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Hands going numb and arthritic thumbs.

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Hands going numb and arthritic thumbs.

Old 03-17-19, 10:26 PM
  #1  
zjrog
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Hands going numb and arthritic thumbs.

Pretty much says it all. I considered asking in the Clydesdale group, but there might be better ideas here.

Riding on my trainer isn't so bad, but 20 minutes into a ride outdoors, and I'm having numbness issues. If it matters, I ride my old 1986 KHS on the trainer. Outdoors, currently, I'm on my 2010 or so Performance Access 29er,

It has Salsa Woodchipper bars, and I have the 2 bikes within 1/4" of each other reach and butt to crank distance, the 29er has 175mm cranks, the KHS has 165mm.

With the weather warming, I can get out more frequently. Really quite annoying. Just happy that so far, riding hasn't annoyed my thumbs yet. I have dropped 104 pounds in the past year, so maybe losing more will help? No idea. I have tried other gloves, to no avail.
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Old 03-17-19, 11:09 PM
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https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/kn...-on-the-bike-0
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Old 03-17-19, 11:53 PM
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My hands are sensitive to the angles my wrists take as I ride, This has been getting worse as AI age. My remedy has been to experiment with rotating the handlebars and the brake levers on teh handlebars (ie, sliding them up or down the bar.

I started this research when I had just set up my Mooney as a a mountain climbing fix gear and made major changes to the handlebar setup. Started noticing numbness in both hands but far more on the right hand. Looked at my setup and oops!, my right lever was a lot higher than the left. I pushed it down to match the left, then pushed both down a little more. Better, but I was noticing some numbness happening when I rode the drops, So I rotated the bars down some. Better still, Did it again. Now my bars are past level on the flats, the brake hoods point down, the bike looks like a racing bike out of the 30s and my hands are happy. Now all my bikes have followed suit.

Ben
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Old 03-18-19, 09:12 AM
  #4  
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At one time I put some of that foam water pipe insulation on my bars and wrapped them with tape. Made them real comfy but looked funny. No one notices though when you are riding and most don't care what your handlebars look like even when they do notice.

Make certain that you aren't just supporting too much of your weight with your arms/hands. Might need the saddle position changed or the reach of the handle bars changed. Surprisingly for me, stretching out more and getting more aero took weight off my arms/hands.
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Old 03-18-19, 09:51 AM
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(Bikeforums seems to have broken the forum image insert. Click the links to see the hand diagrams and suggestions.)


This article shows the two sets of nerves that produce numbness on different parts of the hand.
Numbness in hand while cycling ? Tarique Sani


And Jan Heine has an older page, that mentions moving hand positions.
https://janheine.wordpress.com/2010/...ng-numb-hands/
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Old 03-18-19, 03:30 PM
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Again the answer is some type of recumbent bike or trike.
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Old 03-18-19, 11:12 PM
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I would consider 3 things.
First and simplest is hand position. Are your wrists straight or bent upwards? This is the primary cause of numbness.
2nd: Raise your handlebars. We get to an age where the low aero position is a uncomfortable for us, especially with a few extra pounds on.
3rd; consider changing handle bars, to a butterfly or a Jones H bar. Experiment to see which hand position is most comfortable for you
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Old 03-19-19, 05:27 AM
  #8  
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Just from the photo it looks like the bars are pretty high and the stem is not too long for the frame. Could the frame be too big??

You might try putting gel on your bars under the bar tape???

