Finger - either numb or pins/needles

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Swizz69
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby Swizz69 » 26 Mar 2010, 8:47pm

These are supposed to be quite good John, and i'm sure there are similar available for less if you shop around. Some even have small bar ends built in to give you a few more hand positions.

Completely agree with the posts on luggage too - all that weight on your back will end up on your wrists at some point.

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531colin
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby 531colin » 26 Mar 2010, 9:11pm

One vote to put this thread into "too good to lose", on account of excellent descriptions of problems affecting nerves to the hand, one of which I had never heard of.
PS - I havn't nominated it on the appropriate board, maybe leave it here a bit, may get more good stuff?

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angliatv
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby angliatv » 27 Mar 2010, 9:02am

Just to clarify, Cubital Tunnel Sydrome is also known as 'Handlebar Palsy'.

Ed

Freddie
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby Freddie » 27 Mar 2010, 10:25am

Is it, perhaps it should be known as straight handlebar palsy.

Honestly, these are the only type of bars (other than risers without enough sweep) that contact heavy on the base of your hand, everything else is through the top/middle of the palm as it should be (i.e North Road, Portuer style, Drops....Butterfly bars are slightly dubious, but still..). Straight bars are for maximum maneuverability through difficult, technical off road sections for the road they really are awful, both ergonomically and by the fact that they give too much leverage (One hopes these straight barred road bikes have slacker head tube angles).

Also, I find these "relax shoulders, bend your elbows" type comments a bit insidious, it's a bit like the old one "Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this...well, don't do it then", if someone isn't comfortable without having to consciously modify their position then the fit is at fault not their gait! (for want of a better word).

Russell160
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby Russell160 » 28 Mar 2010, 8:25pm

As well as position you could also think about your grips or tape - think about using some gel underneath the tape, or thick cork tape. If you're using grips, choose something ergonomic. Good gloves help. I have both a modern bike with cork tape, gel, wide bar - no hand problems. Old bike: with old tape, no padding: hand numbness after a long ish ride.

geocycle
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby geocycle » 29 Mar 2010, 12:00pm

There is an interesting poll here which shows just how complicated this problem is. It also shows no correlation to bar type.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum/po ... poll_id=27

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meic
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby meic » 29 Mar 2010, 12:48pm

There is a big problem with that survey.

The drop bars show up as the most common bars for those who suffer, the very reason for that is that when you set off to do the sorts of mileage that hurt your arms, you dont attempt it with straight bars in the first place.

When I had straight bars my troubles began at 50 miles
with the drop bars the problems dont start till 100 miles.
As I am riding more than a 100 miles I ride the drops or butterflies so I get problems with those bars.
I wouldnt even attempt or manage the ride with straight bars.

I agree that I have found this thread very useful, at this very moment I can feel the tingling of ulnar nerve problems (thanks Richard for that posting, exactly the information that I needed.)

The bend your arms advice isnt very useful to me personally, I can hold my arms bent for about five minutes, What do I do for the other 14 hours that I am riding?
I have now fitted STI shifters in place of the old Weinmans and that enables me to hold the very, very tops of the levers (above the cables) and the arms are coming in more horizontally so the wrists are not bent as much, it has probably extended my range by another 20-30 miles.
So in effect I have had to modify the bike in order to bend my arms, rather than trying to hold them bent by the strength of the arm and stomach muscles.
Although it is a bit confusing to people seeing a bike with both STIs and downtube levers. :lol:

There is no one magic answer, over the years I have used most of the different suggestions, one after another and each has improved my range by a number of miles.
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Freddie
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby Freddie » 29 Mar 2010, 7:39pm

I also find the poll interesting, in the sense that so many would waste their time with it, the only thing that it proves is that a considerable amount of people haven't a clue how to get a bicycle to fit....hardly breaking news.

I think that gel padding is a bit like gel saddles, an answer looking for a problem. Bars need padding, one, maybe two wraps of tape, but gel is so soft it just spreads the pressure over a wider area. Whilst in theory this seems good, you then get pressure points and pressure where the shouldn't be any, finally you've dodged the actual problem of too much weight on the hands in the first instance, which requires you to move the bars in some manner.

geocycle
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby geocycle » 29 Mar 2010, 8:02pm

Freddie wrote:I also find the poll interesting, in the sense that so many would waste their time with it, the only thing that it proves is that a considerable amount of people haven't a clue how to get a bicycle to fit....hardly breaking news.



Well we have to remember it's an internet poll not a survey. It doesn't show anything other than there is no one single solution for all people for all types of riding and it is a relatively common problem amongst cycle tourists who read crazy guy and fill in polls. A properly conducted survey would be much more valuable (a job for CTC or an ergonomics student dissertation perhaps?).

