Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

How to avoid hand pain while biking?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

How to avoid hand pain while biking?

Old 12-12-20, 06:39 AM
  #1  
walkingCorpse
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
How to avoid hand pain while biking?

I bike intensely for exercise at 160 - 170 heart rate but I'm struggling to set the optimal ergonomics. I set the seat height to allow my knees to fully extend to unleash full pedaling power, and reduce my handle post height to the minimum to avoid back pain. I use a Schwinn noseless saddle as the narrow seats cause me butt pain after heavy exertion on the bike. With this setup there is too much slipping to the front and I have to adjust my butt position every few minutes. This is an annoying nuisance but is not the worst. I didn't used to have much hand pain when I lived in a suburban area with even and flat roads. But after moving to a different area with roads uneven and sloping, I get constant pain in the middle of the hand where the thumb joins, from all the forward pressure and having to constantly readjust my body position on the bike. This hand pain is ruining my biking experience. Has anyone faced a similar problem? Any help is much appreciated. I could not post a pic of my bike yet due to forum restrictions.
walkingCorpse is offline  
Likes For walkingCorpse:
Old 12-12-20, 06:47 AM
  #2  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 24,088

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 147 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3198 Post(s)
Liked 2,509 Times in 1,476 Posts
Raise the handlebars to take some pressure off your hands. You don't say what type of handlebar you use. If it is a flat bar, perhaps add some handlebar extensions or change to a drop bar to get more hand positions. Do you wear gloves?
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 12-12-20, 06:54 AM
  #3  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,855

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1269 Post(s)
Liked 1,029 Times in 512 Posts
Time for a test ride on a recumbent Trike.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is online now  
Likes For 10 Wheels:
Old 12-12-20, 07:20 AM
  #4  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Paul Barnard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 5,532

Bikes: Lynskey GR300, Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1923 Post(s)
Liked 1,340 Times in 682 Posts
Are you having these issues on your Dahon?
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 07:47 AM
  #5  
WT160
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 71
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Padded gloves have helped me with hand pain.
WT160 is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 08:21 AM
  #6  
mack_turtle
n00b
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,398

Bikes: Surly Karate Monkey, Twin Six Standard Rando

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 427 Post(s)
Liked 466 Times in 273 Posts
Originally Posted by walkingCorpse View Post
I use a Schwinn noseless saddle as the narrow seats cause me butt pain after heavy exertion on the bike. With this setup there is too much slipping to the front and I have to adjust my butt position every few minutes. This is an annoying nuisance but is not the worst.
my first thought when I read this was that your saddle tilt or the fore-aft position needs to be adjusted. sliding forward is an indication that your pelvis is not cradled and balanced on the bike. the result is that you are pushing yourself back constantly into the saddle, which is putting more pressure on your hands. sort that out first, then consider the handlebar position.

a lot of people will recommend contoured grips with "wings" like Ergon. while these are a good solution to stability and comfort for long distances, don't let weird grips give you the illusion that they are solving your problem. IME, a bike that is set up to fit the rider well should not need weird weird grips to be rideable. your bike should be comfortable enough that you can go on a short ride without grips at all (not that I recommend that) and you should seek out unconventional grips if you have an underlying medical issue or you want to ride very long distances.

I feel the same way about padded gloves. I can ride 50+ miles without gloves and I actually don't like padded gloves. I wear gloves on my mountain bike to mitigate injury if I fall and wear gloves on other rides only when it's cold. if you can't ride at all without padded gloves, you have a bike fit issue that needs to be resolved, or you have an undiagnosed medical issue.
mack_turtle is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 08:49 AM
  #7  
RunningPirate
Senior Member
 
RunningPirate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SF Penunsula
Posts: 672

Bikes: 1970? Dawes Galaxy (cannibalized), 197? Bob Jackson Frankenbike, 1989 Jamis Diablo

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
I was experiencing hand numbness which was abated by raising the handlebars.
RunningPirate is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 08:56 AM
  #8  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,801
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1031 Post(s)
Liked 613 Times in 394 Posts
I hate to be that guy... if you have a straight bar, consider switching to a swept bar. You'll be able to use the same controls, and while it only offers one hand position, it's a much more comfortable position.

With a straight bar, I'm in pain by the first half mile. This is why you see people installing bar ends or riding with their palms cupped over the ends of their bars, or their fists on top of the bar. With a swept bar, I can ride indefinitely in one position. That bit of rotation to the wrists makes a huge difference.

