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Numb hand

Old 06-05-17, 06:52 AM
  #1  
globecanvas
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Numb hand

For years I have had an issue where on long or hard rides my right hand sometimes gets pins and needles or goes numb. The pins and needles are actually good because it means the feeling is coming back, the numbness is not so good. I know this is a common problem and like I said it's gone on for years. Mostly it's just annoying, and I'm constantly shaking out my right hand to get the feeling back. I get Reynaud's in cool (not cold) weather too, no idea if that's related.

Yesterday's race was a fast crit with a lot of contact and at one point I thought somebody hit my rear wheel, except without the usual vocalization that would go along with that. A few laps later my rear brake was dragging through a turn and I thought it was a mechanical or something until I realized I was actually applying the brake but couldn't feel it, which must have been what the earlier incident was too. It didn't affect my race, except maybe mentally, but it elevated my perception of the problem from annoyance to potential safety risk.

I have a good "futuro" brand soft wrist brace that I used to wear more often, which helps, and I'm going to start wearing it in races. Like I said, I know this is a common problem, but the usual suggestion is to adjust bike fit, and I feel good about my fit and also it's always just the one hand anyway.

Any advice from anyone else who's dealt with this?
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Old 06-05-17, 07:03 AM
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Your situation seems elevated beyond what is common. Bike fit. Stronger core. Medical evaluation.
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Old 06-05-17, 07:12 AM
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On a couple of rides, I found my left hand going numb shortly after starting out, which was strange to me because I thought I was not doing anything different there. Until I realized that I had strapped my glove on just a little bit too tight.
It's the little things...
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Old 06-05-17, 07:31 AM
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I get this too. But only in my right hand. Left hand is fine, and the numbness is largely restricted to my pinkie and ring fingers. It's also worse in races when I am in the drops more. I find that by widening my grip, I helps.

I tend to have carpal tunnel issues in my right hand. I frequently wear a wrist brace when it flares up.

Lastly, while I've never been diagnosed with Reynauds, my wife is convinced I have it due to poor circulation in my hands and feet.
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Old 06-05-17, 07:31 AM
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TheKillerPenguin
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That happens to me riding my Tarmac. I realized after riding my new bike that the reason it happens is my right hood is ever so slightly higher than my left one so it puts more pressure on my right hand, causing it to go numb eventually.
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Old 06-05-17, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
That happens to me riding my Tarmac. I realized after riding my new bike that the reason it happens is my right hood is ever so slightly higher than my left one so it puts more pressure on my right hand, causing it to go numb eventually.
I get it while riding on the track too, so shifter position is not an issue.
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Old 06-05-17, 07:45 AM
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globecanvas
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I hate to be the "please give me advice but I won't listen to your advice" guy but re: fit, core, doctor: happens on all bikes incl. MTB and always just the one hand so I really don't think fit is part of it, I do a lot of core work, and I don't like doctors (ok that last one is not a very good excuse).

It definitely happens more in the drops than the hoods and happens less if I focus on keeping the hands light (iow happens more in a white knuckle crit).

Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
I find that by widening my grip, I helps.
Widening grip meaning... ?
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Old 06-05-17, 07:48 AM
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I've had this happen to my left hand, oddly enough while riding on the trainer, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me because I don't put a lot of weight on my hands on the trainer, so it might have been due to other stuff, but it only flared up on the bike. I found that wearing a hand brace for a few days did help. Wish I had some insight into why that happened, but glad it's gone away.
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Old 06-05-17, 07:56 AM
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topflightpro
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Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
Widening grip meaning... ?
Basically, I stick my elbows out so that I end up putting my palm under the bar. It's effective for reducing the numbness and discomfort, but it is incredibly not aerodynamic.

Also, it's not the best position for reaching the brakes/shifters.

Last edited by topflightpro; 06-05-17 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 06-05-17, 08:46 AM
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Radish_legs
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anything that decreases pressure on the nerve will help prevent this. From the way your hand is positioned to how much weight is actually on the hand (versus the feet and the saddle). To making changes to your hand position to decrease pressure. A more experienced rider told me that as I got better, my core would improve, and I would have less weight on my hands. That turned out to be true.
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Old 06-05-17, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
I hate to be the "please give me advice but I won't listen to your advice" guy but re: fit, core, doctor: happens on all bikes incl. MTB and always just the one hand so I really don't think fit is part of it, I do a lot of core work, and I don't like doctors (ok that last one is not a very good excuse).

