Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Seriously Numb Fingers

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Seriously Numb Fingers

Old 07-31-06, 10:52 AM
  #1  
john bono
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
john bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Seriously Numb Fingers

I did a metric century yesterday, and on the way home, I felt some numbness in my hands which has still not gone away as of today. The numbness runs from the heel of my left palm up to the pinkie finger, and on the ring finger a bit as well.

Anyone else experience this? Will it go away in time, or should I get it looked at?
john bono is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 10:54 AM
  #2  
sentinel4675
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 319
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you are still numb, get it checked by a doctor. It sounds like it could be along the lines of carpal tunnell syndrome. At the heel of you hand is where the carpal tunnel is and if you placed a lot of pressure on that area for a length of time, you may have inflamed the tendion under it.
sentinel4675 is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 11:01 AM
  #3  
fsor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sounds like carpel tunnel troubles.....spenco and others make gloves to help this situation. Do not keep doing what you are doing or you can do some serious damage....see a Dr. Make sure that you force yourself to change positions and shake each hand out routinely while on long rides....
fsor is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 11:08 AM
  #4  
roadfix
hello
 
roadfix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 18,601
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 144 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
This is an ineresting thread in which I will be following closely. Lately I've been experiencing slight numbness and a tingly sensation on my right thumb and index finger and does not seem to go away. I've never had this problem before.
roadfix is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 11:36 AM
  #5  
john bono
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
john bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by fsor
Sounds like carpel tunnel troubles.....spenco and others make gloves to help this situation. Do not keep doing what you are doing or you can do some serious damage....see a Dr. Make sure that you force yourself to change positions and shake each hand out routinely while on long rides....
I've had carpal tunnel before, and the feeling is different this time. Last time I had it, the numbness extended to the entire hand, and typically went away when I stopped typing. This seems more chronic, and is a bit more specific to one area of the hand.

I've been wearing the Specialized Body Geometry gloves which have helped a bit. I think in this case it might have hurt me, because I didn't get any real warning signs that it was coming(In the past, when I've felt a bit of numbness, I change my position). In this case, I really didn't feel anything until late in the ride. In any event, riding for me for the next few weeks will be slim to none(not because of numbness). If as been stated earlier, it is the result of an inflamed tendon pressing on a nerve, will taking an anti-inflammatory(Aspirin, Advil, etc) help at all for the time being?
john bono is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 11:55 AM
  #6  
kosherdave
Tri Coach/UltraMarathoner
 
kosherdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Posts: 490

Bikes: 2006 Madone 5.2 SL, some 60s Schwinn thing for crusin at Peak's Island, and an old single spead commuter (schiwn)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Probably not carpal tunnel. Get the body geometry gloves... read this if you have a minute.

A while back I came across an article on Cyclist’s Palsey in case you’d like to read more… Ulnar and Median Nerve Palsy in Long-distance Cyclists: A Prospective Study. Patterson et al: Am J Sports Med.2003; 31: 585-589 or at http://ajs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/31/4/585.

If you don’t want to read the short article I’ll provide you with the Conclusions: Cyclist’s palsy occurs at high rates in both experienced and inexperienced cyclists. Steps may be taken to decrease the incidence of cyclist’s palsy; these include wearing cycling gloves, ensuring proper bicycle fit, and frequently changing hand position.
The use of gel in the glove's palm makes quite a difference by reducing the pressure on your ulnar nerves, which, when aggravated, can cause numbness (often reported by cyclist’s in their pinky fingers). Apparently, over time this can cause actual damage to the median nerve in your wrists, spreading all the way up to your arms to give you lasting chronic cubital tunnel compression, which results in pain and discomfort in the elbow, forearm wrist, hand, neck and even your shoulder!
kosherdave is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 01:02 PM
  #7  
Mothra
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 373
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sounds like you could've been pinching a nerve in the soft valley in the palm of your hand. The carpal and median nerves as well as arteries run though the center of the hand, so you don't want to be putting your weight there. Angle your hand so the fingers aim outwards and keep the weight on the outside meaty heel of your palms.

also regularly relax your grip and wiggle all your fingers. This makes sure you don't have a deathgrip on the bars which can cut off circulation.
Mothra is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 01:50 PM
  #8  
fsor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by john bono
I've had carpal tunnel before, and the feeling is different this time. Last time I had it, the numbness extended to the entire hand, and typically went away when I stopped typing. This seems more chronic, and is a bit more specific to one area of the hand.

