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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - who knew??

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - who knew??

Old 12-23-16, 08:52 AM
  #1  
RonH
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - who knew??

I've been waking up 2 or 3 times during the night with a numb/tingling right hand. Since I have (lumbar) spinal stenosis I thought it might be spine related. Went to my spine doc and had X-rays and he said its not spine related. It's CTS.
The doc gave me a splint to wear at night and I've had two uninterrupted night's sleep.

He recommended cork handlebar tape and good quality gel gloves. My Litespeed has cork tape and I have one pair of Sugoi Formula FX gloves with nice gel padding. The PI gloves have gel-light padding so they'll be backup gloves only. Went to the bike shop and picked up another pair of Sugoi gloves. They didn't have cork tape for the Cannondale (it has some fancy Cannondale stuff, looks kinda like leather/rubber) so ordered some cork tape online.
Now I need to remember how to wrap the handlebars.
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Old 12-23-16, 08:57 AM
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I just had my second (left hand this time) carpal tunnel release surgery 10 days ago. Just so you know ... when the time comes that splints, NSAIDS, and those sort of measures no longer work, the surgical procedure to fix it is a breeze. Both of mine were the "open" type with incision, but most people (lucky ones who have better bone structure than I do) have the closed type now, which is even easier.

Very glad I had them done, right hand was back in August - nothing to it and it is instant relief.
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Old 12-23-16, 10:46 AM
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I've had it for years (job related), and what I've found helps is well padded tape, good gloves, and drop bars with oval tops. I'm riding on Zipp Service Course SL-70's, and they made a world of difference for me.

Last edited by Wileyrat; 12-23-16 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 12-23-16, 11:33 AM
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There are also the Gel Under tape pads that add some vibration absorption without a much thicker total bar wrap.

'Cork tape' is mostly a plastic foam with flakes of cork..
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Old 12-23-16, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I just had my second (left hand this time) carpal tunnel release surgery 10 days ago. Just so you know ... when the time comes that splints, NSAIDS, and those sort of measures no longer work, the surgical procedure to fix it is a breeze. Both of mine were the "open" type with incision, but most people (lucky ones who have better bone structure than I do) have the closed type now, which is even easier.

Very glad I had them done, right hand was back in August - nothing to it and it is instant relief.
Well...presuming the surgery puts an end to it.

Depends on what caused the case of CTS in the first place, which is most often doing some activity in a very tense manner (e.g. typing, playing a musical instrument etc).

I've known lots of folks with tendonitis and then CTS over the years, being a musician....and almost all of them went through at least 2 CT drillings in each arms before giving up music. Because the CTS was just a symptom of poor technique, that never went away and the CTS came right back. Only one of those musicians is still playing out of over a dozen.


OP-the question is what is causing it. Having a deathgrip on the handlebar can do it....but padding a deathgripped handlebar (via tape or gloves) doesn't actually do anything about you deathgripping your bars, besides making it harder to notice you're tensing up and deathgripping it.
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Old 12-23-16, 11:57 AM
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I got the numb-hands-in-the-morning thing a few years ago. Being me, I looked it up on the internet. I found two things which cured me completely in a couple weeks:

1) Instead of using splints, I tuck my hands, held flat, under my pillow at night. I sleep on my sides or stomach, so that works fine for me.

2) I printed this out and started doing these exercises twice a day: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises

I still tuck my hands at night, but don't need to do the exercises anymore.

On the bike, I concentrate on dropping my shoulder blades down my back and relaxing my shoulders. When on the hoods, I tuck my little fingers behind the bar. That helps relax my hands. Plus of course the eternal Numb Hands post.
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Old 12-23-16, 11:58 AM
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I don't have carpal tunnel, but I get cramps, and wrap all my bike's bars with foam pipe insulation.
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Old 12-23-16, 12:51 PM
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I had my second Carpal Tunnel operation three days ago. I rode my bike four miles this morning with no significant pain.

The first operation was on my left hand three months ago; it is completely healed. Both operations were endoscopic procedures with only two very small incisions; one at the base of the wrist for the cutting hook (which looks like a seam ripper) and the other in the lower palm for the camera.