It definitely happens more in the drops than the hoods and happens less if I focus on keeping the hands light (iow happens more in a white knuckle crit).



Widening grip meaning... ?
FWIW I have the Reynauds thing going on as well, but 0 numbness in my hands on the new bike. So at the least I do not think that they are related.
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Old 06-05-17, 04:03 PM
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Grumpy McTrumpy
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Are you tensing up your upper back or lower neck? That is where those nerves come from. I've learned this the hard way.
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Old 06-05-17, 04:09 PM
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yeah - my hands go numb whenever it's below 55f or so but not from just riding. add my n to that bucket.
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Old 06-05-17, 05:07 PM
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long descents are a problem for me.. hard for me to apply brakes sometimes. Mt Diablo northgate comes to mind and it's bumpy. I pulled over last time to shake them back to life.
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Old 06-05-17, 08:53 PM
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Neck issues? I have right hand issues from my posture at work.
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Old 06-05-17, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
yeah - my hands go numb whenever it's below 55f or so but not from just riding. add my n to that bucket.
Ninny! Strike that, soft Californian ninny.

GC, you are starting to get to the point of decline, instead of building, in high level physical activity and issues aren't going to get any better from here on out.

As a fairly serious musician and any number of other things in your life you just need to account for where this might have sprung up and try doing some very light, very low stress opposing muscle work to help correct it. Every single person is different and has made different mistakes in their youth that will catch up to them eventually. All the ulnar nerve big S science products and fancy medical braces aren't going to fix it.
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Old 06-05-17, 09:16 PM
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Numb hands are more often than not a result of tensing the shoulders/neck, and not from having too much weight/pressure on the hands.

"A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure."

So when your hands start to go numb, just shake your head back and forth. I'm not even kidding. It works almost instantly.
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Old 06-06-17, 09:07 AM
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ancker
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Get a Pro Bike Fit.

I had a similar problem and got it (among other things) sorted with a bike fit. In my case, my stem was too long and I was reaching for the bars instead of letting the bars support me.
Coming back 2cm made it disappear.
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Old 06-06-17, 09:34 AM
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My right hand goes numb sometimes. The first 2 fingers (opposite of all the cases I found online where it was the last 2). Typically only happened in crits a while back. Then I got more relaxed in crits, stopped spending the entire time with a death grip in the drops, and it went away. Happens every now and then still when I'm too tense. Happened on Sunday a couple times in the 34 minutes I was racing.
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Old 06-06-17, 10:06 AM
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globecanvas
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Thanks for all of the suggestions -- I really like the tense neck/shoulders idea, I will focus on that in the next race.

I like it better than miyata man's "everything sucks because you are old" anyway


(NSFW language obvs)
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Old 06-06-17, 01:03 PM
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miyata man
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OK, saying you've put in all the hard work and need to focus a little more on maintenance would have been more diplomatic. I'm sure if you looked back you might find a few likely culprits that could have impacted your hands going numb though.
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Old 06-06-17, 01:06 PM
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IMO globecanvas is probably dying.
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Old 06-06-17, 05:04 PM
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Most of my successful mitigation for hand numbness has been counter-intuitive:

No gloves
Thin bar tape with no padding

The former is probably related in part to pressure on the wrist nerves, both create a smaller "hold" diameter.

The other thing that really has helped is carbon bars; heavier units seem to do a better job than ultra light stuff i.e. Zipp SL70 Aero vs. Contour. FWIW the old Easton's weren't much better than aluminum.

There's definitely a vibration component to my numbness, I never have had the issue at the Carson track which is basketball court smooth. With that since going to lower pressure 25c tubeless (they actually measure out 27.5) on most of my stuff I've noticed a reduction in numbness frequency as well.
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Old 06-06-17, 05:10 PM
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Pinky and ring finger?

Been there and done that in the 1970's when I first started riding.

I am not a doctor, but I have been there. It is damage to the ulnar nerve. Get better padding and change your hand positions. It will take at least a year to totally get over it.
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Old 06-06-17, 05:57 PM
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I like wearing gloves... but they have to have next to no padding. More padding=more numb for me....along the lines of racerx for me too
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