Tag Archives: Pain While Cycling

Do you have wrist pain or finger numbness while cycling?

Dealing with pain areas while cycling can be tough. This article is specific about dealing with pain in your wrist while cycling. Wrist pain while cycling is very common and most of the cyclists that I meet have gone through this at some point in time. Some like me also encounter handlebar palsy, which relates to your fingers going numb. The first time when my fingers got numb while cycling was actually funny. Never experienced it before. This was on my 300 KM brevet ride.

Let us get to the bottom of it.

This started happening to me when I got into brevet races. The 200 KM brevet was fine and was less tiring for my hands. However, in further races numbness crept in. Especially in my middle finger, ring finger, and pinky.

Now, this was new to me so I relaxed for a few minutes took a break, and then started again. Just because of this numbness that I was going through I took more breaks than usual in my brevet.

I knew about the saddle soreness and back pain while cycling, as I wrote about them and I knew how to counteract them. However, for this numbness, I had no clue how to make it go away.

So before we get to the ways to prevent this let us understand what exactly is this?

Handlebar palsy

Handlebar palsy causes a lot of discomfort when on long rides. PC: Trilok Provelo

For people who might be wondering what is the meaning of palsy, here is the definition.

Definition of “Palsy” as in Merriam Webster

This article has a lot of inputs from a lot of doctors as well from the cycling community, so here is what they have to say about handlebar palsy.

Fingers numb while cycling is a result of compression of Ulnar nerve, hence it is also called as Ulnar palsy.

This is caused due to compression or hyperextension of the Ulnar nerve which enervates  your fingers. This tends to cause a state of numbness in your fingers.

Ulnar nerve in your hand which causes this palsy

Hand pain while cycling is very common especially with cyclists riding long distances on the flat handlebar or on the drops.

If you have this quite often our team of doctors who are also cyclists would advise you to take immediate medical help.

This can cause problems in hand movement in the future if not taken care of and it does take a lot of time to get resolved.

However, we would be discussing few measures that you can take to counteract this while on your ride.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Let us look at the diagram that I shared earlier. If you notice there are two nerves that are mentioned. The one we talked about was the Ulnar nerve. The second one in discussion here is the Median nerve.

Median nerve just on the left of Ulnar nerve

The syndrome mentioned above in the heading is caused by compression of Median nerve which in turn leads to hand pain while cycling.

This is characterized by numbness or tingling in the fingers and with me it especially happens in the ring and middle finger.

If you encounter this please seek medical help. This palsy will not only put you in an uncomfortable position but also will have an effect on your performance.

Wrist pain while cycling? Not to worry. Let us look at the preventive measures

1. A good bike fit

I would be honest with you all. This is the cause of everything that happens bad when you are on a bike when it comes to pain and aches.

I wrote an article about back pain when your are cycling long distances, check this article out. I have explained in detail about the bit fit which needs to be done.

One of the prime reasons for wrist pain while cycling is putting too much weight of your body on the handlebar.

Just imagine the amount of weight that your hand can actually hold vs the weight that you are putting on your wrist due to poor bike fit.

So no more low handlebar, bad stem height, high saddle post and no smaller or larger frames. Get a proper bike fit done and then ride.

2. Wrist pain while cycling due to poor quality of bar tape

This does have a great effect on getting the pressure off your hands. It might sound a minor trick and you might think that it might not have that great effect in increasing the pain in hands while cycling, but it’s the other way around.

I rode on my bike with a cheap bar tape that was company fitted. Then I got it changed to expensive but very comfortable bar tape.

Yes, it made a lot of difference, my rides were more comfortable and pain in hands while cycling was almost gone.

I have seen some professional cyclists putting gel and double bar taping on handlebars, it does again makes a difference as per them. This is what a professional rider Trilok had to say.

3. Padded gloves are a must

New riders might not invest in gloves, however, gloves does help in reducing pain in hands while cycling.

The functionality of gloves is to protect your hands in case you fall from your bike.

However, the padded gloves reduce the pressure which comes directly on your Ulnar nerve. This in turns reduces the pain in hands while cycling.

Especially if you find your fingers getting numb while cycling a good quality padded glove will help you. So I would advise you to invest in getting good quality gloves and none of that cheap quality stuff.

4 .Keep shifting your hand position

I always do this and it helps. Sometime I don’t even grab the handle bar when riding I just tuck my hands in my jersey and just pedal.

With practice I am sure a lot of cyclists might be riding without even need to grab the handle bar on an empty straight road.

When talking about road bikes, I usually change my hand positions to drops, or hood or top. Sometimes changing the hand position also depends on the kind of track/road you are riding.

So just keep changing your hand positions and you will be fine.

5. Relax your hands and body

I have seen some cyclists holding the handlebar and drop as if they are taking out their frustration. I know at inclines you might grip your handlebars a little too tight but a nice way of climbing incline would be resting your hands on the handle or bar top.