The traditional procedure calls for a cut about an inch+ long right across the heel of the hand and takes some time to heal enough to resume work and, especially for folks like us, to ride bicycles.

Story:
About a month after my first surgery, Nancy and I took a six mile ride. My left hand did not get numb but the thumb and first two fingers on my right became so numb that I could not feel to shift. Before the operation both would be so numb by five miles that I would have to look at them to shift or brake.

Caution:
CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) is very common and too few know what it is, what the symptoms are and how serious it can become. If one waits too long before seeking surgical relief, permanent damage and numbness can and often does result.

I urge all of you who have hand numbness to do a simple “Carpal Tunnel” search on this forum: Be prepared for a deluge of threads and entries on the subject.

Joe

PS: Fitting matters and I got significant relief from working with bars, tape, gloves and bar positioning. However all the work I did and all the money I spent did not fix the basic problem (CTS).
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Old 12-23-16, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I just had my second (left hand this time) carpal tunnel release surgery 10 days ago. Just so you know ... when the time comes that splints, NSAIDS, and those sort of measures no longer work, the surgical procedure to fix it is a breeze. Both of mine were the "open" type with incision, but most people (lucky ones who have better bone structure than I do) have the closed type now, which is even easier.

Very glad I had them done, right hand was back in August - nothing to it and it is instant relief.
I'm hoping I won't need the surgery since this just started about a month ago.

Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
OP-the question is what is causing it. Having a deathgrip on the handlebar can do it....but padding a deathgripped handlebar (via tape or gloves) doesn't actually do anything about you deathgripping your bars, besides making it harder to notice you're tensing up and deathgripping it.
I'm 72 so there's no death grip on the handlebars. I've been riding since 1999 and this is the first time I've had this problem with numb hands/fingers at night.


Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
There are also the Gel Under tape pads that add some vibration absorption without a much thicker total bar wrap.

'Cork tape' is mostly a plastic foam with flakes of cork..
Can you recommend some "good" cork tape please?
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Old 12-23-16, 05:08 PM
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Cinelli is the premium Brand that others Like , Im less Fussy.. I put 2 layers , new on top of old on my Trekking bars..
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Old 12-23-16, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Cinelli is the premium Brand that others Like , Im less Fussy.. I put 2 layers , new on top of old on my Trekking bars..
Thanks. That's what I've always used and its on the Litespeed. The Cannondale has the "special" tape Cannondale uses. I'll replace it with Cinelli.
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Old 12-24-16, 06:25 AM
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I got CT after breaking my left wrist. It was causing the muscle at the base of the thumb to waste away so I had CT release surgery. That fixed it. I would probably try alternatives such as suggested here for occasional mild numbness but watch out for muscle deterioration if it gets bad. In that case find out if surgery is in order.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:34 AM
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https://www.specialized.com/us/en/117007

Works well, looks good, they have a gell backed version as well. J
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Old 12-24-16, 10:42 AM
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Best tape I've ever used is Shimano Pro. It is easy to apply, stays in place and can be stretched around most any bar curve. It is about 3mm at its thickest point and adds significant cushioning. It's all I use now and for the last couple of years.

I've added three links where you might find useful, Amazon, Jenson (best price) and a YouTube video:

https://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Smart.../dp/B0049PLHGI

Shimano Pro Sport Control Bar Tape > Components > Grips & Tape > Handlebar Tape | Jenson USA



Love the stuff ;o)
Joe
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Old 12-24-16, 11:27 AM
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just an alternate viewpoint.
I've found I get more hand numbness with padded gloves, and I ride Giro Zero on all my bikes.
Padding decreases circulation.
My same core muscle argument - we should be riding with our wrists straight, elbows bent, and consciously supporting ourselves with core muscles. Bars are for control and balance - the only time they should support us is braking.
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Old 12-24-16, 11:30 AM
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Spenco designed their palm pads to have a split between the pads over the carpal tunnel path , to let the nerve bundle be un compressed.
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Old 12-24-16, 11:33 AM
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True. Core exercises are one of my least favorite to do, but core strength is key to everything else, so I do them.
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Old 12-24-16, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bulldog1935 View Post
just an alternate viewpoint.
I've found I get more hand numbness with padded gloves, and I ride Giro Zero on all my bikes.
Padding decreases circulation.
My same core muscle argument - we should be riding with our wrists straight, elbows bent, and consciously supporting ourselves with core muscles. Bars are for control and balance - the only time they should support us is braking.
Me too, I like minimally padded gloves, my riding shorts have no padding and like the saddle hard with just a skosh of give. Same with my running shoes, I like these new no padding flats.

