Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Mountain Biking
Reload this Page >

Grips for Thumb Arthritis

Notices
Mountain Biking Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Check out this forum to discuss the latest tips, tricks, gear and equipment in the world of mountain biking.

Grips for Thumb Arthritis

Old 04-25-17, 10:07 PM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sydney AUS
Posts: 92
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 5 Posts
Grips for Thumb Arthritis

Hi,
I have an emerging issue with arthritis in my thumbs which is affecting me (on the left hand particularly) with holding the grip and gear changes. Had only been a niggle until I went for a week's mountain biking in Canberra with the family. There are a few issues at play here. One is that I am gripping the handlebars too tightly generally and I'm trying to address this. The second is that I have poor core strength and I need to address that as best I can.

I have only standard grips on my Merida Big 7 XT (2014) which need replacing anyway. I was looking at ergo grips, and was wondering about the Bontrager inForm Satellite City Grip. Anyone had any experience with these or any other alternative suggestions?

I'm hoping to delay dealing with the shifters for now. The issue with these is exacerbated by the wider handlebars mtbs have. This means the angle I have to bend back my thumb is greater. I could try moving the shifters in a little but I'm not sure that's a good idea. I have no problems at all with the drop bars on my road/touring bike at the moment, even when the thumb is irritated.
Nomad2 is offline  
Old 04-25-17, 10:19 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 4,401

Bikes: Bianchi Infinito (Celeste, of course)

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 754 Post(s)
Liked 104 Times in 77 Posts
I have the Ergon version of those. They work well, but more from a wrist support perspective. There's also things like TOGS (thumb over grips: https://togs.com/ ), those might help. I don't have arthritis so I can't comment on what is likely to work for you.

I wouldn't hesitate to at least try adjusting the angle or spacing of the shifters. That's free and only take a minute or two. Many bikes come with the shifters and brake levers pointed too far down. You want them to basically be inline with your arms/wrist when in your normal riding position. There's also nothing wrong with cutting the bars down by 5-10mm on each side. Adjust the grips and shifters, test and then cut.
gsa103 is offline  
Old 04-25-17, 10:31 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 38,331

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5592 Post(s)
Liked 2,205 Times in 1,239 Posts
First of all, BTID thumb strain was common for mtn bikers using shifters that were unreasonably stiff. That problem is what led to the lighter action, more ergonomic levers we see today.

Odds are that your thumb will recover, unless there's an underlying issue like rheumatic arthritis.

Besides learning to relax and not use a death grip when riding, you might invest a few dollars in a grip exerciser of the type used by tennis players. If all else fails, the remedy might be to (gasp) switch to twist shifters. If this is too declassee for you, you might leave the original shifters in place as chamouflage.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 07:48 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,721

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 854 Post(s)
Liked 111 Times in 66 Posts
Get a bar with some more sweep, curved back to you. Easier on the wrists too.
Leebo is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 03:22 PM
  #5  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sydney AUS
Posts: 92
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by gsa103
I have the Ergon version of those. They work well, but more from a wrist support perspective. There's also things like TOGS (thumb over grips: https://togs.com/ ), those might help. I don't have arthritis so I can't comment on what is likely to work for you.

I wouldn't hesitate to at least try adjusting the angle or spacing of the shifters. That's free and only take a minute or two. Many bikes come with the shifters and brake levers pointed too far down. You want them to basically be inline with your arms/wrist when in your normal riding position. There's also nothing wrong with cutting the bars down by 5-10mm on each side. Adjust the grips and shifters, test and then cut.
Thanks for the info. Will try making some adjustments. The TOGS look interesting.
Nomad2 is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 03:33 PM
  #6  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sydney AUS
Posts: 92
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
First of all, BTID thumb strain was common for mtn bikers using shifters that were unreasonably stiff. That problem is what led to the lighter action, more ergonomic levers we see today.

Odds are that your thumb will recover, unless there's an underlying issue like rheumatic arthritis.

