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Numbness in one hand only from road vibration

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Numbness in one hand only from road vibration

Old 11-18-16, 06:40 AM
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Numbness in one hand only from road vibration

So I built this gravel bike last january and have had issues ever since. It was my first drop bar bike. The frame is a 58 TT and it is not too long for my build. I am running 700cx32 knobbies on it but the frame can fit up to 45s it claims. I rode this frame on RAGBRAI with a 90 mm stem and the same tires. I am running Salsa cowbell bars. So I have been struggling with hand numbness since day one in my right hand only. For the longest time I thought it was either bike fit or core strength. I have toyed with a 60,80,and 90 mm stem. I have experimented with seat set back, double taping, gel pads under my wrap, and gloves/no gloves. I have the same issue no matter what. I am not that weak of a rider and I do core exercises each night.

But after enough time/experience has passed I am learning there is more to it. For one I can have this issue on all my bikes. Even my bike with Jones H bars was known to give me some issues on longer rides until I bought a Ritchey 30 degree riser stem. This helped a lot but only because I can sit nearly completely upright. For another, this is related to the road surface. Although the issue happens on pavement or gravel, it takes more miles on pavement before I experience it. Gravel happens within a few miles. Once the numbness happens, switching hand positions will not do anything. I have to do the hand shake to get the sensation back. I got my fit about nailed down on this bike and can even hold myself up with my core while riding and the issue will still happen. I know now that it seems related to the vibrations in my bars. Occasionally I have a pain in my elbow/tricep area. My right tricep will get sore right around the elbow area. Last night I did a 25 mile gravel ride and struggled with my right hand after the first 5 miles for the entire trip but my left hand never had any issues at all.

I spent 16/17 years as an auto mechanic and I am right handed. Last night I was reading about a vibration hand syndrome from using vibrating tools for too many years. One issue with this syndrome is nerve issues that cause hand freezing in colder weather, which I have in my right hand each winter. But honestly I didn't use an impact gun all day for 8 hours. I picked it up to do its job then set it down and grabbed a wrench etc. It's not like I used a jack hammer all day for years so I am not sure I got this issue from occasionally impact gun use. I just wonder if I have an issue with the nerve that runs down my arm from my elbow to my hand. Can anyone else relate to this?
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Old 11-18-16, 08:58 AM
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I have toyed with a 60,80,and 90 mm stem. I have experimented with seat set back, double taping, gel pads under my wrap, and gloves/no gloves.
+ handlebar angle, handlebar type, shifter position, stretching every x minutes and so on.

My problem was actually caused by something unrelated to cycling. During my 45 minute commute in the morning and 1 hour commute in the evening I was wedging my left arm against the armrest in my car so hard it was pinching the nerve running down to my hands. I hated this kind of driving and I think I was stressed and unconsciously trying to stabilize myself in the car. I wouldn't notice using a keyboard and mouse but once I got home and went for a ride it was so aggravated I had the uncontrolled pinky symptom straight away and had trouble grasping things and general degradation of my manual dexterity.

It took me weeks to realize the cause and after I did a few weeks of stretching and light riding seemed to resolve the issue. I'm currently riding for several hours with no issues.

Your issue sounds slightly different than mine but perhaps this webpage will help you as it did me:Cyclist's palsy - Physiopedia, universal access to physiotherapy knowledge.

Slight aside, I also worked with my hands for a large part of my adult life but my time was spend in a kitchen. I didn't work with vibrating tools but I did spend large amounts of time with my hands submerged in very hot water or going in/out of hot ovens/fryers and so forth. Today I work in an office but my hands are extremely sensitive to cold weather. Often I'll sit here typing with gloves, or be on a bike ride in 65 degree weather wearing winter gloves while my jersey flaps open.
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Old 11-18-16, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
+ handlebar angle, handlebar type, shifter position, stretching every x minutes and so on.

My problem was actually caused by something unrelated to cycling. During my 45 minute commute in the morning and 1 hour commute in the evening I was wedging my left arm against the armrest in my car so hard it was pinching the nerve running down to my hands. I hated this kind of driving and I think I was stressed and unconsciously trying to stabilize myself in the car. I wouldn't notice using a keyboard and mouse but once I got home and went for a ride it was so aggravated I had the uncontrolled pinky symptom straight away and had trouble grasping things and general degradation of my manual dexterity.

It took me weeks to realize the cause and after I did a few weeks of stretching and light riding seemed to resolve the issue. I'm currently riding for several hours with no issues.

Your issue sounds slightly different than mine but perhaps this webpage will help you as it did me:Cyclist's palsy - Physiopedia, universal access to physiotherapy knowledge.

Slight aside, I also worked with my hands for a large part of my adult life but my time was spend in a kitchen. I didn't work with vibrating tools but I did spend large amounts of time with my hands submerged in very hot water or going in/out of hot ovens/fryers and so forth. Today I work in an office but my hands are extremely sensitive to cold weather. Often I'll sit here typing with gloves, or be on a bike ride in 65 degree weather wearing winter gloves while my jersey flaps open.