Otherwise, raising the bar, and considering a drop bar, are also possible solutions. It's also cheaper to try a swept bar since you can usually use the same controls and cables.
Gresp15C is offline  
Likes For Gresp15C:
Old 12-12-20, 09:05 AM
  #9  
billridesbikes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 701
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 417 Times in 250 Posts
If you were fine before you moved, but now have the hand numbness it could be road vibrations. It could also be you’re getting older and you’re less flexible and putting more weight on your hands. I would try a new pair of cycling gloves with gel, and work on core strengthening exercises first. A weak core can also cause back pain on the bike. As you get older you might have to raise your handlebars a bit.
billridesbikes is offline  
Likes For billridesbikes:
Old 12-12-20, 09:22 AM
  #10  
FBOATSB 
Senior Member
 
FBOATSB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 2,098

Bikes: Old Stuff

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 846 Post(s)
Liked 383 Times in 266 Posts
https://www.cyclemotion.co.uk/dahon/properfit.htm






Last edited by FBOATSB; 12-12-20 at 09:51 AM.
FBOATSB is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 09:28 AM
  #11  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
rydabent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,727

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3122 Post(s)
Liked 969 Times in 582 Posts
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Time for a test ride on a recumbent Trike.
No hand pain there at all!!!! Notice the recumbent smile.
rydabent is online now  
Likes For rydabent:
Old 12-12-20, 09:29 AM
  #12  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 5,747

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 2007 Dahon Boardwalk, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International, 2006 Felt F65

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1303 Post(s)
Liked 1,437 Times in 717 Posts
You may want to try bar ends to give you more hand positions; and you may consider mounting them "inboard" like in this thread:

Anyone else using bar ends this way?

My previous "jungle-gym" set up is there with inboard bar ends and an aero bar. I also have been using foam pipe insulation on my bars since my mid 40's when my hands became more crampy and sensitive.

Last year I finally converted my straight bar mountain bike to drops like my other two bikes which give me no hand pain (as long as I use pipe foam). Unlike converting from straight to swept bars, converting to drop bars required new bars (of course), a new stem, new brake levers and new shifters. It took me 6 hours (shoulda been less) and cost ~$75 since bought a used stem, bars and shifters from the local bike co-op and did the work myself. New brake levers, cabling and housings were cheap enough. But after all that work planning and wrenching I have not had and issues, which was nice in the winter, since it is my snow bike.
BobbyG is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 09:47 AM
  #13  
79pmooney
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,271

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3848 Post(s)
Liked 2,711 Times in 1,773 Posts
I ride drop bars. I ride with real weight on my hands. For me, the angle of my wrists is critical. If it feels off, I adjust the handlebar rotation until it feels better. (Sighting down the drop flat tot he chainstay where I keep a piece of tape for reference.) Then when I get home, I do the raising or lowering of the handlebars, sliding the brake levers, retaping, etc, to get this new angle in the proper location for the rest of my fit.

I also go back and forth between riding the hoods and riding the drops. (I am very picky about bar shape, especially the lower bend area where my hand rests. I haven't tried ergo bars as I find certain (common) traditional bars very comfortable. Also picky about my brake levers. (I see brifters as a big step backwards in that it costs hundreds to alter such a key contact point.)

Try going for a ride with no handlebar tape, just enough electrical tape to keep the cables in place. Bring the wrenches for the stem and brake levers. Stop and adjust as needed. When I feel I have got it I then wrap the handlebars from the bottom with cloth handlebar tape. (Easy to unwrap to the levers and move them.) Don't put on good tape until you know everything is "right". (2022?)

Our three contact points are critical; as important as anything on the bike. (Feet, butt and hands.) You won't regret this work.

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 11:12 AM
  #14  
Thomas15
I think I know nothing.
 
Thomas15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NE PA
Posts: 711
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 233 Post(s)
Liked 290 Times in 204 Posts
In 2019 i started riding semi-seriously. Do a few hundred miles then a metric century. It took me about 4 days for my hands to stop being numb after that ride. All through the winter 2019-2020 I had hand pain when i rode. Tried everything from gloves to seat position to stem height and length. Took pain meds and used squish balls in ride (on a trainer).

