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Joe Gardner 05-09-02 02:38 PM

Pain in my wrist.
After todays 40+ mile ride, I have a sharp pain in my right wrist. I only noticed the pain now, about 3 hrs after the ride. Its quite painfull when moving.

Any ideas of what may have caused it? I only have ~500 total miles on my road bike, but thoes have been 500 pain free miles.

velocipedio 05-09-02 02:52 PM

Geez Joe, it could be just about anything...

Did you hit any potholes particularly hard today or recently?

You might also want to ckec the rotation of your handlebars/brake hoods. Most bikes are assembled with the bars rotated down, forcing a slight over-rotation of your wrist when you have your hands on the hoods. This can create a RSI not unlike carpal-tunnel syndrom [which can be aggravated by computer use and vice-versa].

Notice how there's a significant drop between the handlebar tops and the brake hoods in this picture of a Klein Quantum:

Now look at how a pro bike is set up [this is a FdJ bike]:

You'll notice that the hoods are almost perfectly level with the tops of the handlebars. This is a typical set-up for rider who spend a lot of time in the tops or with their hands on the brake hoods -- like pro road racers. Most bike shops set up their road bikes as if you would be spending more time in the drops [typical crit set-up].

I'd suggest loosening the handlebar clamp on your stem and rotating the bar up a bit so you have a flatter junction between the hoods and the tops.

kobyj 05-09-02 03:01 PM

I agree with Velocipedio's idea of the angle of the the hoods. That could easily put stress on the wrists.

Another idea would be the back brake.

Did you have to grab the brake hard a few times? If that is the case, you may have strained a muscle.

Did you have to keep your hand over the lever more than usual? If that is the case, you may have stretched a muscle.

Either of my ideas should go away after a few hours or a night's rest. Velocipedio's idea will most likely take longer to fully heal.

Joe Gardner 05-09-02 03:01 PM

I moved the hoods up when i re-taped the bar. I dont think that is a problem. I'll check the rotation of the bar aswell.

It may be carpal-tunnel syndrom, I'll have to look up more info on the net on carpal-tunnel and RSI.

Its quite a sharp pain, on the outside of my right wrist. Due to the sharpness of the pain, and the longer then normal ride today, I somewhat think its related to the bike, or the bike ride.

velocipedio 05-09-02 03:20 PM

I'd take a break from the bike for at least a day and maybe take a shorter ride on the weekend.

The problem is almost certainly bike-related in as much as you noticed the pain on your ride. However, RSIs like CTS are, by very definition, cumulative. It could be that an injury you've been cultivating for years finally showed up on the bike because your position aggravates the same problem.

On the other hand, I doubt it's CTS, since you'd feel that in your wrist and hand just behind the joint between index finger and thumb. Moreover, sharp pain is more often associated with accute compression of nerves [a nerve pinch] or inflammation of the joint. The latter would probably have almost nothing to do with cycling except that that's where it showed up.

Some things you might consider: Take a day or two off. If you still have the pain now, after cycling, take an ibuprofen; if it's due to any kind of inflammation in the joint or around the nerve, that will help. If you go for a ride in a couple of days and feel no pain, then it was probably nothing -- a pinched nerve from a bump or something [this will often feel like a slightly burning pain]. If the pain returns on the bike or at your desk, go see a doctor or a physiotherapist.

The best case scenario -- you pinched a nerve like when you get a crick in your neck. The worst case scenario -- it culd be arthritis. This latter is actually fairly unlikely and, as worst-case scenarios go, it's not the end of the world; it can be treated and controlled with anti-inflammatories.

orguasch 05-12-02 01:49 AM

yes , velocipedio observation is correct, I had the same problem pain in the wrist, but when my LBS adjusted the handle bar it was gone

DnvrFox 05-12-02 05:50 AM

How relaxed are your wrists when riding?

My wife has similar problem, and she drops and shakes her wrists frequently, alternating hands.

RiPHRaPH 05-12-02 06:39 AM

having that dreaded death grip will worsen these symptoms. it may be something you are doing in your everyday life and it just gets to hurting when you are on the bike.
with a nerve pinch you will probably experience what they call - referred pain. this is a shooting pain. the electrical impulses get bogged down by the pinch and cause this. it is not uncommon for nerve pinches to be located in the elbow or forearm area which can cause pain in the wrist as the nerve impulses get carried further down the arm. this would be an overall positioning issue.

In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, which presents with differing symptoms at different progressions.... the nerves etc in the arm shrink over time. so imagine a really taut cable. if you pull on it there is incredible stress/strain on it - like overtightening brake cables. especially in the cold/damp weather of the spring, and yes, as we age....this tightening causes pain when you try to tighten further (grip, braking, positioning)//////the best exercise for this is to stretch your wrist easy and slowly. put your hands in the classic 'prayer' position and separate your palms and press lightly with your fingers together. i do this everyday on the steering wheel while driving to/from work to prevent carpal. it helps get the stretch and get rid of the tightness in the wrist/arm.

it is impossible to accurately diagnose your problem or any medical problem on-line because there are often other factors that we don't think about, both when explaining our ailments and when giving advice... but just generalizing....these and other posts are good suggestions.,

---don't forget that ice is the best way to reduce inflammation---

Joe Gardner 05-13-02 05:49 PM

Thanks everyone. I ended up rotating the bar up a very slight amount. I did another 44 mile ride yesterday, without any pain.

Denver, I made sure to shake out my wrists every 5 - 10 miles. I ride with a very light touch on the bars, something i picked up while mtn biking.

RiPHRaPH, I think it was a pinched nerve, after a few hours, i could feel a tingle all the way down my arm, but my wrist was in really bad shape. I had a hard time typing, and went home a few hours early.

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