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Hands going numb

Old 12-27-11, 09:16 AM
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IBOHUNT
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Hands going numb

I have a Gary Fisher Tarpon 26" MTB and when I ride it for extended periods (>40 miles) my hands go numb. I wear gel gloves and have tried different grips. it doesn't mater if I am ridding it on road surfaces or hard pack trails (C&O canal) although on road surfaces it seems to take a bit longer.

Would changing to a carbon handle bar help?
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Old 12-27-11, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by IBOHUNT View Post
I have a Gary Fisher Tarpon 26" MTB and when I ride it for extended periods (>40 miles) my hands go numb. I wear gel gloves and have tried different grips. it doesn't mater if I am ridding it on road surfaces or hard pack trails (C&O canal) although on road surfaces it seems to take a bit longer.

Would changing to a carbon handle bar help?
You are experiencing what is called cyclist's palsy. It's fairly common and there are a number of causes. Grips, gloves, handlebar position, saddle position, hand position and road surface materials as well as a few other conditions, and combinations, can cause it.

If you are riding a conventional mountain bike with flat or riser bars, putting bar extenders on the bars will allow you to change hand position. Riding with a more relaxed grip on the bars could help. Moving your hands while on the bike helps. Using your abdominals to hold you up helps. A suspension system helps a little. Even a change in handlebars will help but it is probably going to be the least helpful.

I doubt if one thing above is going to make the problem go away entirely. I still get numbness in my hands after 30+ years of riding and I do all of the above.
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Old 12-27-11, 10:23 AM
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I solved my numbness problem by raising the handlebars significantly. My numbness was the kind that stayed long after the ride was over. Search for ulnar nerve entrapment or cyclists palsy. I started by replacing my 7 deg stem with a 25 deg stem. That helped, but did not completley solve the problem. After trying several different things, what worked for me was a stem extender http://www.amazon.com/Origin-8-ORIGI...002260&sr=1-14 to get my bars up another full inch. At the same time I went to Ergon grips, but I had tried them before and they alone did not solve the problem.

If you only have the numbness problem for the duration of the ride, the Ergon grips alone may help. The paddle part of the grip really does help by spreading out the weight you put on the grips onto a larger area. Also, I can unequivocally recommend this Bontrager handlebar http://www.bontrager.com/model/04996. It is the single best modification I have made to my hybrid and I have one coming for my MTB. You can find them as new on eBay from time to time for around $100. Having the bullhorns to hold on to as an alternate hand position is wonderful on longer rides. On MTB trails you couldn't really use them, but on single track, XC rides, greenway rides, etc. they'd be a nice asset.
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Old 12-27-11, 11:42 AM
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Thanks. I do try to ride with a relaxed grip and move my fingers a lot when I ride just to be sure my hands are relaxed. I like the drop bars on my road bike because that allows me flexibility in hand placement which I've been experimenting with on the flat bars - even to where I am placing my hands on the shifters.

That Bontrager bar is a bit salty in price - about what I gave for the bike. I'll have to check out Ebay.
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Old 12-27-11, 01:12 PM
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How about the Bontrager bar, plus Ergon grips, PLUS Ergon bar-ends?
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Old 12-27-11, 01:45 PM
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ride one handed for a few moments, to let blood flow and nerve pressure go back,
to relative normal ..


Would changing to a carbon handle bar help?
maybe an expensive one with a broad flatish upper portion,
so the contact surface is larger than possible with a round bar.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-27-11 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 12-27-11, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
ride one handed for a few moments, to let blood flow and nerve pressure go back,
to relative normal ..

maybe an expensive one with a broad flatish upper portion,
so the contact surface is larger than possible with a round bar.
+1 ^ This!
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Old 12-27-11, 02:02 PM
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This bulhorn with mtb specs could allow you to keep your current handlebar components and stem:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/25-4mm-X-380...item336ca5cacc
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Old 12-27-11, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for all the input. I do ride one handed and no handed at times to get the blood flowing again but that seems to be obnly a short term solution. I may try the bars Drakonchik posted.
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Old 12-27-11, 03:09 PM
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Seems counterintuitive but I find padded/gel gloves worse than gloves with no padding and riding without gloves to be the best with respect to numbness.
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Old 12-27-11, 03:31 PM
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I'll vote for the raised handle bar approach, plus moving your hand position frequently, helped as cyccommute suggested by bar ends.
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Old 12-27-11, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Seems counterintuitive but I find padded/gel gloves worse than gloves with no padding and riding without gloves to be the best with respect to numbness.
Not counter-intuitive to me. Too much padding spreads pressure to areas that don't like pressure. Same as the problem with great big fat heavy over-stuffed saddles. I no longer wear gloves except for cold.

