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Old 01-06-11, 10:24 AM   #1
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padded gloves for hand numbness

Hi all,

I have a question about padded gloves/numb hands. But, I'll give a bit of background first.

I've been riding for decades as both a recreational and commuting cyclist. I've used numerous cycling gloves over the decades. The problem is that when I ride for more than 1 hour I invariably end up with numb hands for at least half a day afterward. And, now that it is winter where I live I spend at least an hour in the saddle indoors five days per week. I am always changing hand positions on the bars. I'm regularly taking one hand off, flexing the wrist and fingers, hanging the hand/arm out behind me, swinging it around to improve circulation. But, in the end it seems that this problem has to do with nerves rather than circulation. Both my current bikes were shop fitted to my stature. I always buy "good quality" gear. My current gloves are by Pearl Izumi. When I buy new gloves I always shop for maximum cushioning. Yet, it never seems to be enough in the heals of the palm.

What is going on here? Do I have unusually susceptible nerves? Are there other ways of remedying the hand numbness?

Thanks...
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Old 01-06-11, 10:37 AM   #2
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Maybe get a bike fit? All the padding in the world will not make up for a better position on the bike that puts less pressure on the hands.
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Old 01-06-11, 10:44 AM   #3
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he says he's had them both fit, but maybe he needs a different fitter.
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Old 01-06-11, 10:55 AM   #4
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"I'm always changing hand positions on the bars"
I'm going to assume you have roadbikes. Try getting a stem
that is adjustable if you already have yours at the highest
setting. Next suggestion that you may not like: A hybrid
usually has higher bars in relationship to the seat.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:04 AM   #5
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It does sound like sitting more upright may be the answer. Less pressure on the hands and all. Alternatively, getting a stronger core might allow you to also put less pressure on the hands without sitting up.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:09 AM   #6
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Spenco has made the observation that by splitting the palm pad over the nerve bundle area
near the wrist, that pressure on that nerve bundle site can be reduced.
I think they have a patent on that design..
Spenco 'Ironman' is the short finger version , they have a full finger glove for cool weather.

Don't know if there is a version for really cold winter wear,
then I suppose.. put on mittens over your gloves.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:13 AM   #7
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A bit more info might clarify the situation here.

My last three bikes (two of which I still have) have all been fit to me by three different LBS owners taking measurements, angles, etc. A different fitter might come up with another fit but all three bikes result in the hand numbness. One, the mountain bike, does have a high stem/bar combination. That bike is no longer a mtn bike per se, rather more of a hybrid at this point.

On the road bikes I seldom rode in the drops, so the numbness came from riding the hoods and the top flat. I've been thinking aero bars that took some pressure on the forearms might be a solution. Have others found this to be a solution? Looks like that may be my next purchase...

Also, can anyone point me to web sites discussing the medical issues involved here.

Thanks...
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Old 01-06-11, 11:24 AM   #8
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I'm no doctor (but I play one on the internet..), but it is important to know where the numbness is happening. If it is in the pinkie and ring finger, it is the ulnar nerve that runs under the outer part of the wrist/palm. If you have numbness in the thumb and index finger, it usually is more a carpal tunnel problem. Both can indicate a problem with fit and or hand positioning on the bike, providing other health/safety problems are non-existant...
Padded gloves will not eliminate problems from bad form. In the ulnar scenario, if you are putting too much pressure on the base/outside pad of your palm, no pad is going to stop that. Your weight is pressing the the bone, which is pressing the nerve, which is pressing the muscles, which is pressing the skin, which is pressing the foam, which is pressing the bar. Foam doesn't magically make the pressure go away, it has to go somewhere. If there is no structure (like a brace of some sort), all the foam is doing is slowing the "bounce" of your weight against that pressure point.
Standing on a pillow on top of a scale doesn't make you weigh less.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:29 AM   #9
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Another vote for core-strengthening. I got one of those core- / stabilo-balls and I crunch in all directions several times a day while at work. It's made a terrific difference for me.

It was said of Jacques Anquetil that the secret to his great cycling strength, (despite looking like a sickly, undernourished, peasant kid) lay in his back. Well Jacques' dad was a strawberry farmer, so you know he spent much of his youth hunched over, picking strawberries, and building up his back muscles.

Your hands shouldn't be bearing much of your weight and you should have a light, supple touch on the bars.
I like the way Bernard Hinault said it in his book, "Your hands should be relaxed, as if you could play the piano while riding." (OWTTE)
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Old 01-06-11, 11:31 AM   #10
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I like thinly padded gloves. Pads can't fix whatever is wrong.

The first thing to try is raising the bar. It's cheap and easy to try.

The next thing is different bars, I prefer drop bars.

Next up is you. Your moniker is old, and I am also old.
It helps a LOT when I have a strong torso. They call it
the core these days, don't ask me why.

Your core needs to be able to support you, you shouldn't
be just leaning on the bars all the time.

The last thing to try is a professional fitting. This is not exactly cheap.

A pic of you on the bike from the side with the leg showing full extended would help.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:34 AM   #11
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Are your hands in the right position? BF member DannoXYZ has a great post on proper hand position on a bike with diagrams that show how your hands should rest on the bars - search for it if you aren't positive you are doing it correctly.
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Old 01-06-11, 01:07 PM   #12
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Hi everyone, thanks for the input on this issue.
Here are the main points I get from this so far:

1. Core strength can definitely be improved - excellent suggestion!
2. Spenco gloves might help with pad location, not more padding per se; I'm shopping for new gloves anyway - good suggestion.
3. Pressure is on ulnar side, pretty sure bikes' fit is correct as no other issues at all - good info.
4. Hand position article/thread is a must read in this case - excellent suggestion!
5. My favorite: "...play the piano while riding". My wife will call the men in white suits when I park the bike and trainer at our grand and combine those hobbies!!!

