painful thumbs/thumb arch with new road bike

mattward1979
mattward1979 Posts: 692
edited October 2009 in Road beginners
Hey all,

Been experiencing a lot of pain in my thumb joint and the fleshy part of the hand where my thumb meets the rest of my hand..

The only thing I can think is that my weight is disproportionately balanced and im putting a lot of pressure on my hands, rather than being seated with my hands guiding my direction...

I eased this a bit by raising my saddle and adopting a WAY more agressive posture, but its not always practical, as Id end up in a wheelchair staying in this position for more than 15-20 mins at a time...

what could cause this?

I dont actually feel much contact between my arse and my seat so i think it MIGHT be that my saddle needs a change of angle...

Would love to hear from anyone that experienced a similar discomfort with a brand new road bike.
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Comments

  • soveda
    soveda Posts: 306
    Are you riding mainly on the hoods?
    If so try moving your hand position, it sounds like you may be pushing your hand into the horn of the hood too hard.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    Are you seated too far forward. This will put more weight on the hands.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    what is the vertical drop from saddle to bars?

    with the pedals at 3 and 9 o'clock is your forward knee over the pedal spindle?
  • suzeb
    suzeb Posts: 1
    You are indeed putting too much weight on your hands and your thumb joint is spreading open too forcefully. Raising your seat is going to put more weight on your hands as the mass of your body raises further above your hands. You can easily check on the fore/aft weight distribution by placing a scales under each of your wheels while you are seated in your normal riding postion and checking the proportion of weight on each wheel. If in fact you have too much weight on your hands, you need to make some adjustments. You first have to check your knee to pedal relationship-big toe joint over the pedal spindle directly under front of knee-check with plumb bob. When that is adjusted then think about stem/bars adjustment and as you mentioned, your saddle angle. If bars go up and back, more weight will shift to your seat. If you flatten out your seat-check with level-or even tilt it back a tiny bit, the same will happen, more weight on your seat. You want to feel neutral-if your saddle is angled too far either way you will be either doing a constant pushup on your bars, or having to pull yourself forward. Neither is good. So-you have lots of options to check...one of these should work for you.
  • johnmiosh
    johnmiosh Posts: 211
    What shifters are you using. I found that the thumb lever on Sora was causing me to hold the hoods further down. The centre part of my wrist was contacting the bar and transmitting the vibration, I forced myself to use the hoods with my thumb between the cable and the lever and the pain disappeared.

    Permanent solution was to upgrade the shifter.
  • Using sora and every now and then i change my thumb position as you described to ease the ache..

    Trying to adjust the angle of the seat, but not sure how to go about it....

    There are 2 bolts holding the seat on, and loosening either doesnt seem to affect anything that allows me to realign the seat.
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  • Barrie_G
    Barrie_G Posts: 479
    There are different types of saddle mountings with two bolts, you may need to loosen one bolt and tighten the other or you may need to loosen both bolts and then adjust the saddle position and re-tighten,or they may need you to do something else in order to make adjustments it's difficult to say what is required without being able to see the mounting.
  • Matt, has the pain only appeared when riding your new bike (as opposed to old one), or are you new to cycling altogether? My hands hurt in the exactly the same place for the first few weeks of riding, and then miraculously disappeared, so I put it down to the fact that my hands had suddenly gotten used to it.

    Since starting out I've raised my saddle AND my brake hoods are a wee bit further forward, so I must be resting more weight on my hands than before but the pain hasn't returned. What I HAVE done tho, is swivel the drops down slightly and move the hoods further away, and this has changed the angle that hoods point up at (now they're pointing more forward, they were a bit more upright before), so maybe this has helped.

    Are you able to post pics of your hoods, or you holding the hoods, and of your saddle mounting?
  • Ive been using a MTB for the last year and never had any pain whatsoever... Only appeared with my road bike.

    Ill see if I can get some pics of my setup... Seeing as the straps on the toeclips were installed incorrectly, Im open to the suggestion that the build of the bike wasnt 100%
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  • No lower back and neck is fine.. even when I adopt a very low posture to attempt to alleviate the hand pain, no pain anywhere else.
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  • Wulz
    Wulz Posts: 100
    I had the same feeling for a couple of weeks when i first went from MTB to road. I was a bit scared with the brakes being in a totally different place to the MTB and i was stangling the hoods something rotten. As my confidence increased i have relaxed and hey presto its now very comfy.

    Willie
  • My first post here as I suffered from exactly the same problem.