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Old 12-27-11, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by IBOHUNT View Post
I have a Gary Fisher Tarpon 26" MTB and when I ride it for extended periods (>40 miles) my hands go numb. I wear gel gloves and have tried different grips. it doesn't mater if I am ridding it on road surfaces or hard pack trails (C&O canal) although on road surfaces it seems to take a bit longer.

Would changing to a carbon handle bar help?
This is the best solution I have found yet. The Ergon grips are angled up to where the pressure is higher up the wrist. In other words, I am resting a high % on the rear tip of the "wings." I haven't worn my gel gloves for several months as I found them counter-productive regards hands falling asleep.

If ever my hands start to go numb, recovery is almost instant when I move my to one of the other positions.

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Old 12-27-11, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Drakonchik View Post
How about the Bontrager bar, plus Ergon grips, PLUS Ergon bar-ends?
That is exactly what I have and it works great
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Old 12-27-11, 06:03 PM
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To add to the ride one handed trick ...

- Sit up
- Take one arm and put it behind your back so that it forms and "L" (or backward "L" depending on the arm) behind your back. (Like when you're signalling that there is a parked car in the road ahead and the paceline will have to move out)
- With your arm in that position, wiggle your fingers, stretch your shoulders back and up and down, etc.
- The blood flow should return within moments and you'll be good for a while
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Old 12-27-11, 06:34 PM
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Numb hands are caused by pressure on the ulnar nerve in your wrist no matter your hand position.

Depending on how much pressure you place on the nerve moving you hands "might" help.

However.......

Continuing to ride with pinched ulnar nerve can , and will, damage the nerve causing severe pain in some cases.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/39...-from-cycling/

http://www.activelifephysio.ca/media...20Injuries.PDF

http://www.integrehab.com/library/Do...h_Syndrome.pdf

I avoid numb hands by sitting upright with as little weight as possible on my hands,wrist and arms.
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Old 12-27-11, 06:53 PM
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Hand numbness, wrist discomfort, etc. absolutely not a problem on most recumbent bikes.
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Old 12-27-11, 10:11 PM
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Not a problem on unicycles either.
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Old 12-27-11, 11:31 PM
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Although not the same as yours, I've had toe and foot numbing, as well as a numb penis. No joke. My weiner literally went numb. But all types of numbing that I have experienced are caused by poor bike fitting. My toes went numb when my shoes were too tight and I didn't move my feet, and I switched seats to help with the other problem to take pressure off the taint. Not that it matters, just saw "numb" and thought I'd share.

I'd recommend changing hand positions or try getting some of your weight off your hands. I've heard you should shoot for 1/3 of your weight on each the pedals, seat and bars. You may need to work on changing the fit so it relieves the pressure. I have found that vibration sometimes causes numbness for me.

And oddly, sometimes too soft causes more problems than solutions. Gel seats hurt for long rides for me. Where firm seats may hurt at first, they actually support better on longer rides. I can imagine the same is true for gloves. It's the same for drinking, as sweet fruity drinks are great at first until you realize you have had too many, more comforting gear might just be masking the real problem. Maybe shucking all that padding and comfort will help shine a light on the real problem. Hope it gets better
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Old 12-27-11, 11:37 PM
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Another thought, consider the natural position for your wrists when your arms are stretched out in front of you. Flat, forward-facing knuckles isn't exactly anatomically correct. I feel that a 45 degree outward roll and a 45 degree twist is more natural. Even better might be the thumbs up position. Try it all.
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Old 12-27-11, 11:43 PM
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Another thing and I'll shut up: do you type a lot at work? I've had problems in the past after typing in an unnatural manner, similar to riding a flat-bar Mountain bike. I bought a wrist brace to immobilize it and slept in it for a few days and wore it to work. after a few days it allowed the inflammation of the ulnar nerve to subside enough so I could resume normal activity with a focus on more ergonomic positioning.
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Old 12-28-11, 11:00 AM
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One thing I did that I think helps is to losen my grip on the bars when going over bumps or rough spots in the pavement. Now it's instinct to do that and it greatly reduces the shock to the hands and wrists
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Old 12-28-11, 12:20 PM
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there is a good chance your stem is too long and possibly too low, which causes you to lean forward too much and put too much pressure on your palms. i see it all the time, people come in for padded gloves, i ask to see their bike, the stem is too long. shorter stem, with a rise, often fixes it.

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