This reduces the extra pressure on your wrist.

Do not grip the handle hard rather keep the grip relax. Also, try to keep your upper body relax too.

Reducing wrist pain while cycling in a nutshell

Handlebar palsy or numbness can really be annoying when riding long distances. However, if you keep in mind the above mentioned 5 tricks you would enjoy your ride without hiccups.

If still your fingers are getting numb while cycling I would recommend to seek immediate medical help. If you have any questions related to this article please drop them in the comments below.

I will try to answer and attend your comment as soon as possible. Happy riding folks!

Avoid Lower Back Pain While Cycling

My first bike was a Huge HDT 10. Whenever I rode this bike, I used to get lower back pain. Furthermore, the pain started after 20 to 25 km of riding. Cycling back pain is common yet can be avoided with a proper bike fit and other factors involved.

In frame: Puneet check out his Instagram Profile

Now I ride a Merida big 7  & a Polygon road bike and with no back pain. Yes, I took a few basic and simple steps to curb this lower back pain of mine. The results are good and now I ride pain-free.

With that note in mind, let me tell you the effective steps I took to curb the back pain I had. This article has a lot of contributions from a lot of cyclists from the riding groups in my city which is Jaipur.

This is what they have to say!

“In my experience, many cyclists are riding bikes that are too big for them and many cyclists lack proper flexibility and/or their core strength is lacking. Take the time and have your bike fitted to your body. Back pain can also arise from anatomical causes like leg length discrepancy or misalignment of your spine”

Professional cyclists from the city of Jaipur

The Three Factors Leading To Lower Back Pain While Cycling

There are only 3 factors contributing to the pain, which I ignored the first time I rode my bike. Let’s take a look at these factors one by one.

Lower back pain due to improper bike fit

The most important factor contributing to back pain is the bike fit. A not a lot of bike shop owners do this, as they are more concerned about selling bikes than making you go through the proper bite fit. This is something that you should always do before purchasing a bike.

Let’s understand more as to why a proper bike fit is so important?

  • Improve overall rider comfort
  • Help prevent cycling-induced repetitive stress injuries
  • Reduce or eliminate back, knee, neck, and wrist pain
  • Reduce or eliminate “hot foot”
  • Bike fit reduce or eliminate saddle discomfort and genital numbness
  • Reduce or eliminate numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Reduce rider fatigue

A good fit can also improve riding performance because it allows the rider to use multiple muscle groups in the most effective and efficient manner.

Take help from a professional, do a proper bike fit and you have taken half of the factor which induces the back pain”

Core Muscle Stability can avoid lower back pain

Another factor and a big one after the bike fit. I am literally struggling at this and trying different exercises. However, if I take a look at my cycling journey, I have improved a lot and substantially reduced my lower back pain. However, as per my discussion with my professional cyclists, is important to have a daily routine of core exercises. Here is an exercise chart for your reference.

Simple plank exercises help in strengthening your core!

Another add-on!

We recently had International Yoga Day and stressing the benefits of Yoga, It does help us in strengthing our core.

Click on the image for an enlarged view. 

Many yoga poses can improve core strength and help you eliminate back pain when you cycle for long distances.

This image is just a guide for Yoga poses that can help you to get your core stronger.

Try these poses and I am sure you are going to feel you core getting stronger.

Riding Style of a cyclist

Lastly, it depends on the way you ride. A lot of people will try to educate you about correct riding styles, however, listen only to professionals. Over the years, I have met a lot of cyclists,  and everyone has a different riding style.

That’s Jamshed my cycling buddy

I would say there is no set riding style to follow. A 100% ride guide is not available. However, you need to find yourself a riding style that suits your body and does not land you up in any trouble.

Ride with professionals, join a good group in your town. In case you are in Jaipur please check out my article on cycling groups in Jaipur.

Summing Up

Furthermore, while talking with professional cyclists and doctors who are into cycling, they stressed some important factors. Factors that will help you in curbing this lower back pain. They suggested that the cyclist should have a good night’s sleep, have a proper diet. They also suggested that warm-up and cool-down exercises are a must.

A cyclist should also take breaks and rest in the middle of the ride to avoid any chance of overstressing the body.

“So, in the end, I would say that the three contributing factors to your lower back pain are no bike fit being done, poor riding style, and a weak core. If you take care of these three things, the chances of pain happening while cycling would be less considerably”

Professionals cyclists and medical professionals: Please feel free to add anything that I may have missed, in the comments below.

This article is based on the contribution of my personal experience and with the help of my cyclist friends. Please consult professional medical personnel if you are experiencing lower back pain. Please take help from a professional cyclist, while doing a bike fit and choosing the right riding style.

So this brings us to the end of the article, if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below. I would love to answer them for you. Happy cycling!