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Old 07-29-08, 11:19 PM   #1
Lou627
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numbness

Ive been getting complete numbness in my left hand solely in my pinky and ring finger (medical terms), on rides after about 30 miles. It lasts for a day or so. It doesnt hurt, and wouldnt really bother me if I wasnt a working guitarist. What is usually the cause of finger numbness? Could it just be a pinched nerve im aggrivating? Any doctor/cyclists out there? Did I spell aggrivating right? Im asking here because, well, I like you guys the best.
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Old 07-29-08, 11:48 PM   #2
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There's a nerve running along the fleshy part of your palm and is affected from too much pressure on it. It's a common malady with tourers or anyone riding more than an hour sometimes. The best way to combat the problem is too change hand positions often. If you have straight bars get some bar ends or even drop bars. Additionally, try keeping some of your body weight off of your hands when riding. Some folks like gel-padded gloves.

There's alot of info on this site regarding hand numbness. Try the search function on this site to get more info from more knowledgeable folks than I.

Cheers.
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Old 07-30-08, 12:03 AM   #3
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Had the same thing on my first tour, really bad. Some small adjustments to fit (tilted up handlebars a little) and some on the bike exercises (swing arms around every hour or so) sorted it.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:50 AM   #4
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Ive been getting complete numbness in my left hand solely in my pinky and ring finger (medical terms), on rides after about 30 miles. It lasts for a day or so. It doesnt hurt, and wouldnt really bother me if I wasnt a working guitarist. What is usually the cause of finger numbness? Could it just be a pinched nerve im aggrivating? Any doctor/cyclists out there? Did I spell aggrivating right? Im asking here because, well, I like you guys the best.
As a working guitarist myself, I find I have the same issue in the same hand. My bars are a cm. and a half higher than my saddle and I wear gel padded gloves. I've tried everything I can think of to no avail. I'll be very interested to hear the responses to your inquiry.

Richard
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Old 07-30-08, 08:00 AM   #5
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Ive been getting complete numbness in my left hand solely in my pinky and ring finger (medical terms), on rides after about 30 miles. It lasts for a day or so. It doesnt hurt, and wouldnt really bother me if I wasnt a working guitarist. What is usually the cause of finger numbness? Could it just be a pinched nerve im aggrivating? Any doctor/cyclists out there? Did I spell aggrivating right? Im asking here because, well, I like you guys the best.
I had the same thing happen except I'm still feeling the effects nearly two weeks after my tour. I'm seeing another doctor tomorrow to get a second opinion - nothing definite yet. It is affecting my left hand as well - mostly my pinkie and ring finger.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:02 AM   #6
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Numbness in the little finger & 1/2 of the ring finger is Ulnar nerve damage. I had it bad on my first tour in both hands, along with a weakness in my grip. I could hardly use silverware let alone play a guitar! I rode with it for a month on the trip, and then saw a doctor. She said to give it a while. After 6 weeks it went away. Man was I glad. I blamed it on my gloves & not changing positions often enough, a lack of training, and the bar tape I used. The bar tape was Brooks leather, which had large lumps where it overlapped. I looked for gloves that specifically mentioned protecting the Ulnar nerve, taped my bar with sewn on elk hide, and move my hands a lot. I rode the same route last year with no problems. For this years tour I added a pair of aero-bars so I can give my hands a brake now & then.

Here is one glove that I found:
http://www.pearlizumi.com/product.ph...uct_id=1236220

Tom
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Old 07-30-08, 09:06 AM   #7
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Numbness in the little finger & 1/2 of the ring finger is Ulnar nerve damage. I had it bad on my first tour in both hands, along with a weakness in my grip. I could hardly use silverware let alone play a guitar! I rode with it for a month on the trip, and then saw a doctor. She said to give it a while. After 6 weeks it went away. Man was I glad. I blamed it on my gloves & not changing positions often enough, a lack of training, and the bar tape I used. The bar tape was Brooks leather, which had large lumps where it overlapped. I looked for gloves that specifically mentioned protecting the Ulnar nerve, taped my bar with sewn on elk hide, and move my hands a lot. I rode the same route last year with no problems. For this years tour I added a pair of aero-bars so I can give my hands a brake now & then.

