Cycling and Hand pain.

A few weeks ago we asked cyclists via our facebook site, (www., to list the things that hurt most when they cycle. The two most common responses were as follows; back pain, and hand pain. I wrote about back pain in the last blog, and will now address hand pain.

Hand Pain and Cycling.

There are a few reasons why hands hurt or go numb on bikes.
1. Vibrations that travel through the handlebars.
2. Holding on too tightly.
3. Incorrect bike setup
4. Failing to change hand position on the bike.

A bit more in depth.

Handlebar Palsy.

Pain or numbness through your

hand pain cycling

hand pain cycling

last two fingers (baby and ring fingers) is known as handlebar palsy. This is a result of compressing the ulnar nerve and can happen to both mountain and road bike riders. Numbness can last for a few days after particularly gruelling events.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Hand pain cycling

Hand pain cycling

This is less common and is as a result of pressure placed on the median nerve. Numbness or pain can be felt in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Numbness normally clears quickly after removing your hands from the handlebar. Lifestyle practices such as computer work can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which can be exacerbated during cycling.

What to do.

1. Check that your bike setup is correct. Being overly stretched on the bike will place more pressure on your hands.
 You can fit a shaped handle bar onto your mountain bike. phormPhorm and Topeak  make these, and we stock them. They provide a ‘shelf’ for your hands to rest on. (See pic on the right).
3. Regularly change hand positions while riding.
4. You can wrap a second layer of handlebar tape around your road bike handlebar. This will reduce vibration and also provide a thicker grip for your hands.

Despite all these suggestions, you might still battle with hand pain and numbness. Your only option then is to give your hand a good shake, stretch the fingers and wait for the pain or numbness to go.


Mike Roscoe.

About sbrsport

SBR Sport specialises in Swimming, Biking and Running. On the medical side we are able to do intensive bike setups, leg assessments and soft tissue release. Follow us on twitter - and/or facebook -
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