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  #1  
Old 08-21-2016, 10:54 AM
oliver oliver is offline
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Numb hands/fingers

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to deal with numb hands. When I do a lot of riding (200+ km/day for a week), I tend to get numb hands and fingers. I lose some sense of feeling and my grip strength is also reduced. This normally goes away after not riding for a few days/weeks depending on severity. It's never been a problem with day rides or when I cycle normally a few times a week.

Is this normal or I do something about it by changing my position or equipment? I was using the Rivendell summer gloves until I wore through them, Ritchey classic bend bars, cotton tape with a bit of shellac.

Thanks for any suggestions and advice.
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:09 AM
stephenmarklay stephenmarklay is offline
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Hey Oliver. Boom you got that first post out of the way

For sure fit. I find little details can make big differences. You are applying to much pressure on the bars most likely.

Two things that help me are saddle set back (how far your knees are with regard to the pedal spindle) and saddle tilt. This last one was causing me hand pain last month and a tilt up of just a couple degrees made it go away completely.

Welcome and good luck.
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2016, 02:21 PM
oliver oliver is offline
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Thanks Steven. I'll try adjusting my saddle but it seems to be in a position where it doesn't give me any saddle sores. Anyways, I don't think I'll riding enough to trigger the hand problems anytime soon but I'll let you know when I get around to it.
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:27 PM
staggerwing staggerwing is offline
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Quick question, have you ditched the gloves entirely? For me, half gloves are a sure fire path to numb fingers. Been much happier without, although have to be more selective with bar tape.
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:30 PM
jtakeda jtakeda is offline
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What fingers specifically?
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:47 PM
numbskull numbskull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staggerwing View Post
Quick question, have you ditched the gloves entirely? For me, half gloves are a sure fire path to numb fingers. Been much happier without, although have to be more selective with bar tape.
I have noticed the same in spite of proper fit, albeit with vintage style gloves (leather palm/cotton back).
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2016, 04:43 PM
oliver oliver is offline
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Pretty much all fingers.

I mostly wore gloves because I thought they looked cool so I'll try riding without them for a while.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:17 PM
kingpin75s kingpin75s is offline
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Do you run a significant saddle to bar drop? I have found a number of people I help refit have simply needed less drop as they were putting too much weight on their hands. Significant saddle to bar drop yielded sometimes combined with a tipped down saddle fit and pressure going forward to the bars over time.

Else a +1 on saddle tilt for small adjustments mentioned that I can relate to. I really like a slight upturn as well.
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2016, 11:23 PM
11.4 11.4 is offline
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When it's all your fingers, it's typically not a back or shoulder origin you have to worry about because then you get a more localized pattern -- the ring and small finger, or the thumb and forefinger. Also, those tend to recover much more slowly.

I'd guess that you have a hand position which causes local numbing going through the wrist. It can be a nerve entrapment issue or a simple matter of numbing your hands by vibration while in an untenable position on the bars. Some people find that gloves cause problems, but typically that has resolved when better fitting gloves were used. In your case, gloves could help, partly so you don't have to grip the bars as tightly. It only takes a small tweak in how you hold your bars (how hard you grip, wrist angle, how you angle your grip to the bars, and so on) to cause (or eliminate) the kinds of problems you're seeing. And you may simply need more hand movement. What speeds are you riding? Slower speeds can cause you to have to rest your hands more on the bars, whereas at higher speeds you are gripping and pulling more, and stresses on the hands can be quite different. Be sure your hands aren't causing the problem before you go changing out bike components or kit.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:09 AM
oliver oliver is offline
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I have maybe 7 cm of saddle to bar drop? I've dropped of my bike with a mechanic but the attachment shows what it looked like while touring.

I'd say (well Strava says) my average speed for my rides were around 25-27 kph. I tried actively not to grip the bars too hard, although I noticed I did do so at times and would be in the drops for hours. A lot of the time I rode with just my palms on the tops or with my first knuckles on the hoods.

Thanks for the advice so far. I'll play around with saddle tilt when I get back to riding.
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Last edited by oliver; 08-24-2016 at 12:16 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-24-2016, 12:13 AM
jtakeda jtakeda is offline
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My guess is saddle tilt.

I'll talk to my sister and play around with the expensive anatomy app at my girlfriends house.

I believe numbness is either due to too much weight on the hand or slight pinching or discomfort of the c5 and c7 vertebrae. Your hands are connected to those nerves.

My girlfriend was just studying nerves so I overheard and my sister is an osteopathic doctor and can give suggestions.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2016, 04:19 PM
11.4 11.4 is offline
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If you pinch the c5 and c7, the nerves run to different parts of the hand so you get the differential patterns I mentioned in my post above.

Changing saddle tilt is a way to create other problems and just end up in an endless chain of complications. I'd work a little bit on core (torso) strength, a little bit on your shoulders (do some military presses, bench presses, etc.) to strengthen the shoulders and arms, and just make sure you aren't bending your wrists a lot, which can compress blood vessels as well as nerves and cause generalized numbness.

I just hate to see people changing the bike to address fit issues that should be addressed by changing acquired bad habits in how one sits on the bike.
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2016, 07:44 AM
Climb01742 Climb01742 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oliver View Post
although I noticed I did do so at times and would be in the drops for hours.
This could be a clue. The ulnar and median nerves cross the palm of the hand. Pressure on these nerves for an extended length of time can cause problems. A few years ago, in the gym, I was doing far too many push-ups with my hands on dumbbells (to go deeper and make them harder) and I really aggravated those nerves. Hands pressed into the drops for hours mimics that pressure. Maybe try to very consciously move your hands to various positions on your bar/hoods. May help distribute the pressure.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2016, 06:55 PM
ripvanrando ripvanrando is online now
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Not too many ride 130-150 miles per day for a week like you.

Make sure your bars are not too wide. If your bars are too wide, the tendency is to rotate the wrists inwards creating stress on both ulnar and median nerves.

Looks to me like the brake hoods are too low on the bars. I can't tell from the photo but too low can also stress these nerves and makes for awkward hand placement.

The handlebar tilt could be a bit more downwards. I like my bars to point towards my rear brakes or a bit lower.

The saddle tilt looks about right for a B17....maybe try a tiny touch more nose up.

Last edited by ripvanrando; 08-30-2016 at 06:58 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2016, 07:08 AM
oliver oliver is offline
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It's something I only have time to do when touring.

I'll play around a bit more with the handlebar tilt and brake hood position. The tilt position is fairly comfortable for me but raising the brake hoods feels a bit more comfortable.

Thanks!
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