Numb fingers and painful hands while cycling

Rohan Kini Tips & Tricks

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Shot by GNUYoga, Veloscope

Palms/Hands pain on longer rides ? A common problem that should be solved immediately. It could lead to loss of strength and grasping power and advanced stages leave us with completely numb palms that sometimes persist for days.

Scary!

This problem could be an issue with bike setup or riding technique.

Bike setup

Bike setup is simple. It’s all about making you absolutely comfortable on your bike.

Starts with a correct frame size and maybe other adjustments to ensure a correct fit. Confidence in the bike fit capabilities of your local bike shop is an important criteria while picking up your dream bike, not the bike-color or the freebies that are thrown in to sweeten the deal.

  • Wrong frame size – can put excess load on your palms or make you stretch and hence pull on the handle bars.
  • Saddle – a sloping saddle will automatically load your palms as you prevent slipping on the saddle. Maintain a flat saddle top or tilt it slightly upwards to take some pressure off your palms.
  • Brake levers – incorrectly positioned brake levers can cause unnatural angles which can stress your palms as you constantly finger the brake levers.
  • Bar ends – can ease pressure off your palms with more riding conditions. Again these need to be installed correctly and not the cow-horns kinda of install that you typically see.

Technique

Even with a perfectly setup bike, incorrect technique can cause issues. These are especially important on long road rides where we spend a lot of time cranking away.

  • Hand positions – We recommend changing your hand position every few minutes to get the circulation going.
  • Gloves – good cycling gloves have correct padding to ensure the ulnar nerve is not compressed. The padding can also ease off vibrations and make your ride more comfortable. Also ensures your palms are not scraped raw if you have a nasty fall.
  • Listen to your body – you need to take a quick break and stretch to get the circulation going. Learn to listen to your body!
  • Braking – learn to feather your brakes. You don’t need to pull at them like they are your only hope to live. Especially on the road, you don’t need to have your fingers stretched on the brakes all the time. Learn to relax on the ride.

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