Cycling Related Wrist and Hand Pain
Some bike fit considerations for those experiencing wrist or hand pain caused by riding your bike.
Wrist and hand pain or numbness is a common issue experienced by cyclists. Follow this guide to help reduce your discomfort.
Wrist and hand pain/numbness is a common ailment on the bike. There can be a number of causes which can make diagnosing this issue very frustrating. Luckily with MyVeloFit you can continue to refine your position as often as you’d like.
As always, start by ensuring your position on the bike is neutral to begin with by checking it with the MyVeloFit software. If your position isn’t neutral to begin with, start by getting a neutral position. If your position was drastically off to begin with that could be what was leading to the pain.
Hand numbness is typically caused by excessive ulnar or radial flexion in the wrist, too much wrist extension, or too much pressure on the hands specifically in the wrong place on your hand.
Ulnar flexion (or Ulnar Deviation) is when the wrist bends down towards your pinky finger (you’ll see a crease in the skin of the wrist below the pinky finger) and is often associated with numbness of the middle, ring and pinky fingers.
Radial flexion (or Radial Deviation) is when your wrist bends up towards your thumb (you’ll see a crease in the skin of the wrist below the thumb) and is often associate with numbness of the thumb, index and middle fingers.
Wrist extension is when your entire hand bends back out of line from your forearm and is associated with whole hand numbness.
While hand and wrist pain while cycling can be uncomfortable, it is important to be aware it can also be dangerous if it reduces your ability to slow or control the bike.
For any of these issues it is important to make sure your hands and wrists are in a neutral position with minimal ulnar or radial deviation and minimal wrist extension. The ulnar and radial deviation can be corrected by changing the angle of your hoods on a road bike, the direction of the bar sweep and bar width on a mountain bike or hybrid, and the type of extension on a TT or Triathlon bike. It is important to note that your overall body position does effect this so if you lower your handlebars giving yourself a more aggressive back angle, you will likely need to adjust your hood angle or bar sweep to account for this.
It is also important to make sure you are holding your bike correctly. On a road bike that means the webbing of your thumb near the upswing of the hoods. If you are choking back away from the hoods then adjust the reach and drop of the bike so you are comfortable in the correct position.
One trick if you are trying to shorten your reach by holding the “elbow” of the handlebar is to shorten the reach by the distance from the “elbow” to where your hand should be on the hood.
Now assuming the bike is in the correct position for you, it is also important to consider your posture on the bike and how it can affect your overall comfort and efficiency. Please take a moment to review our cycling posture page which will help guide you towards the proper posture on your bike, as well as your specific strength and flexibility recommendations which are generated when you do our mobility screen
Athletes from around the world use MyVeloFit to improve their cycling position. Whether you are a veteran or new to the sport MyVeloFit can help you improve your position.
About the Author
Jesse Jarjour has been fitting bicycles to people for over a decade. He holds certifications from Retul, Trek Precision Fit, and has a level 2 certification from the International Bike Fitting Institute.
Jesse has fit over 3000 individuals of all sorts of athletic backgrounds. He is just as happy fitting National Champions as he is first time riders.
Jesse embraces technology in bike fitting. His Studio in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is one of the most technologically advanced fit studios in Canada. He uses the MyVeloFit technology alongside technology from industry leaders such as Gebiomized, Retul, and Dartfish. He uses MyVeloFit to to take a baseline of his clients and give them visual reports of how the measurements work while they are in the studio and as a "pre fit" tool to ensure the clients are in a relatively sound position before coming in.
If you have a question you'd like asked in the Fit Academy, please email us here.