I've been wearing the Specialized Body Geometry gloves which have helped a bit. I think in this case it might have hurt me, because I didn't get any real warning signs that it was coming(In the past, when I've felt a bit of numbness, I change my position). In this case, I really didn't feel anything until late in the ride. In any event, riding for me for the next few weeks will be slim to none(not because of numbness). If as been stated earlier, it is the result of an inflamed tendon pressing on a nerve, will taking an anti-inflammatory(Aspirin, Advil, etc) help at all for the time being?
Your first post sounded to me like the numbness was limited to the smallest two fingers...so the Carpal conclusion...if the whole hand is going off line, then it is probably both carpal and media....there is a tunnel in the elbow that can cause problems to both nerve trunks...are you locking your arms? just a thought... I went to Spenco ironman gloves and it helped a lot...I also buried some gel pads under the bar tape on my commuter bike to provide a channel...good luck to you
fsor is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 02:01 PM
  #9  
fsor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
just a really stupid thought...please forgive.....this isn't just on the left side is it? You are in good cardio health I presume**********? I mean worrying about carpal/medial issues when you are having a heart attack would ruin everyone's day...sorry, I just wanted to be sure.
fsor is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 02:08 PM
  #10  
C-R700
Senior Member
 
C-R700's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 171

Bikes: Cannondale R-700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I am currently experiencing numbness in my left fingers, rode RAGBRAI last week plus some. I am hoping that all will be well with some time of the bike.
C-R700 is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 04:32 PM
  #11  
john bono
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
john bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by fsor
Your first post sounded to me like the numbness was limited to the smallest two fingers...so the Carpal conclusion...if the whole hand is going off line, then it is probably both carpal and media....there is a tunnel in the elbow that can cause problems to both nerve trunks...are you locking your arms? just a thought... I went to Spenco ironman gloves and it helped a lot...I also buried some gel pads under the bar tape on my commuter bike to provide a channel...good luck to you
No, I had carpal tunnel 10 years ago. I felt it in my entire hand. This is an entirely different incident--though my arms are a bit locked. I also noticed today that my handle bars are rock hard on the top. I think the gel on the bars has migrated below the bars.

Last edited by john bono; 07-31-06 at 04:37 PM.
john bono is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 04:36 PM
  #12  
john bono
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
john bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by fsor
just a really stupid thought...please forgive.....this isn't just on the left side is it? You are in good cardio health I presume**********? I mean worrying about carpal/medial issues when you are having a heart attack would ruin everyone's day...sorry, I just wanted to be sure.
Nope, that's not the problem. While I do qualify as being morbidly obese(BMI of 41), I've been maintaining a stead 100mi per week for at the past four months, and have had no problems maintaining a sustained heart rate over 160 for nearly a half an hour. If I was going to have a coronary, I'd probably already be dead.
john bono is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 04:40 PM
  #13  
Panic
Rocking the roads of Bama
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern Bama
Posts: 693

Bikes: Trek 1200

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
John,

I had numbness last year in my index finger of my right hand. I got it from my first ride on a very busy street where I kept a death lock grip on the hoods.

I tried accupuncture (I can't spell) and that helped a lot. It was a whim, but I'd do it again.

New gloves, Spencos are very good. I also have a pair from Performance for short rides.

Change your grip often. Shake your hands, and ride with no hands when its safe.

Going to a doctor was my first step, and I got no satisfaction, so that's why I went with needle sticking.

Good luck.
Panic is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 05:29 PM
  #14  
dekalbSTEEL
Well, duh, Mr Obvious.
 
dekalbSTEEL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NIU town
Posts: 2,271

Bikes: see sig, and others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Panic
I tried accupuncture (I can't spell) and that helped a lot.
I didn't know acupuncture was a remedy for bad spelling!
dekalbSTEEL is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 06:36 PM
  #15  
WithanF
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
Posts: 76
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The problem could be in your neck, at C8. See a doc. It may not be your hands or elbow.
WithanF is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 06:48 PM
  #16  
GuitarWizard
Used to be a climber..
 
GuitarWizard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Posts: 6,844

Bikes: Ridley Fenix SL, Niner RLT-9 Steel, Diamond Back Haanjo Trail, Fairdale Goodship

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Proper bike fit works wonders as well, but if you're that heavy and not really able to hold yourself up without resting a lot of weight on your hands, then it's a catch 22.....I'll echo what others have said and say to go check it out with a Doctor. If you have insurance, it can't hurt to do so....
GuitarWizard is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 07:34 PM
  #17  
42x16
Up to no good
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Portland
Posts: 209

Bikes: Steelman EuroCross, Gunnar Streetdog, Independent Fabrications Deluxe

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by john bono
I did a metric century yesterday, and on the way home, I felt some numbness in my hands which has still not gone away as of today. The numbness runs from the heel of my left palm up to the pinkie finger, and on the ring finger a bit as well.

