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Riding with a sprained thumb?

Old 04-19-24, 06:02 PM
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Riding with a sprained thumb?

Don't ask me how, I honestly don't know, but somehow I managed to sprain my thumb. It's pretty painful. Doctor says to wrap it, give it rest, try not to use it, and let it heal for (ready?) 4 to 6 weeks!
I have a charity cycling event coming up in 2 weeks. I tried riding, and it's not too bad until I have to apply the brakes. Have you ever tried not using your thumb for just about anything you do?
Other than loading up on Tylenol, Ben-Gay, Aspercreme and using a heavy tape job the day of the ride (and I WILL be riding!) I'm not sure what else would help. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-20-24, 08:29 AM
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Have you tried a wrist brace? Like the ones they use for those with carpal tunnel that cover much of both the palm and wrist. Though it still probably won't help for the actual times you have to use your thumb to pull.
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Old 04-20-24, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Have you tried a wrist brace? Like the ones they use for those with carpal tunnel that cover much of both the palm and wrist. Though it still probably won't help for the actual times you have to use your thumb to pull.
Having Carpal Tunnel, I have several braces that help with that. I tried them, they do little to nothing for the thumb, unfortunately.
I dug around in my "oddball first aid" kit (the one with all the leftover stuff you hardly use anymore) and found a finger splint (aluminum with foam backing) and some - please don't laugh - self adhesive, stretchy wrap from the veterinarian, left over from some surgery on one of my pups. Okay, the paw prints look a little funky, but hey, it seems to be working. I may have to ditch the splint in order to get a cycling glove on, though.
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Old 04-20-24, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
Don't ask me how, I honestly don't know, but somehow I managed to sprain my thumb. It's pretty painful. Doctor says to wrap it, give it rest, try not to use it, and let it heal for (ready?) 4 to 6 weeks!
I have a charity cycling event coming up in 2 weeks. I tried riding, and it's not too bad until I have to apply the brakes. Have you ever tried not using your thumb for just about anything you do?
Other than loading up on Tylenol, Ben-Gay, Aspercreme and using a heavy tape job the day of the ride (and I WILL be riding!) I'm not sure what else would help. Any suggestions?
I have a painful arthritic thumb joint and use a Thuasne Ligafex Rhizo brace, which I find very effective.
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Old 04-20-24, 10:32 AM
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If it is less painful braking from the hoods rather than the drops maybe hand placement will help. Also two weeks of taking it easy on the thumb may help as well.
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Old 04-20-24, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
Don't ask me how, I honestly don't know, but somehow I managed to sprain my thumb. It's pretty painful. Doctor says to wrap it, give it rest, try not to use it, and let it heal for (ready?) 4 to 6 weeks!
I have a charity cycling event coming up in 2 weeks. I tried riding, and it's not too bad until I have to apply the brakes. Have you ever tried not using your thumb for just about anything you do?
Other than loading up on Tylenol, Ben-Gay, Aspercreme and using a heavy tape job the day of the ride (and I WILL be riding!) I'm not sure what else would help. Any suggestions?
ICE!!!! It is your friend.
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Old 04-21-24, 05:25 PM
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Both of my thumbs have become quite problematic with arthritis. I found angling the shift/brake levers with the hoods going inward to give much relief to those joints. Gravel bars with sweep and flare help with keeping it more natural looking.
Alternatively, Soma and Velo-Orange have some options in alternate bars. I have V-O Porteur bar on two bikes, 1 with brifters and one with bar ends and road brake levers. Both work great, anD reduced stress on the thumbs, greatly.
For me, a key seems to be able to get the thumbs turned inward to the body, especially for shifting and braking.
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Old 04-21-24, 05:38 PM
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Ice has been my friend in treating aches and pain for long term. It helps reduce inflammation and pain in my thumbs slightly, for a short period of time. My thumb joints are quite mis-shaped
with limited range of motion and strength.
Trying to text on this phone is s challenge.
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Old 04-22-24, 11:32 AM
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Crazy idea. Rent a single speed with coaster brakes?
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Old 04-26-24, 10:38 AM
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UPDATE: went back to the doctor, who this time took X-rays. Yup, diagnosis of arthritis in the thumb joint. Great. He told me that cycling and gripping the bars / hoods can aggravate the condition. Well, I'm not about to stop riding, so for now it's padded bar tape, Tylenol, and lots of Ben-Gay before riding.
If it continues to get worse, there's the option of replacing the joint! Sort of like a knee or hip replacement.
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Old 04-27-24, 09:11 AM
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Very effective for arthritic thumb jointing
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Old 04-28-24, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Artmo
Very effective for arthritic thumb jointing
Yes, the doctor recommended trying a thumb brace to immobilize the joint. I picked one up, although it's not the same as the one you show and wear it at night. My thumb feels better in the morning, and now at least I can get through most of day with a level of discomfort that is tolerable.
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Old 04-28-24, 04:33 PM
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You might try Voltaren.