The nose of the saddle looks high to me. I try and keep my saddles pretty level. But if you bring the nose down that would suggest putting more weight forward so probably not that.
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Old 03-19-19, 09:53 AM
  #9  
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Thanks everyone. I'm going to move the seat a little bit forward, and drop the nose a touch to level it. I didn't set this bike up this way, And I had thought I had it feeling pretty good, and it was except for my hands going numb... I'm going to adjust the bar angle some, and giving a lot of thought to raising the stem some. This bike, and my two roadbikes, are actually pretty close in reach, measured from the seatpost to the handlebars, my Cannondale roadbike is getting a 100mm stem from a 90, to match the length of the other roadbike, which is old school quill. And I have considered a 60mm stem to replace the 70 on the 29er and the three bikes will be almost exactly the same reach. The 29er will always be a bit taller at the bars, due to the suspension fork,

I am bit over 6' 1, used to be 6'3" but a back injury, age and gravity caught up to me... Even so, my torso is longer than average, I wear 32" inseam pants. I've had my left knee replaced, the right is coming soon... So a recumbent trike is always a possibilty. But just not in my mmediate budget...
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Old 03-19-19, 10:18 AM
  #10  
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Two things:

1. your wrist angle on the bars, and avoiding pressure at the center base of your palm (some gloves have padding that presses there, but most are okay.)

2. saddle position and angle.
Moving the saddle forward or back has multiple effects. Moving forward, you shorten the reach, and sit up slightly higher. But you'll likely have more weight on your hands.

I liked this saddle fitting video:
The riding test method starts at 4:15, but watch the whole thing. If you can get your saddle like this, so that you can raise your hands off the bars and not slide forward on the saddle, that should take some weight off your hands. at the 9:00 mark, he discusses making small changes to start.

I had to tilt the nose of my saddle up slightly, since the back part had a upward curve to it. Just a slight backward adjustment and a very slight tilt made it perfect.
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Old 03-19-19, 10:35 AM
  #11  
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I'll second rm -rf. A really simple thing you can try - place a yardstick along the flat of your handlebars. Put a piece of tape on the seatstay where the yardstick touches. Loosen the stem bolts for the handlebar a touch, rotate the bars so the yardstick touches say 2-3" higher. Tighten and ride. Notice the numbness after. Better? Worse? If it is different, you just learned a real piece of this puzzle and it cost you nothing you cannot undo in 3 minutes.

Edit: I ride with real weight on my hands. I am a long, skinny sail. Riding upright enough to pass any test for hands free riding is simply way more work than I am willing to do. So I have to look at making weight on my hands work. And it does - if I pay attention and set my bikes up accordingly.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 03-19-19 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 03-19-19, 10:45 AM
  #12  
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I ride on the bar tops a fair amount, and have gone almost exclusively to flat top (aero) bars on anything I put together. I find they are much more comfortable than round bars.

It looks like you have pretty large tires on that bike.

You didn't mention your exact weight, but you'll need to keep the pressure up a bit to compensate for the weight, but don't ride them rock hard either.
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Old 03-19-19, 10:09 PM
  #13  
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I third what rm -rf said. Fore-aft saddle position is one of the most critical bike fit adjustments and most people never even bother to adjust it. Your saddle being tilted up in the front indicates that you are probably trying to stop yourself from sliding forward. This usually means that the saddle is too far forward relative to the pedals. As a first step, try sliding the saddle backwards and flattening out the tilt. That should also take weight off your hands, which should have almost no weight on them. If that results in the handlebars being too far forward then you need to buy a shorter stem. Never try to compensate for too much reach to the handlebars by moving the saddle forward.
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Old 03-19-19, 11:37 PM
  #14  
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Buy quality gloves learn when to lay off the pressure on your hands it will come naturally as you ride. Not going to play to the hand card but after 12 hand operations I think I qualify. I love the sport of bicycling because I can go all out without tearing my hands up. You will get a great workout and you will have a great time as you get in shape or in better shape.
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Old 03-20-19, 09:47 AM
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I'd remove the spacers and change to a -17° stem. Sounds counter-intuitive but it works. Then put the saddle back to the forward marks on the rails. Then rotate your bars down until the ramps are horizontal or a bit below horizontal. The ramps are the bit of bar just behind the brifters. Sitting on the saddle and leaning as far forward as is comfortable, your wrists should lay flat on the ramps- rotate the bars until that's true. Then move your brifters however until the brake levers are vertical. In this position, with your forearms as close to horizontal as is comfortable, your elbows should be in front of your knees when your cranks are horizontal. That's the stem length you want. Doing all this will take the weight off your hands and reduce the pressure on your thumbs. You'll be able to use a grip where your wrists rest on your bars and take the weight while your thumbs go over the tops of your brifters and your hands sort of hang beside them, two fingers going under.
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Old 03-23-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Buy quality gloves learn when to lay off the pressure on your hands it will come naturally as you ride. Not going to play to the hand card but after 12 hand operations I think I qualify. I love the sport of bicycling because I can go all out without tearing my hands up. You will get a great workout and you will have a great time as you get in shape or in better shape.
I was thinking the same thing. Recently, the palm on my 'mid-weight' winter gloves got tore up; the gel pad insert came out. I'll get new gloves next season; but wore them this AM on a long, colder ride. I had numbness issues - but only in the hand without the padding. I solved by modifying hand positioning on the bars to alleviate the pressure points. As far as pressure - he did mention Clydesdale class, so perhaps weight is adding pressure to the bars; I'm beginning to experience this myself! When I was racing & skinny, I had a much easier time 'floating' my hands on the bar.
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Old 03-25-19, 09:09 AM
  #17  
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Weight is indeed a factor, BUT! I have lost 107 ponds this past year. I don't feel so terribly top heavy on my bikes anymore, but being over 6' Iwill always be a Clydesdale!!!

