Numb Fingers



clayton11

New Member
May 29, 2006
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Hello,

I'm new to cycling & as I'm totaly obsessed at the moment & it's getting cold I thought I'd invest in some gloves.

After trying on a few pairs at my local I settled on a pair of Specialized that seemed a good mix of price & comfort. They made a point of stating they have a gel pad that "reduces hand numbness by relieving pressure on sensitive ulnar nerves".

The thing is... I didn't get numb fingers until I started wearing the gloves, well maybe slightly after a long ride (75kms is long for me), but nothing like now. After around 30kms the two small fingers on my left hand are numb & my whole hand is so weak I find it difficult to use the shifter. The following day my fingers are still slightly numb & weak.

Has anyone else experienced this?
 

artmichalek

New Member
Sep 15, 2004
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It could be the gloves, but there are a few other things to consider.
- Keep your grip on the bars relatively loose. It's common for beginners to hold on too tightly.
- Your wrists should be straight.
- Drop bars give you a lot of places to put your hands. Use all of them, and periodically take your hands off of the bars (probably one at a time) to stretch them.
 

clayton11

New Member
May 29, 2006
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Thanks for the speedy reply, I'll give your suggestions a try.

I don't move my hands around that much but no less than before I got the gloves. I'll take note of my wrists next time I go for a ride.

I think I might take the gloves back & tell my local they're broken, that should be good for a laugh.
 

mnr3

New Member
Jun 11, 2006
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have a more experienced rider look at your position too: too much weight on your hands will lead to discomfort. you want the weight on your feet and saddle, and definitely avoid the death grip, you should be able to "play the piano" while in the saddle
 

HowardSteele

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Mar 7, 2006
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It could be the gloves, I have gone through many pairs of gloves and i have a pair I’ve only worn a couple of times as they give me pins and needles in my hands. Every now and then i try them again and each time the discomfort. Obvioslly the stitching or padding is pushing on a nerve.
 

meehs

New Member
Nov 7, 2003
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If your hands weren't getting numb before you got the gloves and then started getting numb when you started using them, it's a pretty good bet it's the gloves. The Specialized Body Geometry gloves have a pretty thick pad right over the ulnar nerve. Maybe the pad is actually pushing into your nerve and causing the numbness? Maybe try some different gloves.

The most important factor in keeping your hands (and shoulders, and back) comfortable is having your handlebar at a sufficient height as to allow you not to put too much of your weight weight on your hands. Having the bars equal to or even slightly higher than your saddle is an excellent place to start. Despite what "Buy"cycling magazine and your LBS might tell you, you don't have to set your handlebars six or eight inches below your saddle because that's what the pro racers do! :rolleyes:
 

kettlewon2001

New Member
Jul 24, 2005
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Checking the fit is the best advice I have read. But keep in mind the need to keep the death grip off the bars and shift your hands from time to time, never leaving them in the same position for too long. Hope this helps.
 

Archibald

New Member
Jun 19, 2006
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okay, here comes the monkey in the wrench on this one...
riding for nearly an hour and was losing feeling in both hands.
for the next half an hour, no matter where i put my hands or gripped the bars/hoods/drops, they stayed numb and progressively got worse.
the only way to get any feeling back was to drop a hand to my side for a bit and give it a shake before lightly returning it to the bars.
they then began to lose feeling again.
i use a fingerless glove from cannondale with the gel pads, if that's any help for suggestions...
ideas??
 

naphas13

New Member
Sep 28, 2006
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I hate to say it, but you're showing the classic symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. I know about it, I have it, and cycling is one of those things known to aggravate it. I was having the same type of trouble with mine riding today. What the others have been telling you regarding changing hand position, keeping from putting too much weight on them, etc. are all real good ideas, but it might help to know the mechanics of how the nerve in the wrist gets compressed to cause the numbness, and avoid getting your wrists in these positions whenever possible.

Basically, if your hand flexes back too much (the classic stiff arm position in football), or bent inward too much you compress the carpal tunnel in your wrist and put pressure on the nerve to the hand. Try keeping your hand in a neutral position, with the back of your hand just slightly bent back, by maybe 15* or so, so that your thumb is more or less lined up with your wrist when viewed from the side. Flexing your fingers periodically while you ride is also a good idea, as is not tightening your grip on the bars.

Also, and this may seem kind of obvious, make sure the gloves aren't tightened down too much at the wrists, which will cut off circulation and contribute to swelling and pressure on the nerve. You may need to loosen them after you've been riding for a while.

If you're having too much trouble with numbness, you might try riding without the gloves for awhile and see if that helps. Sometimes it works for me.

You might want to get checked out by a doc, or at least look around the web. There are exercises you can do to ease the symptoms...but not while you're riding.
 

