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Numb hands

Old 08-08-15, 12:36 PM
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Rubble
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Numb hands

Another newbie question. I'm coming to understand the adage about more time in the saddle makes for less pain but the numb hands and, to some extant, shaky arms continues to plague me. I've started doing preventative 'shaking out' every couple miles.

Is this another "more time" issue? Do gloves make a difference? Will raising/lowering the handlebars help? Is their a specific cereal I should eat for breakfast?
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Old 08-08-15, 01:56 PM
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How many stars in the sky? There are many possible ways to address this. Bike fit for sure plays a big part, as does core fitness. Proper riding form also ties in. In this case, I'm afraid more time in the saddle (without addressing the problem) will only make it worse, likely.
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Old 08-08-15, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Rubble View Post
Another newbie question. I'm coming to understand the adage about more time in the saddle makes for less pain but the numb hands and, to some extant, shaky arms continues to plague me. I've started doing preventative 'shaking out' every couple miles.

Is this another "more time" issue? Do gloves make a difference? Will raising/lowering the handlebars help? Is their a specific cereal I should eat for breakfast?
See what I wrote in your "Did You Ride Today" post.
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Old 08-08-15, 02:49 PM
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Some thoughts. Loose grip on the bars - open up the fingers, but keep the thumb hooked. Loose elbows with a bit of a bend. Padded/gel gloves help some people - not me, but for others - it seems to help them greatly. Shake out the hands, change positions - if a road bike, there are about 4 different hand positions. Mtn bike - many add bar ends. There are other bars with positions. The core muscles need to be strong to support your body independent of having your weight on the bars. Core exercises are used by many.

Good luck. Time and fit can help, also.

Last edited by nobodyhere; 08-08-15 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 08-08-15, 03:18 PM
  #5  
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Another reason I stick to my recumbent and my mountain bike..

No pain anywhere on most recumbent bikes but you will only discover that If your willing to choose a less traveled very different path.

Mountain biking Involves movement all over the bike. Like others said, The Core Is everything as is bike fit and technique.
I started with padded gloves,, no longer needed, I no longer need padded shorts. I guess I hardened up some but mostly it was IMO core and fluidity of movement on the bike.
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Old 08-08-15, 03:36 PM
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You might have damaged the ulnar nerve. This usual happens from riding with your hands in one position all of the time. Padded gloves, moving around and changing your grip a lot should help until it heals. This happened to me last year and it took about six months before the numbness dissipated and my dexterity returned. I've been back to no gloves for quite a while now without any problems. Of course, it's always good to have your doc take a look too.
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Old 08-08-15, 03:54 PM
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Am a long-time recreational and commuter cyclist with injuries and age that have impacted things over the past 15yrs and more. No expert, but I've had to make many minor changes over the years to deal with changes in how much power I can put down on the pedals.

Most important thing I've found is this. I find that a given level of fitness alters how much weight my pedaling legs can support out of the fore/aft load. And adjustments to the relative hand versus the saddle positions seems to impact this most. During "weak" times, I find more pressure gets to the hands; when I'm doing better, the legs take up more of the slack. But it results in numbness when it ends up being too much pressure forward.

I'd suggest fiddling with adjustments to the bar height (sweep, rise), stem (height, length) and saddle position (fore/aft). These ought to change the relative percentage of load that ends up on your saddle versus hands. Might try fiddling with these, or getting a good shop tech's opinion on basic fitment alterations that can be done to alleviate the problem. Even relatively small adjustments can make a difference, depending. If you do end up placing more of the weight aft, you might find your current saddle not quite up to the added load, in which case a different saddle might suit better.

Once the load's about right, I've found cycling gloves to take the last bit of "buzz" and fatigue out of the equation. But if the balance is wrong, no amount of gloving-up fixes that. At least for me.

As others have suggested, changing hand positions frequently can help, reducing the amount of long-term pressure you place on the nerves in the hands.
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Old 08-08-15, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Rubble View Post
Another newbie question. numb hands and, to some extant, shaky arms continues to plague me. I've started doing preventative 'shaking out' every couple miles.
I assume you are riding a road bike but regarding your symptoms will you please describe exactly what you mean by "shaky arms?" Numbness in parts of the hands or fingers isn't that uncommon and occurs for different reasons. However, I've never heard about shaky arms before.

Last edited by Mandeville; 08-08-15 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 08-08-15, 04:11 PM
  #9  
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Try some gloves with minimal padding and bar ends. The bar ends will enable you to change hand positions on your Sirrus.
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Old 08-08-15, 05:00 PM
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Ah the wonder of modern technology. Install AERO BARS and have your fit adjusted at your LBS. You are good to go.
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Old 08-08-15, 05:58 PM
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I ride a flat bar bike and while I do get hand fatigue at times, it is pretty minimal. I wear padded gel gloves and have ergon grips. Both help. In addition, I shortened the ends of my bars so that my hands are almost directly in front of me rather outside the width of shoulders, that helps. I have discovered multiple hand positions on my flat bar and use them. Finally, I try to avoid putting too much weight on my hands. I'll also add that road conditions can have a big affect on hand soreness. If I'm riding on rougher pavement or dirt, then my hands will get tired much more quickly.
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Old 08-08-15, 07:11 PM
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Other than cockpit fit, once I had that dialed in there was a plateau.