Besides learning to relax and not use a death grip when riding, you might invest a few dollars in a grip exerciser of the type used by tennis players. If all else fails, the remedy might be to (gasp) switch to twist shifters. If this is too declassee for you, you might leave the original shifters in place as chamouflage.
Interesting perspective. I must say the action of my XT levers is not noticeably easier than the old 1998 Acera ones I had on my old bike. Mainly for the front. That one is tougher to move and longer travel required to make the change. I would consider getting grip shifters if I could get ones to match my 10 speed shimano gearing. I'll try making some adjustments first and go from there. Thanks!
Nomad2 is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 03:41 PM
  #7  
Full Member
 
bargeon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Central NY
Posts: 494

Bikes: Fuji, Focus,Felt. 20 more letters to go.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 22 Posts
Basil joint arthritis?
bargeon is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 03:48 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 38,331

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5592 Post(s)
Liked 2,205 Times in 1,239 Posts
Originally Posted by Nomad2
Interesting perspective. I must say the action of my XT levers is not noticeably easier than the old 1998 Acera ones I had on my old bike. Mainly for the front. That one is tougher to move and longer travel required to make the change. .....
My BITD may be farther back than yours, but thumb strain from stiff shifters is or was common. Like yours, the left lever on my old mtb turned commuter is stiffer than the right, because pre-hyperglide front shifting took a decent amount of force.

I've strained the thumb a number of times forcing shifts, and for a few weeks after I'd be careful about how I used that thumb, and it would always recover nicely (until next time).

In your shoes, I'd rest the thumb, and try to determine whether it's a chronic issue like arthritis or more by way of an in jury that will heal if given a chance.

One other thing that may help (though I don't think it can be done with index left) is to adjust cable length so working the lever travel is in a better place for my grip. Years ago, there was even one made where the lever itself could be rotated on the center post so it was in the right place for the rider.

FWIW Sram makes (or used to) both friction and index twist grips to match Shimano index FD. Or you might look at one of the "rapid fire" systems that use one lever for up, and one for down.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 06:02 PM
  #9  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Sydney AUS
Posts: 92
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by bargeon
Basil joint arthritis?
That's correct, well, Basal. Apparently the X-ray confirmed it but my GP said he had seen many worse examples in X-rays of people with no symptoms of it....It has been apparent to some extent in both hands) since the middle of last year, but up until a few weeks ago had not affected me when riding.
Nomad2 is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 06:28 PM
  #10  
Full Member
 
bargeon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Central NY
Posts: 494

Bikes: Fuji, Focus,Felt. 20 more letters to go.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by Nomad2
That's correct, well, Basal. Apparently the X-ray confirmed it but my GP said he had seen many worse examples in X-rays of people with no symptoms of it....It has been apparent to some extent in both hands) since the middle of last year, but up until a few weeks ago had not affected me when riding.
Errr, Basal, right. Hate it when I do that.
Hurts when I shift. Had to give up the bass. The only thing that doesn't hurt is thumbing my nose
Wish I had encouraging news. My bone guy basically said just wait till it's bad enough and we'll operate
bargeon is offline  
Old 04-26-17, 10:59 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,734
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 324 Post(s)
Liked 205 Times in 130 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY
FWIW Sram makes (or used to) both friction and index twist grips to match Shimano index FD. Or you might look at one of the "rapid fire" systems that use one lever for up, and one for down.
For the front anything will work sram shimano doesn't matter. My front X0 9 speed Sram gripshifter shifted a 10 speed Shimano FD for 3 years just fine. While the shifter has a 1-2-3 on it it really has 10 or so positions so you can trim the FD. You can pick up a X9 left shifter for $25 or so.