I did not get a chance to ride the 29er this past week. But I did flop the stem for drop, not rise. I'll also adjust the bar as has been mentioned, though only a bit at a time. If the drop helps, I'll pursie that rad more. If not, I'll add a stem riser. I tend to believe in counter-intuitive sometimes!

Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 03-26-19, 08:46 AM
  #18  
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gel gloves

Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Buy quality gloves learn when to lay off the pressure on your hands it will come naturally as you ride. Not going to play to the hand card but after 12 hand operations I think I qualify. I love the sport of bicycling because I can go all out without tearing my hands up. You will get a great workout and you will have a great time as you get in shape or in better shape.
What brand are the best quality? I have bad arthritis in the basal joint on my left hand and would love to find some that have the most gel cushioning. Thoughts?
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Old 03-27-19, 11:42 AM
  #19  
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I take my hands off the bars (1 at a time ) to take care of pressure induced tingling ,
hang them down shake a bit..

and as described more weight shifted on your backside less there is on your hands ..

Gloves may help ..
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Old 03-27-19, 12:55 PM
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If I drop my neck into my shoulders as I ride, my hands go numb. Raise my neck/head, numbness goes away. (Been that way for ~50 years.)
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Old 03-31-19, 07:25 PM
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Not diagnosing, but some possibilities to consider: Carpal tunnel syndrome? You say arthritic thumbs. Has your doc suggested thumb arthroplasty?
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Old 04-01-19, 10:19 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
Not diagnosing, but some possibilities to consider: Carpal tunnel syndrome? You say arthritic thumbs. Has your doc suggested thumb arthroplasty?
Xrays show arthritis, yea... And I've tried cortisone shots in my thumbs. I'll just say that they were... Special. Yes, a special sort of pain. And yes, surgery has been discussed.
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Old 04-02-19, 03:36 AM
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Moving the saddle back can help take weight off the hands. Also the location of the levers on the bars can impact hand comfort a lot. I have the same issues with Arthritis in the thumbs and some numbness on one hand, and went in for an updated fit to the local bike fit expert and it helped. Have you had an expert fit recently?
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Old 04-02-19, 06:21 AM
  #24  
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I find that making sure my elbows are bent and changing hand position frequently helps a great deal.
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Old 04-02-19, 08:17 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Again the answer is some type of recumbent bike or trike.
Maybe for you...

But not too many people can just bust out and go and buy a whole new bike for an issue that MAY be able to be remedied by making a few adjustments on the current bike.
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