Thanks for the good ideas.
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Old 01-06-11, 05:19 PM   #13
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I ,too, am unable to ride bent over at all which places my hands/wrist in a bind causing numb hands due to pinched nerves almost immediately.

I found a set of bars that solves that "pinch" issue in these bars.......

Chrome bar...
http://www.amazon.com/Nirve-Cruiser-.../dp/B000QFOM8A

same bar in black...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

(Note: you may need a new longer stem to get the bar height just right.)

The thing is I'm now riding bolt upright with my hands just laying on the grips. However, I have had not one ride since I put these bars on where my hands went numb! Not one ride !!!

Now I know that you may want to ride bent over but the truth here is that unless you opt for very expensive, and risky, surgery there is no other workable choice since now you must get all your body weight OFF of your wrist/hands.

It's ok that I ride bolt upright cause I can still ride which is very important to me. So give it some though since as I see your workable choices are pretty much limited to changing your whole riding posture.

Best of luck to you......
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Old 01-06-11, 06:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
...Next suggestion that you may not like: A hybrid
usually has higher bars in relationship to the seat.
I'm not going to suggest getting a new bike, but if I did it would be one that eliminated the problem, not made it a little better.
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Old 01-06-11, 07:13 PM   #15
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I ceased my quest for the perfect gloves when I started riding bikes that put no pressure on my hands. I don't ride bolt upright, either.
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Old 01-06-11, 08:15 PM   #16
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One thing about core... the muscles in your back and butt are part of this.
Deadlifts with light to moderate weight I find helpful.

You need PERFECT form when doing deadlifts. Keep the head up,
pinch the shoulderblades in, don't let your spine curve (slouch)

Mostly I use various bands I got from Perform Better.
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Old 01-06-11, 10:41 PM   #17
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Might seem counterintuitive, but properly fit and wrapped bars and unpadded gloves could be just the ticket. And good strong and flexible core. I cam transition from drops to no hands w/o pushing off the bars.

And see an orthopedist.

Good lick

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Old 01-07-11, 07:01 AM   #18
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old, There are two things in cycling that are counter intuitive: a. My butt hurts/need more padding and b. my hands hurt/need more padding. You should try riding without gloves or a pair with just a thin layer of leather and see what happens.

Even though you've been fitted there's room for improvement more often than not. While the bike is on the trainer, experiment with moving the hoods and/or adjusting handlebar tilt. Stem length may need changing or a different handlebar width/shape change. A rule of thumb is when on the hoods you shouldn't be able to see your front axle through the tops.

That is all I can think of off the top of my head that's bicycle/gear related. Using your core strength to support your body is the most important thing for your body.

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Old 01-07-11, 08:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I like thinly padded gloves. Pads can't fix whatever is wrong.
The last thing to try is a professional fitting. This is not exactly cheap.
A pic of you on the bike from the side with the leg showing full extended would help.
This.

I'll go out on a limb here, because I've seen it first hand. You may not be riding the right size bike, or may be and it's not properly fitted.

I live in a relatively small town with three bike shops. I've shopped at all three. All say I should be riding a 56cm bike. I've bought a couple, and experienced the same agonies that you're going through. Thing is, I now ride (multiple) 54cm bikes. I have no issues with any. Small shops in limited markets stock the most popular sizes and push what they stock. they are not always the best fit for the rider. This also goes for big shops in big cities that are pushed to make sales. Unfortunately for us bike shops are not always staffed with totally knowledgeable people. Wages are low and turnover can be high and owners want to turn inventory. Sometimes as a result the rider suffers. Yes, there are incredible shops out there - this isn't to take away from them, but there are also many that just want to get the $ and send the rider out the door.

You can't make a bike that's too big fit you. You can make a bike that's a touch small bigger and in the process give yourself a range of adjustment. Stem lengths and angles, setback vs straight seatposts, crank lengths can all be changed.

For starters, go to a good online site like competitive cyclist. http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

Read the instructions and follow them to the letter. Take those measurements and compare them to your current bikes. That's a cheap (read free) way to get an idea if you're grossly off. It's NOT 100% definitive - just close.

In my case I need a 55cm top tube to be most comfortable. CC's guide says that. In most brands that 55cm is had in 54cm bikes - hence the fact that I spent a lot of $ buying bikes that didn't fit well. And I'm old enough and inflexible enough physically that trying to adapt my body no longer works well.

Last edited by CCrew; 01-07-11 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 01-07-11, 08:25 AM   #20
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I'm surprised no recumbent folks have gotten on here saying how if you join the dark side you won't have any more problems
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Old 01-07-11, 08:35 AM   #21
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I'm surprised no recumbent folks have gotten on here saying how if you join the dark side you won't have any more problems
Read posts #14 and #15
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Old 01-07-11, 08:44 AM   #22
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ah, my bad.
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Old 01-07-11, 08:48 AM   #23
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ah, my bad.
Actually, you may have been the 1st one to make the recumbent suggestion.
They were being vague, they could have been talking about trikes or beach cruisers
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Old 01-07-11, 11:20 AM   #24
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Actually, you may have been the 1st one to make the recumbent suggestion.
They were being vague, they could have been talking about trikes or beach cruisers
We checked the OP.. He didn't have an aerobelly, beard or engineering degree, so he didn't qualify for a bent...

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Old 01-07-11, 12:17 PM   #25
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I ceased my quest for the perfect gloves when I started riding bikes that put no pressure on my hands. I don't ride bolt upright, either.
Pray tell us, please, what bikes do you ride that don't put pressure on your hands ????
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