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Old 04-14-13, 04:43 PM   #1
Jean Beetham Smith 
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absent a long time, looking for advice for wrist/thumb pain

From the fall of 2000 to 2010 I was a pretty regular participant on Bike Forums. Then I began having difficulty with my thumb and wrist. A significant portion of this is related to my work as a vet tech. Sustained gripping while hyperextending my wrist has taken its toll over the past 30 years. My grip strength is now impaired enough that at the end of the day I frequently drop things. Riding has been impossible for the past year. Basically I've had to choose between making a living and riding. I've already tried a steroid injection, and that gave me a lot of relief and has let me continue to work, but has not stopped the weakness and pain I get when I ride. The hand surgeon tells me I can't expect any significant relief without surgery and I can only have 1 more steroid injection. Here are my questions. 1) Has anyone here successfully worked around similar problems, if so what worked for you? 2) My intuition is that neither USS or ASS on a recumbent would be any different, anyone have an opinion on that?
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Old 04-14-13, 04:59 PM   #2
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I'd definitely recommend trying a recumbent. The difference is zero weight on your hands and wrists. I've got one each above seat steering and under seat steering. I personally prefer the above seat but there are lots of folks who like under seat steering.
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Old 04-14-13, 05:07 PM   #3
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More generally, Mrs. Road Fan has had hand surgery on both hands, with great success.

What are USS and ASS?
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Old 04-14-13, 05:54 PM   #4
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More generally, Mrs. Road Fan has had hand surgery on both hands, with great success.

What are USS and ASS?
Under the seat steering and above the seat steering. Esoteric recumbent lore.

Recumbents are much easier on the hands. In fact, in a zen-like fashion, the less your grip is the easier it is to control. Try telling yourself that when you're hitting 40 MPH downhill.

Whats more important is the type of shifter. Don't get grip shifters, only get trigger shifters. I have grip shifters and don't really like them.
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Old 04-14-13, 06:10 PM   #5
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Even on a recumbent, he may still lack the grip strength--which is important in braking.
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Old 04-14-13, 07:31 PM   #6
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Have you tried any strength training for the hand and forearm? I would ask your physician if work with weights or grip strength exercises would help.

I used to have more problems with numbness in my hands when I was riding mountain bikes with flat bars and riding the flats on my bikes with drop bars. Now that I spend a lot more time with my hands on the hoods and occasionally on the drops, I don't have nearly so many issues. You may want to check with your LBS about getting your bike fit to you.

Just a few ideas.
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Old 04-14-13, 07:31 PM   #7
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Even on a recumbent, he may still lack the grip strength--which is important in braking.
Not if he installs hydraulic brakes, like they make for mountain bikes.
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Old 04-15-13, 10:55 AM   #8
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I think he is a she.

I have pain in the thumb joint of my left hand and sometimes I tape it up before a ride. Seems to help a lot.
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Old 04-15-13, 11:58 AM   #9
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This is an example of where a recumbent is the answer.As far as the brakes go if grip is a problem, one---change the brake lever to the good hand and put that on the rear brake. Two use the dual brake option where one brake lever controls both brakes. Bents provide solutions to many physical problems.
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Old 04-15-13, 12:55 PM   #10
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I think he is a she.
Bikey Mikey started it.

But as per above, if you really want to get out there badly enough, this is usually a way to cope with disabilities. For goodness sakes, paraplegics get out there and ride. And everyone knows braking is for sissies.
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Old 04-15-13, 01:15 PM   #11
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I too suffer from a lot of wrist and grip pain. My hands are so bad that I can not open plastic caps from medicine containers, Plastic milk jugs, etc.

On my recumbents I have both Grip Shift and Trigger shifters. The Trigger shifters are tough on my thumbs where-as the Grip shifters don't bother me at all.

As with all aspects of trying something different, explore and try everything you can.
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Old 04-15-13, 01:42 PM   #12
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+1 on a recumbent.

+1 on worrying whether or not she has enough strength to brake comfortably.

I personally prefer trigger shifters over grip shifters (and I find more expensive trigger shifters are often easier to use than grip shifters). There are also barend shifters (and even brifters, but I would think those would be the worst in this case).

Jean, I would think you'll be best off finding recumbents to try. Here's a (very incomplete) map of both dealers and riders which was filled in by BROL users.

Good luck!


Cheers,
Charles
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Old 04-15-13, 02:25 PM   #13
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See a physical therapist for: relief from hand/wrist pain, advice for bike set up.
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