Grip shifters have a bad rap because the vast majority that people get to try are on lowend crap bikes with lowend crap shifters.
Canker is offline  
Old 04-28-17, 06:45 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
OldsCOOL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: northern michigan
Posts: 13,313

Bikes: '77 Colnago Super, '76 Fuji The Finest, '88 Cannondale Criterium, '86 Trek 760, '87 Miyata 712

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Liked 589 Times in 311 Posts
Try the silicone grips by ESI. I ride with rigid forks and enjoy the extra cushion of the ESI's.
OldsCOOL is offline  
Old 04-28-17, 02:15 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Bike Life's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Mid Michigan
Posts: 70

Bikes: 1989 Trek 950 MTB, 1991 Schwinn Crosscut, 2015 Trek 520,

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have RA in my left thumb (as well as other locations). I could hardly shift the chainrings on my old Trek MTB. It all got bad enough a few years ago that I started seeing a rhumatoligist who put me on some med that has it all under control. I got to her in time to prevent the swollen knuckle look.
Bike Life is offline  
Old 04-28-17, 05:41 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
linberl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 3,459

Bikes: Trident Spike 2 recumbent trike w/ e-assist

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1319 Post(s)
Liked 374 Times in 288 Posts
The only thing that helped me was swept back (more) bars. Not only did the improved angle relieve some pain but also I no longer use a death grip due to the way I hold the bars now. See if your local shop will let you try some out.
linberl is offline  
Old 05-09-17, 01:05 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sunny Tampa, Florida
Posts: 1,546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 41 Posts
I have a similar problem with my right thumb. I ride with my thumbs over the grip unless dealing with roots, ruts, rocks etc. Shifting isn't a problem if I can plan it and have my thumb at just the right angle. Nobody makes Shimano compatible twist-shifters past 8s and I like my drivetrain so haven't made a jump. Would change right now if it didn't also mean replacing the Ders and costing a fortune.
Ronsonic is offline  
Old 05-09-17, 01:36 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sunny so. cal.
Posts: 904
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 31 Posts
Do you have a clutch on your RD/Rear Mech like with Shimano? If so, you might want to turn it to the off position and it'll shift easier. To keep the chain tension tight with it off, shorten it a link or so, so that you can still go big/big w/o straining the RD's spring/angle.
bikeme is offline  
Old 01-19-23, 12:40 PM
  #17  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
HI All I have the dreaded thumb Arthritis now. I know this is an old thread but as anybody got any recommendations for grips? I'm using the thumb over grips with insulation foam and Shimano dual control shifters
Thanks
Bally796 is offline  
Old 01-19-23, 11:42 PM
  #18  
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 13,041

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: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4162 Post(s)
Liked 3,727 Times in 2,483 Posts
Originally Posted by Bally796
HI All I have the dreaded thumb Arthritis now. I know this is an old thread but as anybody got any recommendations for grips? I'm using the thumb over grips with insulation foam and Shimano dual control shifters
Thanks
You might just read what was suggested here and try and it and then if not start a new thread. No need to zombie this one. Though like one 6 year old poster wrote Ergon grips! Always Ergon grips accept no substitutes!
veganbikes is offline  
Old 01-21-23, 01:45 PM
  #19  
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,765

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Tilt, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 72 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3115 Post(s)
Liked 2,087 Times in 1,360 Posts
Since this thread Microshift has brought out some trigger shifters that are light action, for kids. They release with the index finger like Shimano.

We got two kid bikes this year with SRAM shifters and the kids can’t reach the release which is thumb only
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 01-21-23, 02:21 PM
  #20  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Since this thread Microshift has brought out some trigger shifters that are light action, for kids. They release with the index finger like Shimano.

We got two kid bikes this year with SRAM shifters and the kids can’t reach the release which is thumb only
Right ive just changed from the sram xo grip shifters as they was stiff to the shimano xt dual control st m775. Not been out on it yet so early days.
Bally796 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
NanaTo8Rider
General Cycling Discussion
36
10-16-14 02:14 PM
redeyedtreefr0g
General Cycling Discussion
8
05-01-12 07:10 AM
spudston
Bicycle Mechanics
3
11-04-11 09:19 PM
rhiannonstone
Bicycle Mechanics
3
07-24-11 12:28 PM
BestSportEver
Touring
5
06-25-10 10:06 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.