Thanks for the response. What kind of stretches?
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Old 11-18-16, 08:55 PM
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I really liked the ones here, especially the lower left.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...ebc01c5c8d.jpg

And pretty much all of the hand ones (1-5) here: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergo...tretching.html

If this is a nerve issue, remember they can take a long time to heal so you want to keep up things for a few weeks. I've recovered from serious knee bruises and other muscle/bone injuries much faster than anything with nerves.

And as always, may be worthwhile to consult a professional if this persists.
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Old 11-18-16, 11:27 PM
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Could also be a shoulder/neck issue. See a physical therapist and they should be able to isolate where things are getting blocked. My PT has done wonders for my hand numbness.
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Old 11-19-16, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by trail_monkey
So I built this gravel bike last january and have had issues ever since. It was my first drop bar bike. The frame is a 58 TT and it is not too long for my build. ?
You say this, but a 90mm stem on a 58cm frame is not right. I find that most people who have hand issues have a fit issue related to bar drop/position. Easy test i learned from an old school pro. Ride your bike with your hands on the hoods, gradually try to lift both hands up off the hoods while still pedaling, if you can't and fall forward you have a fit problem that's putting too much weight on your hands. Could be too high saddle, too much reach or bar drop. For frame of reference, i can pedal down the road with my hands just hovering above the hoods without issue.
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Old 11-19-16, 05:31 PM
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See a neurologist if it is persistent.
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Old 11-20-16, 06:13 PM
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I cannot believe how much dampening a carbon fiber handlebar is on gravel roads/trails. An Easton EC70 for example makes a huge huge difference. The damage might be done but you can put a price on comfort --> the comfort of a carbon fiber handlebar to soften/dampen the vibes.
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Old 11-20-16, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by OnTheRivet
You say this, but a 90mm stem on a 58cm frame is not right. I find that most people who have hand issues have a fit issue related to bar drop/position. Easy test i learned from an old school pro. Ride your bike with your hands on the hoods, gradually try to lift both hands up off the hoods while still pedaling, if you can't and fall forward you have a fit problem that's putting too much weight on your hands. Could be too high saddle, too much reach or bar drop. For frame of reference, i can pedal down the road with my hands just hovering above the hoods without issue.
I can do this but as miles rack up and muscles get fatigued it becomes harder. Honestly I don't think a 90 mm stem is necessarily wrong on a 58 frame. Not saying it's right either but you can't judge off numbers alone. Every rider is different. I am actually quite flexible and sometimes in a shorter stem and a longer ride my back gets tired and I feel the need to stretch out on the bars and I can't cause my stems so short. I haven't made up my mind yet on whether I want to be more upright or more stretched out. I seen some pics of me from RAGBRAI and I don't feel I was as stretched out in the pics as I would have guessed. My torso was about a 45 degree angle if that much so......this is a pic of me on my 58 frame with a 90 mm race face 6 degree stem. I am on the white vassago with the Revelate tangle bag in the center in the pic
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Old 11-22-16, 01:38 PM
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I once had the same problem. My daughter had the same problem. We both first thought it was cycling-related. It was only in our right hands. (Sound familiar?)

We found the culprit. It was our computer mice. Too many hours every day at the computer. Once we went "ergonomic" at our respective desks and made time to rest/stretch our hands/wrists during the day, the problem subsided. No more "road vibration" numbness.
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Old 11-22-16, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo
I once had the same problem. My daughter had the same problem. We both first thought it was cycling-related. It was only in our right hands. (Sound familiar?)

We found the culprit. It was our computer mice. Too many hours every day at the computer. Once we went "ergonomic" at our respective desks and made time to rest/stretch our hands/wrists during the day, the problem subsided. No more "road vibration" numbness.
I am a satellite contractor but my job involves lots of driving behind the wheel from job to job. Some days not so many miles and other days 4-6 hours worth of driving split throughout the day. I have noticed for some time now, that my right arm/tricep/elbow gets irritated when steering my vehicle at the 12 o clock position and I have to steer with my left hand. They don't make a vehicle to fit tall people. If you position the seat so that you have ample leg room, your arm is nearly full extension to reach the wheel. If you slide the seat forward to get a bend in your elbow, your legs are smashed. I swear they need to make all cars with telescoping steering wheels like an old tractor. There's a reason nascar drivers have their wheel right in front of their chest lol.
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Old 11-24-16, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by OnTheRivet
You say this, but a 90mm stem on a 58cm frame is not right. I find that most people who have hand issues have a fit issue related to bar drop/position. Easy test i learned from an old school pro. Ride your bike with your hands on the hoods, gradually try to lift both hands up off the hoods while still pedaling, if you can't and fall forward you have a fit problem that's putting too much weight on your hands. Could be too high saddle, too much reach or bar drop. For frame of reference, i can pedal down the road with my hands just hovering above the hoods without issue.
Or a tilted saddle, in my case.
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