J
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Old 12-26-16, 07:34 PM
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fietsbob:

I was able to buy one pair of Spenco gloves before they all disappeared ;o(
I find them to be very comfortable and am nursing that one last pair, only use them on long rides on my Cannodale drop bar bike.

Joe
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Old 12-27-16, 08:23 PM
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Would the handlebar have anything to do with wrist pain and carpel tunnel syndrome? Isn't the palms-in facing each other a more natural position than what straight bars do to your wrists (palms forward)?

Does anything like this

https://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Weed-Eater-Handle/530058583/1986921?ss=b344c70&mr=0

exist for bicycles?

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Old 12-28-16, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Spenco designed their palm pads to have a split between the pads over the carpal tunnel path , to let the nerve bundle be un compressed.
There are several glove brands which are padded that way now. My favorites are Bontrager RXL Gel. Very durable and comfortable. My choice for doubles, etc.
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Old 01-12-17, 10:36 AM
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I'm scheduled to have the carpal tunnel surgery next Thursday. January 19th.
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Old 01-12-17, 11:28 AM
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My first thought reading this is, like Daniel4; post #20 above, is hand position while riding. It appears all your bikes are drop bar bikes so Daniel's observation re straight handlebars may not apply, but I concur with him that having my hands with palms facing each other is the most natural position for my hands and wrists.

I never gave CTS a thought on the bike. (I do have problems with keyboards and made a pipe insulation palm rest for mine years ago that works well.) But it may not be coincidence that I set up all my bikes to be comfortable riding in the drops before I even start thinking about other hand positions. Modern setups, brifters, ergo HBs, etc. encourage hand positions that don't work for me and discourage the ones that do work. I do like big, long brake hoods and now have V-brake levers on my two good bikes partly for that reason, but I have them rotated further forward and down than most like. This does two things. It rotates the thumb side of my hand forward which is probably a plus CTS-wise and the hoods aren't the ultimately comfy place to park my hands for an hour. Also means that my wrists are relatively straight when I come out of the saddle and pull forward which is how I climb. (The real reason.)

Look at your hand positions. You've been riding 18 years. Positions that are just off might take that long to show up as problematic. And as we get older, what used to work (sorta) stops working. I'm 9 years behind you, but I have also been riding more than 4 decades. (I also benefited from advice from coaches and race veterans, a lot of which has been "debunked" in the years since. I'm seeing my body change and its ability to tolerate the so-so decline. And I am watching myself go back to some of the old ways of doing things that worked for nearly a century. (Laced cycling shoes after a string of foot infections from riding aggressively in shoes with straps. Exact same shoes. Just cut of the straps and install grommets. $10/shoe after doctor's visits, antibiotic routines and many pairs of expensive shoes.)

Your CTS issues may have a cure as simple as my shoes. As I said above, my guess is simply a hand position that maintains your wrist at a different angle. It might cost as much as a new set of HBs, brake levers/brifters, tape and cables. I doubt just cushioning is going to be the cure. I tried various paddings under my shoe straps. It was redistributing the forces over my entire lumpy, bony foot evenly that made a huge difference.

Ben
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Old 01-12-17, 11:53 AM
  #24  
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I stretch a lot beginning first thing in the morning and frequently at various times throughout the day. This stretching includes hands and fingers in the opposite direction from which they grip the bars and it seems to help. In any case, numb hands have stopped.
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Old 01-12-17, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Nichols View Post
I'm scheduled to have the carpal tunnel surgery next Thursday. January 19th.
Good LUCK!!!!
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