couldn't get relief. No problems with the hands now.

Saw this thread you might like to look at:
http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=16813

Last edited by Rosie8; 06-29-07 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 06-30-07, 10:50 PM   #22
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My hands and fingers go numb but not from bad bike fit. I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists and tendinitis in my elbows and shoulders. Riding is sometimes a challenge given these little bothers but I just shake my hands till the feeling comes back then I'm fine. I wear gel gloves too
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Old 07-01-07, 04:28 AM   #23
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Yen:
I'm not trying to be flip or anything, and I don't know you or your physical or cycling history (sounds like other posters in this thread may), but, IMO, 8+ miles is too short a distance for you to be trying to dial things in so critically. Try riding longer distances - 16+ miles, 24+ miles . . . all the while, doing whatever you must to keep that numbness at bay.

My guess is that, as you become more fit and build up your endurance, the numbness issue will, like the sitbone issue and other issues of discomfort, work itself out.

Try to concentrate on other aspects of the ride, also. The scenery, the beautiful weather, your performance (speed, distance, cadence, etc.).

I am not a fan of that bike style because it is so restrictive from the standpoint of riding position, and I'd be willing to bet the sitbone issue is a direct result of the very upright position that setup forces you to maintain.

. . . but that is me, and your bike is yours, so, I am hoping that you can just ride it more to work out some of those problems.

Good luck.

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Old 07-01-07, 09:14 AM   #24
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Yen: just something to think about -- you might have a look at Ergon grips. These were designed specifically to alleviate these kinds of problems associated with 'flat' (inc. riser) bars: the design is such that when properly set-up they automatically a) spread the load on your hands to avoid numbness, jarring, etc. and b) just as important, force your hand/wrist alignment into 'neutral'. I (and many others) can say that these are extremely effective: I have DeQuervain's (quite severe) tendonitis and osteo arth. in both thumbs; after gritting my teeth through the past four bike seasons, I bought the Ergons this Spring and -- almost instant, and (it would seem) permanent alleviation of pain. One other thing: there are a lot of 'knock offs' of these grips out there -- stick with the real thing if you go this route.
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Old 07-01-07, 11:00 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
Yen:
I'm not trying to be flip or anything, and I don't know you or your physical or cycling history (sounds like other posters in this thread may), but, IMO, 8+ miles is too short a distance for you to be trying to dial things in so critically. Try riding longer distances - 16+ miles, 24+ miles . . . all the while, doing whatever you must to keep that numbness at bay.
No flipness taken. I'm new to cycling after a 20+ years of no riding at all, and only sporadic before that. I chose a hybrid because I have pre-existing problems in both wrists -- my left wrist has a 29-1/2 year old lunate carpal prosthesis which prohibits much weight-bearing on that hand. My husband has an artificial shoulder joint. When we were shopping for bikes, we believed (and still do, at this time) that a forward riding position would put more weight on our upper extremity joints. My husband's Schwinn is a road bike and his shoulder feels more comfortable when he rides the hybrid. We didn't want those issues to keep us off bikes altogether, so we chose a bike style that we believe fits our (relatively minor) physical restrictions but will allow us to ride as often and as far as we choose for the fun and physical benefits that cycling provides.

8 miles is not my longest ride. Since I bought the bike in May, we have already ridden 18 and 24 miles (the 24-mile ride was 9 days ago) . The numbness/tingling I felt in my hands on those rides wasn't anywhere near the level I felt the other day on the 8 mile ride.


Quote:
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My guess is that, as you become more fit and build up your endurance, the numbness issue will, like the sitbone issue and other issues of discomfort, work itself out.
I agree, as long as there really isn't something wrong with the fit of my bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
Try to concentrate on other aspects of the ride, also. The scenery, the beautiful weather, your performance (speed, distance, cadence, etc.).
Did that.... the 8-mile ride was just to get in some extra riding practice before the weather turned scorching that day but I also worked on other things as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
I am not a fan of that bike style because it is so restrictive from the standpoint of riding position, and I'd be willing to bet the sitbone issue is a direct result of the very upright position that setup forces you to maintain.
Could be.... but I wouldn't describe my position as "very" upright. I'd say a beach cruiser has a very upright position, while mine is somewhat leaning, but not a lot. I'm going to have my husband take some pictures of me on the bike this morning so some of you can see and maybe help me analyze my fit based on my lean and my hand position on the grips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
. . . but that is me, and your bike is yours, so, I am hoping that you can just ride it more to work out some of those problems.
I'm riding it all I can as many days of the week as time allows. My goal at this time is to work out these issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
Good luck.
Caruso
Thanks Caruso, I do appreciate your comments and suggestions.
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