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Old 06-03-08, 05:30 AM   #1
bh357
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Shoulder Pain in One Shoulder

My wife is having some shoulder pain in just her left shoulder. She also commented about hand pain, I believe towards the center of the palm/wrist. No lower back pain complaints. She stated that she thinks the pain starts to radiate inward and downward to the upper back as distance increases. This is common to both our new tandem and her single bike (a Trek Navigator).
Saddle position is the same on both bikes (height and rear offset). Reach to the bars seems the same. The bars on the tandem are about 2" higher than the saddle, and the bars on her Navigator are about 1 1/2 - 2" higher yet. For what it's worth, the bars on both bikes are on the wider side, and she has a mirror on the left side.
Thanks in advance for any advice you have.
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Old 06-03-08, 09:18 AM   #2
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I don't know what you can do about the shoulder issue besides raising the bars even more, but at least for the hand numbness, I've found two things that have solved it for me. Quality riding gloves and Ergon grips. A good set of gloves is suppose to help reduce pressure points, and the Ergon grips let you spread out the pressure over a larger surface area rather than a thin strip the way a circular grip does. Additionally, if you get the ones with the bar ends, you have an additional hand position to use too.
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Old 06-05-08, 10:14 AM   #3
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Have you looked at the thread in Utility Cycling about alternative handlebars? Sometimes a person needs his/her hands to be turned in a handshake position instead of in the flat bar position. If your wife has ever had a pinched nerve or back problems maybe that might help too. The ergonomic type grips are an excellent suggestion too.
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Old 06-05-08, 11:26 AM   #4
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My wife had the same problem 22 years ago. We got a semi-recumbent tandem. She does the recumbent part. No more problems. Does your wife have any over-use or tennis-elbow type problems? I had a sore right shoulder from doing too much needlepoint. Less stitching, more warm-up, stretching while riding; problem solved.
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Old 06-05-08, 11:49 AM   #5
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My right shoulder just kills on longer rides...the hand numbness comes from pressure on the main nerve in the hand...many glove companies now design to alleviate this pressure (see Specialized for one).

I really need a solution to the shoulder thing...it shouldn't be from volleyball as I am not in season and my shoulder doesn't typically get sore in season anyway. I need a good massage after every ride...too bad I don't get them.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:55 PM   #6
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I was experiencing shoulder pain on the super long rides (over 100 miles). A stem with more rise was the answer for me. I went from 10 degrees to 17 degrees. Those yahoos in the road biking forum can say "flip it" all they want. My head tube is way short so a greater rise is my only option.
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Old 06-06-08, 06:16 PM   #7
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check the bike saddle - maybe adjust the angle. if you know a chiroprator who is also a cyclist, go there!
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Old 06-09-08, 08:08 AM   #8
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Quick update:

We went for a 26 mile ride on the tandem yesterday afternoon. Prior to this ride, I moved the grips inward by a couple inches per side, effectively shortening the handlebars. This mostly solved the shoulder issue (she commented about just starting to feel a slight twinge in the last couple miles, where before it would start to hurt within a half-dozen miles of the start). The hand numbness/pain was there (but a bit less than before), but she wasn't wearing her gloves.
The hand issues are only on the left side; her right side is fine. I'm going to dig up a good photo of some bullhorns to show her.
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