I think you are correct that bike fit is the most important issue. However, we have already heard that there are two different nerve systems, so different solutions may be needed depending which is affected. For example I now know I suffer from a near permanent problem with the ulna nerve in my left hand, so my solution will need to look at whether I use the hands differently on the bike (it might simply be that I change gear with the right) or maybe how I am seated in the saddle.

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meic
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby meic » 29 Mar 2010, 9:43pm

I suspect in my case it is because my left arm is longer than my right, measurably so by more than a cm.
Do the frame fitters allow for things like that?
Yma o Hyd

reohn2
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby reohn2 » 30 Mar 2010, 6:34pm

richardyorkshire wrote:There are two main nerves that control feeling in the hands.

The carpal nerve runs from your neck, through your shoulder, down the centre of your arm, through the elbow joint and through a tunnel of cartilage (known as the carpal tunnel) in the centre of your wrist, to your hand. The carpal nerve controls feeling and movement in your thumb and first two fingers. It also controls one side of your third finger.

The ulnar nerve leaves the neck and travels down the rear side of your arm and through the little notch in the bone of your elbow at the back - the funny bone - it then travels down the forearm and enters the hand over the heel of the palm, in line with your little finger. It supplies feeling and control to the little finger and the remaining side of your third finger. It is more exposed to knocks than the carpal nerve because it is less important. If you whack your funny bone, it is the ulnar nerve that you've hit.

If you get tingling in your thumb and first fingers, it is the carpal nerve that is affected. If the tingling is mainly in your little finger, it is the ulnar nerve. The nerves can be affected at any point along their length, but will always manifest with tingling in the hands. Most commonly it at the narrow points in your joints that problems can occur, particularly if they are held in an awkward position for a long time.

If you bend your hand back at the wrist and hold it in that position for a long time, the tissue around the carpal nerve can become inflamed and compress the nerve, leading to tingling and numbness. Try to keep your wrist in a straight line to avoid the problem. Using drop bars, with your hands on the heads, usually keeps your wrist straight.

If you press down a lot on the heel of your hand, you can compress the ulnar nerve. Specialized do some gloves with padding that avoids pressure on the ulnar nerve, if you are getting this problem.

If your elbow is overstretched, rather than in a relaxed position, the tissue in the joint can become inflamed and compress the nerves. So make sure your bike is the right size, and the saddle is positioned correctly fore and aft.

Keep your wrists straight, avoid pressure on the heel of the hand and keep the elbows in a relaxed position. Shift position from time to time and take breaks.

Note that Ibuprofen will relieve any inflamation around the nerves and so stop the tingling. But you can't take it regularly, so you need to identify what it is about your position on the bike that is causing the problem in the first place.


Spot on.
As a sufferer of CTS for years due to use of powertools I can confirm that its all about wrist angle whilst under pressure a simple change in riding/hand position can help a great deal. A double wrap of bar tape can help and or gel palmed mitts or gloves are helpful too.
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bigjim
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby bigjim » 30 Mar 2010, 7:44pm

I used to suffer from this whilst riding my M/Bike and reckoned it was vibration tranmitted from the engine and the roads. handlebars are hollow steel/alloy and resonate. I cured my problem by injecting expandable foam into the bars. It cured the vibration problem and did not add any weight. Might help on the bike.
Last edited by bigjim on 19 Jul 2011, 10:00pm, edited 1 time in total.
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531colin
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby 531colin » 19 Jul 2011, 8:36pm

Another thread....http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=53539

EDIT....sorry, chaps, I didn't realise that adding to this thread would catapult it back up the listings.....now we have 2 threads on numb fingers :oops:

Bigdummysteve
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby Bigdummysteve » 5 Jul 2016, 6:19pm

I've cured my problems, on my Bigdummy the factory cut the steering tube rather short. I got close by using a high rise stem, ergon grips and a humpet bar with long curved bar ends ( much like butterfly bars). With my new ECR I had a base fit to work towards. I've fitted Jones h bars which place the hands at a very natural position and using the uncut steering tube have the bars about an inch higher than the saddle. It may take a few tries to find the ideal setup, I went through 3 different bars and a variety of stems before I found the solution which also included different gloves.

Bars with some bend in help and there a few options out there now

mercalia
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Re: Finger - either numb or pins/needles

Postby mercalia » 6 Jul 2016, 9:50pm

you could try and increase the surface are of the grip by using some dense foam pipe lagging from B&Q? Bigger surface area less pressure? I have done this and a much nicer ride esp if you have big hands.