Did all this no relief. Then suddenly it all stopped. I think it was mainly due to in increase in core strength but I also got my seat angle correct, used multiple hand positions and in general finally got the bike adjusted to fit me. Of course that is just me.
Thomas15 is offline  
Likes For Thomas15:
Old 12-12-20, 12:31 PM
  #15  
joshtee
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by walkingCorpse View Post
I bike intensely for exercise at 160 - 170 heart rate but I'm struggling to set the optimal ergonomics. I set the seat height to allow my knees to fully extend to unleash full pedaling power, and reduce my handle post height to the minimum to avoid back pain. I use a Schwinn noseless saddle as the narrow seats cause me butt pain after heavy exertion on the bike. With this setup there is too much slipping to the front and I have to adjust my butt position every few minutes. This is an annoying nuisance but is not the worst. I didn't used to have much hand pain when I lived in a suburban area with even and flat roads. But after moving to a different area with roads uneven and sloping, I get constant pain in the middle of the hand where the thumb joins, from all the forward pressure and having to constantly readjust my body position on the bike. This hand pain is ruining my biking experience. Has anyone faced a similar problem? Any help is much appreciated. I could not post a pic of my bike yet due to forum restrictions.
Get the seat in a position so your not sliding forward. Next, if you have flat bars, rotate them in the stem. For inside(closer to thumb) hand pain, rotate slightly forward. For outside hand pain, rotate bars slightly back. This method has worked for me when I had the same problem.

Last edited by joshtee; 12-12-20 at 02:57 PM. Reason: punctuation
joshtee is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 02:43 PM
  #16  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,624
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 513 Post(s)
Liked 833 Times in 532 Posts
Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I hate to be that guy... if you have a straight bar, consider switching to a swept bar. You'll be able to use the same controls, and while it only offers one hand position, it's a much more comfortable position.

With a straight bar, I'm in pain by the first half mile. This is why you see people installing bar ends or riding with their palms cupped over the ends of their bars, or their fists on top of the bar. With a swept bar, I can ride indefinitely in one position. That bit of rotation to the wrists makes a huge difference.

Otherwise, raising the bar, and considering a drop bar, are also possible solutions. It's also cheaper to try a swept bar since you can usually use the same controls and cables.
I have the same experience with straight bars. Useless as a handlebar, but I use a steel one as a tool: it provides a bit of extra leverage on hex wrenches, when needed.

I have swept bars on both of my bikes and they work great for my riding. However, I will point out that swept bars are not limited to one position.

Mine have grips on the end sections along with flat bar levers and then tape on the rest of the bars and I ride a lot on the various parts of the forward bends.

I have even seen people put bars ends on the inner part for a more aero position, using cheap steel bar ends that have enough flex to negotiate the bends.

If you want to use these other positions, it helps if you donít clutter the bars with shifters. You can use bar end shifters on some swept bars, stem shifters if the stem is suitable or ride single speed like I do so there is no need for shifters.

Otto
ofajen is online now  
Likes For ofajen:
Old 12-12-20, 03:06 PM
  #17  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,948
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1487 Post(s)
Liked 973 Times in 508 Posts
Post more so we can get some pics of the bike and pics of you on the bike. Without them the guess work is extra difficult.
TiHabanero is offline  
Likes For TiHabanero:
Old 12-12-20, 03:08 PM
  #18  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 3,846

Bikes: Velo Orange Piolet

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2070 Post(s)
Liked 1,685 Times in 819 Posts
Originally Posted by walkingCorpse View Post
I bike intensely for exercise at 160 - 170 heart rate but I'm struggling to set the optimal ergonomics. I set the seat height to allow my knees to fully extend to unleash full pedaling power, and reduce my handle post height to the minimum to avoid back pain. I use a Schwinn noseless saddle as the narrow seats cause me butt pain after heavy exertion on the bike. With this setup there is too much slipping to the front and I have to adjust my butt position every few minutes. This is an annoying nuisance but is not the worst. I didn't used to have much hand pain when I lived in a suburban area with even and flat roads. But after moving to a different area with roads uneven and sloping, I get constant pain in the middle of the hand where the thumb joins, from all the forward pressure and having to constantly readjust my body position on the bike. This hand pain is ruining my biking experience. Has anyone faced a similar problem? Any help is much appreciated. I could not post a pic of my bike yet due to forum restrictions.
So the saddle position is one issue to be addressed (you might want to search youtube for videos on saddle position and bike fitting), then the handlebars are a second issue. As others have mentioned, bar-ends to enable multiple hand positions, extra thick grips, etc., or maybe new handlebars (Jones bars?).
tyrion is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 03:26 PM
  #19  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,624
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 513 Post(s)
Liked 833 Times in 532 Posts
Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Post more so we can get some pics of the bike and pics of you on the bike. Without them the guess work is extra difficult.
This will definitely help. And I should have been clear to put anything to do with handlebar height, reach and style in the parking lot until you know you have foot position on the pedal, saddle height, saddle fore-aft and saddle tilt set properly to fit you.