Anyone else experience this? Will it go away in time, or should I get it looked at?
Before you go to the doctor go to your bike shop and have them do a professional fitting to see that your set up is right. If after that you still have an issue after a long rode go see a doctor.
42x16 is offline  
Old 07-31-06, 09:06 PM
  #18  
MillCreek
BF Risk Manager
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Snohomish County, Washington USA
Posts: 894

Bikes: Road, mountain and folding

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I suspect this is a case of ulnar neuropathy. Do a Google for this phrase, and you will find a number of articles, including the one mentioned above, or you can search in Medline. I have had this. Using Specialized BG gloves, raising the bars a bit and taking care to vary my hand position periodically worked wonders.
MillCreek is offline  
Old 08-01-06, 12:16 PM
  #19  
john bono
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
john bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Update:

I did a short ride today (10 miles) and paid close attention to where my hands are when I ride. First off, I noticed that my elbows aren't entirely locked. They're extended, but not fully locked out(About 70 to 80% locked). As far as my hand position is concerned, it's a bit more complicated, but here goes:



I would say about 60% of the time when I'm riding, my hands are at position 2 on the left side, and position 2 and 3 on the right, because I tend to shift a lot. I don't tend to grip the bars much, mainly resting my palms on the top The gel padding is almost entirely squished on the left side(the numb side). My hands tend to drift towards the pack of #2 when I climb, and towards the front on flats/mild descents. On windy days/steep descents, I tend to be on the drops(the tan circle). On a descent I keep my hands on the brake levers, when I'm riding into the wind I grip the bottom part of the drops.

Position 1(purple) I use the least, only when I am doing a short steep climb, or approaching an intersection after I've already shifted to the right gear to accelerate away after the light changes. I use those brake levers so rarely now that I'm thinking about removing them entirely, or maybe transferring them to a set of aero bars I'm planning on installing(if possible).

As far as the numbness is concerned, I've been taking Advil, and that seems to have helped a bit. I think going forward, I'm going to have to change the bar tape, or put some type of padding under the bar tape to improve the cushioning. I'll be on a 3 week hiatus from biking because I'll be in a training class, so my hand will have time to heal in the interim, but after that, I'm looking to do very long ride by Labor Day, so I'd like to be able to be able to fix it on a permanent basis.
john bono is offline  
Old 08-01-06, 12:27 PM
  #20  
donrhummy
Senior Member
 
donrhummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've gotten it alot too and I found it was caused by putting my hands on the outer curve of the handlebars (there the tops transition into the hoods). Now I only use the tops or hoods straight-on and it's been MUCH better since then.
donrhummy is offline  
Old 08-01-06, 12:29 PM
  #21  
donrhummy
Senior Member
 
donrhummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by john bono
I would say about 60% of the time when I'm riding, my hands are at position 2 on the left side, and position 2 and 3 on the right, because I tend to shift a lot.
OH! Yes, I just saw your post/image. It's position 2 that causes it!! Stay away from there. I was getting huge numbness too and when i showed a bike-fitter where I held the bar, he told me to stay away from there...and voila, the numbness went away!
donrhummy is offline  
Old 08-01-06, 06:56 PM
  #22  
Ostuni
Guinea Hood
 
Ostuni's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: East of Shelbyville
Posts: 2,791
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by john bono
...should I get it looked at?
yes. numbness on a long ride happens, but lasting numbness suggests another issue going on that the cycling is aggravating?
__________________
Tom Hagen: 'Thank you for the dinner and a very pleasant evening. If your car could take me to the airport - Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately.'
Ostuni is offline  
Old 08-01-06, 09:13 PM
  #23  
pgoat
Batüwü Griekgriek
 
pgoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC - for the moment...
Posts: 2,908

Bikes: 1985 Trek 500, 1986 Trek 500 Tri Series, 2005 Cannondale R1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've had bouts of this as well. Got checked out by a neurologist and was pronounced ok.

My feeling is mine was caused by a combo of:

bars too low, poor hip flex and core strength causing arms to lock and hold my (over)weight up.


I actually get MORE problems with thickly gel padded gloved like Specialized BG, so for me it's lightly padded old school gloves, but I use two rolls of Cinelli cork tape (no gel) and watch the death grip and shift hands frequently. I've been much better since. Yoga has helped with trunk support and hip flex.


I think for me, firm padding is better for avoiding numbness - same as with a saddle. But you have to get checked out by a doc and go with what works for you. good luck and let us know how you make out
__________________
Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.
pgoat is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Inertianinja
Road Cycling
24
01-16-13 01:45 PM
idoru2005
Utility Cycling
22
03-20-09 08:09 AM
paulv
Road Cycling
3
07-16-07 06:29 AM
unaesthetic
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
13
02-22-05 02:41 PM
tiride
Tandem Cycling
1
06-24-03 10:35 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


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.