biking causing weakness in hand? (Read 1538 times)


    I am a runner trying to xtrain my way through a femoral neck stress fracture.   I have been biking for a month or so increasing my mileage with a 170 mile weekly total.   I have found on my longer rides (30 or 40 miles) my left hand goes numb.  If I change my position the tingling and numbness does go away.   Now I'm finding a pretty serious lack of strength in this hand that is really, really annoying.  I even have troubles typing.  Anyone else have this problem?  Is it coming from my position on my bike with my hands or in my neck?  I'm assuming it is from biking given it just started when I started biking and this is the only hand that goes numb when I'm biking.


    Any thoughts?


      What kind of bike is it?  I had this problem on my hybrid because there is really only one way to hold the bars.  A road bike has many different hand holds so you can move around and not over use the same pressure points.  Also, bike gloves have padding in the palm for this reason.  Try getting a pair with gel padding in the palms, it should help.

      Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose; it's how drunk you get. -- Homer Simpson

        That's a pretty common injury in cycling and is similar to carpal tunnel (it could also be carpal tunnel, which is the median nerve), though it's usually from improper wrist position combined with pressure on the hands which irritates the ulnar nerve.  It's commonly called "handlebar palsy".


        Try changing your position on the bike so you're putting less pressure on your hands.  Generally this is done by either raising your stem or with a taller stem.  Good padded gloves will also help a lot... really nice ones even have gel in them.

        Some good info:



        Most good bike shops can get you professionally fit to your bike.  It will probably cost $50-100, but it's worth it if you're planning to keep riding seriously. 


        Best of luck!

         - Chris



          Thank you for all of the great information!  Ironically I have an appointment with my sports Dr. July 8th to discuss my stress fracture and the possibility of returning to running this week.  (at least that is MY plan)  I will bring up this issue also.  Anyone else HATE the word  "overuse"?  Seriously, can't run because of a stress fracture, so I'm biking to try and stay in shape.  Now handlebar palsy, so guess I'd better learn to swim.  I'm running out of sports and about ready to slit my writs!  (not really, but heading in that direction....)  I have not been biking very long, I'm guessing if I get some gloves and get fitted for my bike (Trek 1000) hopefully I'll be fine.   You would never guess I am only 45 years old!!!


          Thanks again for sharing!

          The voice of mile 18

            +1 on the bike fit and padded gloves. it's pretty common the hand numbness but it can be fixed

             Tri Rule #1 of Triathlon Training/Racing - If Momma ain't happy nobody is happy 

              I forget the name of the main nerve located in the center of the base of the wrist, but if you do not frequently change positions of your hands while riding (also good gloves) you can cause damage to this nerve, maybe irreparable.

              I forget, but maybe not as serious as I mentioned.


              —our ability to perform up to our physiological potential in a race is determined by whether or not we truly psychologically believe that what we are attempting is realistic. Anton Krupicka


                I used to get that injury all the time. I call it "death grip".


                When I got a new bike that was very well fit to me, and the numbness has never returned.  I have a little hybrid I use to get around as a volunteer in races and at the beach, and sho nuf, the numbness comes back. 


                Padded gloves are a must.  Have someone check and see if your arms straight on the handlebars, or slightly bent.  They should be bent, so as not to put too much weight on your hands and arms.  In other words, get a bike fit.  You might see if an aero bar is feasible.  Aero bars give you another position and lets your hands rest. 


                Oh, and all these things make such a difference in your enjoyment of the bike.  You'll think you're a kid again!





                  Thank you all for the great suggestions.  I did buy gloves, they do really help. I'm also going to have my bike fitted. 
                    I have a good fit on my bike and long rides(4+)still make my left hand numb.  I know about it, and expect it to happen now; it always goes away pretty quickly.  I think mine may be due to shoulder surgery, though.

                    How did yours turn out?

                      If you ride a recumbent your hands never hurt and your neck never hurts.


                        If you ride a recumbent your hands never hurt and your neck never hurts.



                        The downside is that you are so low to the road trucks run over you.

                        Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.


                          Pedal with your feet.   Just kidding.

                          Changing hand positions wil help.