I have arthritis in both wrists/thumbs that is pretty bad. I mostly just live with it. In general a relaxed upper body is a good thing when riding. No hunched shoulders, bent elbows, fingers loosely draped over the bars. All that helps, but some of it is just living with the pain.
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Old 04-29-24, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
Yes, the doctor recommended trying a thumb brace to immobilize the joint. I picked one up, although it's not the same as the one you show and wear it at night. My thumb feels better in the morning, and now at least I can get through most of day with a level of discomfort that is tolerable.
I wear mine for several days, but not nights, and after that there is a lot of relief. When the sharp pain begins again, I repeat the process. I occasionally use Voltarol 2.32%, the UK over-the counter version of Voltaren, but stronger. It helps.
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Old 05-02-24, 05:08 PM
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You'll find a way. I once spent a late winter and early spring downhill skiing and cycling while wearing a cast for a broken wrist. The cast tore up a mitten and the handlebar tape, and I had to be careful, but I found a way.
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Old 05-04-24, 06:46 AM
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I road with a broken wrist; better than not riding, because either way, my wrist was still broken.

My advice for your situation: skip the BenGay. It doesn't do much and the smell only pisses off everyone around you. Spend the money on good beer. Rationalize that the frosted mug is really a way to ice your injury. Repeat until it feels better and you wax poetically about the real meaning of life. Hint: it has nothing to do with thunbs.
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Old 05-07-24, 08:30 PM
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Well, Tylenol Arthritis formula and a light wrap under my cycling gloves and I was good to go for a 40 mile ride on Hilton Head this past weekend. (Pedal Hilton Head Island to raise money for the local Boys & Girls Club. Great riding if you're in the area next May 4th.) Thumb was a little sore and stiff later that evening, but as bblair suggested, some judicious consumption of a good rum - for medicinal purposes only, of course - made things bearable.
GoPro video of the ride can be seen here:
Skip to the start, or "highlights" by clicking the timeline marks in the comment.
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Old 05-14-24, 04:12 PM
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Glad it worked out for you. I've been following your thread since I have a similar issue.

I've been dealing with left wrist discomfort all spring when up-shifting from small to large chain ring on my Allez. When I'd 'hook' my thumb in order to reach under for the shift lever, I'd end up with quite a bit of discomfort at the end of a typical ride. It seemed to be most painful where my thumb joined the wrist.
I also tried the Voltaren with no relief.

Thanks for the tip on the Tylenol Arthritis formula. Oh, and the rum.
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Old 05-16-24, 07:05 PM
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To answer your first question: Yes. On Friday the 13th (11/13) of 2020, I lost consciousness walking errands at lunch. Fractured my left thumb in 3 places and evulsed a ligament off of both bones. Had to have surgery. Could not use that hand for a whole lot for a long time. The use of the thumb is permanently compromised. Fortunately, I didn’t have to switch my brake cables so I could have sufficient stopping power with the front brake.

Do what you want, but a messed up thumb is not fun.
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