    I got a Giant Defy Advanced in early September to replace my Scott hybrid and after my first hour thought I'd crippled my thumbs the pain was so bad! I'm sure the main reason was from gripping the hoods way too tightly and also forgetting to move my hands around the rest of the bar. But I gradually got used to it, started to relax my arms and fingers and now the bike is near perfect - no pain anywhere - even after a few hours in the saddle.
  • When I first started with the Roadie I figured it was exactly this issue.[. the noob death grip on the hoods. but I find that I barely grip the hoods now, its just my natural posture loads a heavy weight onto the thumb arch, or Id fall forwards..

    Still cant work out angling the seat and my digital cam has gone for a burton so cant get any pics up =/

    If it helps im on a spesh 2010 Allez double. Comes with a Rival seat and a standard spesh seat post.
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  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Changing seat angle will make bugger all difference to the amount of weight on your hands vs the saddle. What matters is the difference in height between saddle and bars, and the fore / aft saddle position. Can you take your hands off the bars without falling forwards?

    As I asked earlier, what is the vertical drop from saddle to bars?

    with the pedals at 3 and 9 o'clock is your forward knee over the pedal spindle?
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    keef66 wrote:
    Changing seat angle will make bugger all difference to the amount of weight on your hands vs the saddle.
    It will. If the saddle is tilted forwards you will be pushing on the bars to stop yourself sliding off the front of it.
    Your other comments are right keef66.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Fair enough; that would make things worse. I always try to have my saddles dead horizontal; even resorting to using a spirit level.

    I'm still trying to find out if he's got a massive drop from saddle to bars or is sitting much too far forward. Or has he gone straight from MTB to a triathlon setup?
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    John.T wrote:
    Are you seated too far forward. This will put more weight on the hands.

    Surely it's the opposite, no? It puts more weight on the backside, less on the hands and shoulders...
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    It moves your centre of gravity forward thus there is more tendency to fall forward. When standing bend forward at the hips. Your backside sticks out behind you. Try the same with your back to a wall and you will fall forward. It works much the same on a bike.
  • Ill get some pics sorted tomorrow and hopefully get this sorted =)

    I have my free 6 week tune up soon, so any major changes can be done by them
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  • dov2711
    dov2711 Posts: 131
    Might be too obvious but are you wearing gloves? if so do they have appropriate padding ?

    I have been riding the same bike all be it with a change of chainset and suffered from a very similar condition for a while. I now wear a pair of gel mitts under my light windproof gloves and the problem is resolved.

    Bought a pair of castelli diluvio gloves for the harsher weather and the problem returned.
  • I wore gloves religiously on my MTB, but found that they made my hands sore in the same place im having pain now, so it was double the torment...

    Ill get some new gloves with padding and see if it helps
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  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    John.T wrote:
    It moves your centre of gravity forward thus there is more tendency to fall forward. When standing bend forward at the hips. Your backside sticks out behind you. Try the same with your back to a wall and you will fall forward. It works much the same on a bike.

    Na, you've lost me. Surely you're describing what happems when you're sitting too far back, ie when you're on a bike with too long a top-tube...
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    John T's right. It's about saddle position relative to the pedals. Think of a unicycle; if the saddle is too far forwards you'll fall in that direction. (not a perfect analogy I know, but that's kind of what happens)

    This is exactly what is done with TT and tri bikes; steeper seat tube angle, brings the saddle further forwards wrt the BB, and a greater drop from saddle to bars allows a much more aero position. Comfortable it isn't.
  • johncp
    johncp Posts: 302
    Have a look at this for a slightly alternative view of bikefitting in general and a good explanation of the effect of saddle position on weight distribution http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    If you haven't got a headwind you're not trying hard enough
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    keef66 wrote:
    John T's right. It's about saddle position relative to the pedals. Think of a unicycle; if the saddle is too far forwards you'll fall in that direction. (not a perfect analogy I know, but that's kind of what happens)

    This is exactly what is done with TT and tri bikes; steeper seat tube angle, brings the saddle further forwards wrt the BB, and a greater drop from saddle to bars allows a much more aero position. Comfortable it isn't.

    Gotcha now!
  • paulorg
    paulorg Posts: 168
    You're probably just getting used to the new position that your hands are in, I went from a flat barred racer to a drop this year and had exactly the same problem as you, I invested in a few pairs of new gloves so that the padding wasn't compressed as much and carried on as normal. The longer I've gone the less painful its been, now I only get pain when doing serious downhills where I'm on the hoods all the time and my weight is shifted forward.
    If you buy it, they will come...








    ...up to you and say, you didn't want to buy one of them!!!
  • I had exactly this problem when I got a 'proper' road bike and eventually decided that the problem was that I was uncomfortable on the bike and was perching rather than sitting fully on the saddle and to do this was putting more weight on my hands. I tried various saddle set-ups and pads but eventually decided to try a flatter, slightly narrower saddle and got a Fizik Arione. This has been a great success and not only have the thumbs stopped playing up but also my lower back and arse are much happier.