Here is one glove that I found:
http://www.pearlizumi.com/product.ph...uct_id=1236220

Tom
Did you do anything to speed the recovery or just leave it alone?
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Old 07-30-08, 11:35 AM   #8
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I used to have a problem with this. Three years ago I did a 10-day tour down the Oregon coast. My left hand went numb and it lasted for a month after the tour was over.

Here's what I did:
  1. My handlebars used to be lower than my saddle. I raised them until they're level. That puts less pressure on your hands. If you have a quill stem, check out Nitto Technomic stems. If you have a threadless headset, check out the BOA stem from Profile Design.
  2. I re-wrapped my bars. First I put some gel pads on the bars themselves - I've used Aztek gel pads and Specialized and they both work. Then I wrapped the bars with the foam tape that came with the gel pads. Then, over that, I wrapped two layers of cloth tape. My bars are pretty fat, but I have big hands so that doesn't bother me. Not only is there a lot of cushioning, but I think the larger diameter grips spread the weight of my upper body over more surface area on my hands.
  3. I use gel gloves.
  4. I use drop bars. They give me more options for hand placement. I change positions often. My hands tell me when; I don't even think about it. I wouldn't tour with straight bars (like on mountain bikes.) I guess if you don't have a problem with numbness, they're okay, especially with comfy grips and bar ends, but I like drops better. Trekking bars are also an option.

I just finished a 500 mile tour with no numbness. Of course, there's always a little bit of residual effect from being on the bars all day. I find that when I write in my journal after the ride, my handwriting is messy because my hands feel a little "funny", but it's not to the point of numbness.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:41 PM   #9
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is there any possibility of numbness being connected to the shoulders? Ive noticed less pronounced effect when I load my panniers opposed to wearing a backpack. Though it might just be the added weight on my hands.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:29 PM   #10
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Ulnar nerve. It isn't a shoulder thing.

If you feel the hard point on the heel of your hand, the nerve runs from the wrist into your hand just on the inside (thumb side) of that hard point (pisiform bone). When you rest your hand on straight bars, or sometimes on the hoods of drops, you get pressure there.

The only prevention is not leaning on that point (ie. changing bar position).
The only cure is time.
If it gets more severe, you get weakness of the intrinsic muscles of the hand (you can't do the Dr Spock hand thing).

-- edit

I'm pointing a little to far over to the little finger side of the hand. It's a little closer to the thumb, maybe 0.5 cm. If you press there you'll feel the bone; if you press on the thumb side of the bone, hard, then press into the bone you'll feel some tingling or pain from pressure on the nerve.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:35 PM   #11
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Did you do anything to speed the recovery or just leave it alone?
I just left it alone, then the numbness just went away completely in one day, both hands! I forgot to add, the Spock hand thing came back too!

Last edited by tomn; 07-31-08 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:39 PM   #12
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Thank for the specifics, ive definitely found the spot. Ill work on avoiding pressure there especially since the spock hand thing is my trademark
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Old 07-30-08, 11:41 PM   #13
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Live long and prosper.
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Old 08-01-08, 10:26 AM   #14
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Had another appointment to assess my numb left hand and came up with some interesting conclusions. The good news is that I should have a full recovery in a reasonable amount of time.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:02 PM   #15
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is there any possibility of numbness being connected to the shoulders? Ive noticed less pronounced effect when I load my panniers opposed to wearing a backpack. Though it might just be the added weight on my hands.

I have this issue with one bike(Hard tail MTB), when I wore my Camel Back the problem was not as bad, the bike was also loaded heavier too. I have lots more weight on my hands when riding my road bike, no numbness.
I am still blaming hand position as mentioned but more blaming road vibration.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:33 PM   #16
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We just did a 50 miler each way on a weekend trip, and it was mostly gravel trail. I noted that with moving panniers the front, dropping the front tire pressure 5 pounds, the front smoothed out. Putting weight on the front helps dampen small frequency vibrations. I was noticeably happier with the weight on the front, less hand numbness.
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