What got over the hump on lightening the load on the hands and shoulders was doing some core strengthening.

Sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, weight work.
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Old 08-08-15, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mandeville View Post
I assume you are riding a road bike but regarding your symptoms will please describe exactly what you mean by "shaky arms?" Numbness in parts or the hands or fingers isn't that uncommon and occurs for different reasons. However, I've never heard about shaky arms before.
no, I am riding a hybrid, I guess that's what they're called. Specialized Sirrus flat bar. I think the shaky arms comes from numb hands. When the hands can't feel the bar I think the arms get confused.

I'm pretty fit generally. I do regular gym workouts that include 60 or so machine crunches with 90 pounds. I also do the machine my buddy says only women do but it's like a reverse crunch where you push back weight. I've struggled with a gimpy back for years and regular core workouts have greatly helped. One of the reasons I bought the bike is so I could be less of a gym rat. The air is better outside on the road.

I've ordered a set of Ergon bar ends to help with the different positions.

Thanks guys for the suggestions. I'll get in to the shop with my bike and talk to them about it. They've been very supportive. I think those young guys and gal think it's cool that an old guy is just getting back on the saddle. I stopped in today for another Polar water bottle and got lots of "Hey! How's the riding coming along?" comments.
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Old 08-08-15, 07:46 PM
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One other thing and that's checking the saddle. It should be level. If the nose is pointing down, you use hands and arms too much to support the upper body.
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Old 08-08-15, 08:00 PM
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Definitely talk to the guys at the bike shop. It is far too easy to misinterpret fit problem descriptions on internet forums. Words have different meanings to different people and that can often lead to well meaning but totally wrong advice. Face to face talking and real world observation is far more likely to lead to a good solution.
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Old 08-09-15, 12:21 AM
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When you put effort into biking, the blood is diverfted to the legs. Thats why you and i get numb hands! You just shske em. . .
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Old 08-09-15, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
I'd suggest fiddling with adjustments to the bar height (sweep, rise), stem (height, length) and saddle position (fore/aft). These ought to change the relative percentage of load that ends up on your saddle versus hands. Might try fiddling with these, or getting a good shop tech's opinion on basic fitment alterations that can be done to alleviate the problem. Even relatively small adjustments can make a difference, depending. If you do end up placing more of the weight aft, you might find your current saddle not quite up to the added load, in which case a different saddle might suit better.
I agree.

I had the same problem on my first road bike (Trek 2300) and noticed a big difference when I swapped to a carbon Stem. This may be something to consider. I don't know why it helped. From that I understand, carbon is even more rigid and should conduct more noise through to the handlebar. But after swapping it, the problem went away. It was also a shorter stem, so perhaps it was more the fit that helped, as Clyde1820 said.
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Old 08-09-15, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
When you put effort into biking, the blood is diverfted to the legs. Thats why you and i get numb hands! You just shske em. . .
Any references that I could read about your statement on diverted blood?
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Old 08-09-15, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
I ride a flat bar bike and while I do get hand fatigue at times, it is pretty minimal. I wear padded gel gloves and have ergon grips. Both help. In addition, I shortened the ends of my bars so that my hands are almost directly in front of me rather outside the width of shoulders, that helps. I have discovered multiple hand positions on my flat bar and use them. Finally, I try to avoid putting too much weight on my hands. I'll also add that road conditions can have a big affect on hand soreness. If I'm riding on rougher pavement or dirt, then my hands will get tired much more quickly.
I get in a push up position on the floor, I measure the distance between my palms and cut my flat bar accordingly. I find this is my most comfortable bar length.
As stated above, shoulder width is good and that should be open enough for good breathing

Ergon grips, yeah man ! They make them with bar ends but I don't need that much help,,,, yet..

,, If you need this kind of help get this brand, don't go cheap, cheap does NOT work..

Last edited by osco53; 11-29-16 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 08-09-15, 07:19 PM
  #20  
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Definitely check fit #1 . I ride thousands of miles a year and my fit is fine. However I do have one pair of gloves that causes numbness in my hands due to how the padding is situated-all my others are fine. So, make sure your fit is in order before you try other variables.
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Old 08-10-15, 07:50 AM
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Hand issues is why I went bent. I went through all the fit checkpoints, my weight was good, and my core strength at the time was off the scale. Some people just don't do well on uprights, I guess.
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Old 08-10-15, 07:55 AM
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Free: take 1 hand off the bars, occasionally, and shake it a bit.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by takenreasy View Post
You might have damaged the ulnar nerve. This usual happens from riding with your hands in one position all of the time. Padded gloves, moving around and changing your grip a lot should help until it heals. This happened to me last year and it took about six months before the numbness dissipated and my dexterity returned. I've been back to no gloves for quite a while now without any problems. Of course, it's always good to have your doc take a look too.
About 10 years ago I developed a similar numb hand after riding a century without gloves. I could not feel my left pinkie for about 6 months. I have since learned my lesson.
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Old 08-10-15, 09:21 AM
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1. Experiment with all of the gloves, fit stuff etc. suggested above.

2. Find somebody who will show you the "secret hand shake".

3. If all else fails, there's the "R" word - recumbent. Works for me. Not cheap though. I'd try the gloves and fit stuff first.
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