Archibald

New Member
Jun 19, 2006
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i was put onto a position on the hoods where you basically wrap your fingers around the front of the levers with your thumbs over the top - similar to the hand position on the drops, but that too stopped working after a while...
will check the tightness of the gloves and see how that goes.
 

kettlewon2001

New Member
Jul 24, 2005
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Archibald said:
okay, here comes the monkey in the wrench on this one...
riding for nearly an hour and was losing feeling in both hands.
for the next half an hour, no matter where i put my hands or gripped the bars/hoods/drops, they stayed numb and progressively got worse.
the only way to get any feeling back was to drop a hand to my side for a bit and give it a shake before lightly returning it to the bars.
they then began to lose feeling again.
i use a fingerless glove from cannondale with the gel pads, if that's any help for suggestions...
ideas??
I had similar symptons - Carpial Tunnel is a SOB - It can hit very hard, for a long period of time. I've known people who get sensations of electric shocks flowing through their fingers. If you have ruled this out, then try this: First off, your need to be comfortable that your bike does in fact fit you, and your are not putting undo stress on your hands. After that, as you ride, attempt to keep your arms loose; flexed at the elbow - an immediate tension reliever. Keep in mind, pain in your hands can be the result of stress in your neck. Try to "force" your shoulders "down" as you ride. This tends to help loosen up the tension in your neck. Flexed elbows act as a shock aborber for your upper torso, minimizing a lot of neck and shoulder sorness from severe to minor. Pushing your shoulders down, while keeping your elbows flexed really offers great overall relief. Admittedly, it is difficult to continuously do both, but if your can remember to uses these tools perodically during your ride, you will feel the difference and it may help your hands. I've suffered as you do, and have noticed the difference when I use these tools. Good Luck
 

Archibald

New Member
Jun 19, 2006
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ta for the words of wisdom!

40min ride this morning with no troubles - left the gloves loose, tried to keep as much weight off the bars as possible, whilst also switching positions periodically.
will test again tomorrow morning on a longer ride as the previous problem was at it's worst from around the hour mark onwards...
 

Tourney

New Member
Oct 19, 2006
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To gel or not to gel?

If you think that you need maximum protection, try gloves with a gel gasket which support the greatest hand protection. A gel gasket insulates well and stops friction between a hand and a handlebar when you need to grab the handlebar firmly (for example, when doing trial exercises). Some bikers don’t like gel because they feel something “squelching”. But it’s better to try it by yourself than to believe somebody’s opinion. It's really a personal preference. Except gel ones there are gaskets made of neoprene (isoprene and other similar materials). A lot of people prefer this type because of its price and elasticity. Gloves made of neoprene are particularly great in wet weather climates. Just like a wet suit, these gloves will stay warm when saturated with water. If you have good handbars or your hands are not very sensitive gloves with foam gasket will suit you perfectly.

An arm is an amazing construction which consists of two major arteries, twenty-seven bones and a lot of muscles and tendons, and also nerves that go through the ulnar joint and diverge into fingers. Ulnars and medius nerves are the most important because they operate all hands movements. Incorrect grasp of the handlebars and abruptness on the handholds exert specific pressure upon your hands, pressing nerval endings which are inside. This causes numbness and other kinds of discomfort. In general you plant your hands against the metal handbar. If you move along a rough road and leave your unproteced hands on the one place, letting them feel the vibration, they do a big job. As a result it can lead to some harm or discomfort. A lot of cyclists follow this way when economizing on bicycle gloves and a lot of them suffer from numbness of fingers, hands and even forearms.

Taken from www.good-mountain-bike-gloves.com
 

timpand

New Member
Dec 9, 2004
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Less can sometimes be more. Considering that you didn't have problems before you started using gloves, it is possible that your problems could be caused by too much padding.



I've always preferred gloves with as little padding as possible. I'm just looking for gloves to cut down on some of the friction, provide a better grip, and provide a little protection in case of a fall. I personally find that gloves with a lot of padding are awkward and uncomfortable. It's possible that the gloves are putting too much pressure on your hands.
 

NickDavid

New Member
Aug 9, 2006
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try fingerless gloves? sometimes wearing normal gloves, makes my fingers go numb as well.
 

SkipIntro

New Member
Aug 8, 2006
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Just to reiterate the what's already been said ^up there. I had real problems with numbness because on long rides I would forget about position and slink back into the straight-arms-on-hoods postion with my upper body just hanging from my shoulder blades. By conciously always bending the arms slightly you are forced to distribute weight more evenly.
 

Archibald

New Member
Jun 19, 2006
221
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haven't managed to get out on the road for the hour or more for a while now - mostly been the 20kms before work, but have still noticed a few 'tingles' in the hands.
i already wear fingerless gloves, and have loosened them a bit.
i have noticed that i slide forward a touch on the seat and that i do hold a reasonable amount of weight on the hands.
i must admit that the gloves i have are fairly padded, (well, the two gel pads on the palm are fairly thick) so might try some with less padding..
am hoping to get the chance to spend over an hour on the road this weekend to see how it all goes.
 

Archibald

New Member
Jun 19, 2006
221
1
0
okay, 2hr20min ride yesterday, different gloves with less lumpy padding, kept relatively loose, and altered hand position regularly...
not quite 15mins before numbness occurred. struggled with it the whole time.
currently, feeling in the left little finger and the extension of it along to the wrist is still tingly and numb, with some feeling returning.
having had the bike fitted to me properly, i'm wondering whether they got it wrong - feels like i don't have enough weight on the saddle n pedals, or more aptly that i've got too much weight on my hands/wrists.
so could rotating the handlebars slightly upwards help, or perhaps tilting the seat back a touch?
i'm a little reluctant to adjust something set by "someone in the know" compared to a relative beginner to road bikes like myself.
thoughts, questions, queries, comments...