Overuse Hand Injuries In Cycling

Sore Hands From Cycling

Some of the most common overuse injuries involve a cyclist’s hands and wrists. Cycling gloves can alleviate a lot of the shock-related pain associated with riding, but there are instances in which cycling gloves provide little or no protection. Below, we’ve compiled a list of common causes of bike-related hand pain, as well as some possible solutions.

Handlebar Palsy

Experienced as numbness or tingling in the ring and little fingers, handlebar palsy is a result of putting too much pressure on the ulnar nerve for an extended period of time. This can happen when a cyclist holds his hands down in the drops for too long, either compressing the nerve or over-extending it.

Handlebar palsy can last for weeks or even months, but it’s rarely a serious condition. To combat pain, try angling the seat away from the handlebars. Having your seat angled too far down can cause you to slide forward, forcing you to compensate by pushing back against the handlebars.

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel is experienced as an overall weakness of the hand and a tingling sensation along the thumb, pointer, middle, and ring fingers. The condition results from applying pressure on the median nerve, which can happen when a cyclist grips the top handlebars tightly for a long period of time. Developing carpal tunnel pain can be a sign that your handlebars are situated too low, forcing you to bear your weight up with your hands. To remedy the situation, try raising your handlebars.

Generalized Soreness

Unfocused pain and general cramping can be brought on by a bumpy ride. An excessively jarring ride could indicate that your tires are over-inflated and therefore not absorbing a sufficient amount of shock. To fix this, check your tire pressure, and be sure to adjust it downward if you know you’re going to be riding over particularly rough terrain.

Alternatively, sore hands could be a sign that you’re gripping the handlebars too tightly. This happens often with beginning riders who aren’t yet comfortable in the saddle. Nervousness goes away as you gain confidence, but in the meantime, make a conscious effort to loosen your grip. Try flexing your hands and shaking them out every so often in order to release tension.

Prevention Strategies

To prevent sore hands, it’s important to move the hands around during a ride. Keeping your hands in one position can cause them to cramp up. Make sure your bike has been fitted to you and that your tires are inflated properly. Always wear cycling gloves and invest in some handlebar tape. Lastly, never underestimate the power of stretching and rest stops.

With a few prevention strategies, you can minimize the amount of soreness you experience and ward off unwanted overuse injuries.