Otto
ofajen is online now  
Old 12-12-20, 05:50 PM
  #20  
Ed Wiser
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 376
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 143 Post(s)
Liked 126 Times in 76 Posts
Book a bike fit. Easy fix.
Ed Wiser is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 06:02 PM
  #21  
bkaapcke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,268
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 117 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 49 Times in 24 Posts
I ride a LWB recumbent so my hands don't carry any of my body weight. In fact, they just rest on the bars. However, I still get hand pain from road vibration transmitted though the relatively stiff front wheel and into the handle bars. All of these helped; folding bead front tire run at less that max pessure, padded gloves and two thicknesses of soft foam hand grips on each side.
I run the folding bead front tire at 65 psi while it has a max pressure of 100 psi. The lower pressure combined wi the flexible sidewalls really soak up most of the vibration. The others help too and it all adds up. Good luck. bk
bkaapcke is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 10:05 PM
  #22  
rsbob 
😵‍💫
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,763
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1455 Post(s)
Liked 2,698 Times in 1,550 Posts
Lots of ok suggestions above, but they all missed the ultimate solution: a unicycle! Your welcome.
__________________
Road and Mountain 🚴🏾‍♂️



rsbob is offline  
Old 12-12-20, 10:13 PM
  #23  
phughes
Senior Member
 
phughes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,690
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 859 Post(s)
Liked 977 Times in 569 Posts
Originally Posted by walkingCorpse View Post
I bike intensely for exercise at 160 - 170 heart rate but I'm struggling to set the optimal ergonomics. I set the seat height to allow my knees to fully extend to unleash full pedaling power, and reduce my handle post height to the minimum to avoid back pain. I use a Schwinn noseless saddle as the narrow seats cause me butt pain after heavy exertion on the bike. With this setup there is too much slipping to the front and I have to adjust my butt position every few minutes. This is an annoying nuisance but is not the worst. I didn't used to have much hand pain when I lived in a suburban area with even and flat roads. But after moving to a different area with roads uneven and sloping, I get constant pain in the middle of the hand where the thumb joins, from all the forward pressure and having to constantly readjust my body position on the bike. This hand pain is ruining my biking experience. Has anyone faced a similar problem? Any help is much appreciated. I could not post a pic of my bike yet due to forum restrictions.
It sounds like you did everything you could to induce hand pain. Start over. It sounds like you jacked your seat up too high, and put your bars too low, and perhaps your seat isn't far enough back. If you have your seat too high though, you cannot get firmly planted on the seat, which will cause you to slide forward and place more weight on your hands. That is what I believe you have going on. After you get your seat in the correct place for you, then you can tweak the bar position if necessary. If your seat placement is correct though, you really shouldn't have much weight at all on your hands as you are pedaling.

Read these. Read the first two all the way through before adjusting your seat.


https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...ard-can-it-be/

https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...d-can-it-be-2/

https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...or-road-bikes/
phughes is offline  
Old 12-13-20, 05:23 PM
  #24  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 11,198

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3437 Post(s)
Liked 2,738 Times in 1,830 Posts
I would seriously get a proper bike fit. It sounds like you are way off and that will cause a lot of problems. Hopefully that fitter will suggest a proper saddle. The noseless saddles are...they are...well...they are a design I guess but the nose of the saddle is not just there because it has always been there and we hate change it is there to help control the bike. Finding the right bike saddle can be hard but your fitter can likely steer you in a better direction and also get everything at the correct height, angle and such to make sure you are comfortable. Once you have that down I would also try some Ergon grips and play around with the position on those to suit your hands but I would take care of everything else first as that seems to be the bigger area of concern.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 12-14-20, 05:51 AM
  #25  
hsuBM
jj
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 331
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 110 Times in 78 Posts
Pain or numbness in either your hands or butt is a sure sign that youíre not putting enough weight into your pedals and probably also severely under-working your lower back.
hsuBM is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.