Hand numbness help???

rc10andy Posts: 24
edited July 2011 in Health, fitness & training
Im 26, i was cycling right up until 18 and then i was out of it till i was 25 and now i get numbness/pins and needles in my hands.

I used to have a Univega cheapo bike now i have a Giant Trance 2 grander! My hands feel numb after about 3 miles of trail centre riding. I use gel padded gloves aswell.

My frame size is small because im small chap at 5'7".

Do i need a shorter stem???

I have no idea what i need to do but it puts me off riding my trails so hard.

Thanls for any help



  • dweben
    dweben Posts: 34
    Hi Andy,

    The pins and needles sound like the start of ulnar nerve compression maybe. Usually down to putting too much weight onto the palms/thumb area of the hand or having gloves where the gel inserts push into this area (the opposite to what the gel is meant to do!) and compress the ulnar nerve.

    Do you get any pins and needles in the elbow or shoulder too?

    I had this to during touring to the extent that after 2 weeks of riding I couldn't use 2 fingers and my thumb on my right hand. Took about 4 months (of non-use and physio) to get about 95% of my dexterity back again, so it's good to sort it out sooner rather than later!

    Shorter stem would make you more upright and take pressure off the wrists, but it might be the bike is too big, too much saddle layback, etc. Can be alot of things! Think mine was down to the join between the bar ends and grips. Not sure if riding style has an impact, holding the bars too tight, etc -- any experts about???

    (not an expert, just my experience)

  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    Leaning on your hands too much? Gripping too hard? .
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  • Rushmore
    Rushmore Posts: 674
    try softer grips.. or those ergonomic jobbies..
    Always remember.... Wherever you go, there you are.

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  • bartimaeus
    bartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    I occasionally have this problem... I use Ergon grips which have a flat area to rest your hand and stubby bar ends which give you the chance to vary your grip, and which are good for climbing (not so good for steeper technical downhill though - more an XC grip). I find these hold off the pins-and-needles, and with the bar ends for variety it's no longer a problem - and I'm often out for 3-4 hours.
    Vitus Sentier VR+ (2018) GT Grade AL 105 (2016)
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  • Kaise
    Kaise Posts: 2,498
    I started to get this when i changed to my stumpy, a mate suggested rotating the bars so they lean back slightly. (i have riser bars)

    and this help a treat, i was placing too much pressure on my hands in the position they were in

    Worth a try
  • mobilekat
    mobilekat Posts: 245
    To be honest there are a lot of things than could be the issue!

    Gripping too tight is common, (and the most common issue!) and easy to fix!- when descending you really dont want to have a killer grip on the grips, as all the bumps will rattle up through your arms!- almost just have your hands wrapped around the bars - (but not too loose!)- bit like holding a glass of wine- firm enough not to drop, but not so tight you break the stem!

    Then it could also be the reach of the bike- do you feel like you are having to stretch to reach the handle bars?
    Or do you feel cramped? as to be honest it can be either!
    Are your bars too wide- do you feel your shoulders are being pushed out and back as you ride.
    Even the position of the seat can be involved!

    I think most people on here have had to tweak their bikes to get them right- take your multitool out with you and make minor changes- BUT, only change 1 thing at a time!

    If that doesnt help, go back to the shop and ask for help- if they are any good they should be able to advise you!
    Wheeze..... Gasp..... Ruddy hills.......
  • 5pudgun
    5pudgun Posts: 402
    You aint got your gloves too tight have you? Could be something that simple.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Had this when I first got my GT, along with some hand ache.

    Switched to those Ergo things and that sorted it out. Then found the ergo stuff was making it difficult to shift grip position when needed for some things and was also a bit dangerous on steep DH stuff (was finding the flat bit would make my hand slide forward when hitting bumps DH).

    Switched back to regular grips. No problems this time.
  • timpop
    timpop Posts: 394
    I have used the Ergon GX1 and really got on well with them. They're the original and best brand. I didn't have any problems sliding around on them, in fact I found the performance of the bike spot on with these grips and increasing in some instances. I've a new bike now and will be going back to the GX1 asap. They're so much more comfortable and I believe they're better. I can't wait, where's my bank card?
    Many happy trails!
  • Tank-slapper
    Tank-slapper Posts: 968
    Ergon grips are very good for XC riding. They take some getting used to and are quite expensive, but worth it.

    You can also try some 'flat' palm gloves like 661 Raji's. These are very comfortable and let you feel and grip the handlebars much better than gel gloves. Gel just gets in the way and creates pressure points.

    The cheapest thing to try is to fiddle with your bike setup. Try rotating the handlebars forward or back and do the same with the brake and gear levers. Move the saddle forwards and backwards on it's rails or maybe even up and down if you can.
  • springtide9
    springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    I have the pins and needles in both hands terrible today after an event at the w'end

    According to the (doctor) wife, it's probably related to bruising of the nerves in your hands. Interestingly (which I didn't know!), you have two sets, split between your four fingers (which is why you generally have it in either the inner or outer pairs of fingers)

    I have had the same setup (bike, gloves etc) for ages... but have been doing a lot less MTBing as of late... (more road)... so now wondering whether the muscles around you hands get stronger and protect these areas the more you ride.

    Personally I think my seat needs to go back a bit, as I can feel myself sitting to far back on the back of the saddle, which I would assume would mean it would be worse.

    One thing that I did do was ride with more air in the tyres as it was nice and dry, but on hindsight they had too much air. I also at the 3/4 stage switched the rear end to being 'fully open' rather than 'Pro Pedal' which improved things no end.

    I guess it depends on how rough the terrain is; your bike setup; your gear (gloves etc) and how used to the impact you are. In my last event... I used a 'Gripmaster' to get a bit more strength in my hands... which I wish I'd done this time around.

    Not sure if this helps or not... as reading it again - sounds like a bit of a moan from me lol
  • I had this and have posted before a few times after i had numb hands and "clicking" in the fingers which was more a pain since it made doing pull ups impossible at times.

    The solution is very simple, put hands in warm water before you ride and this will increase blood flow and stop a lot of the problems and i promise it works very well.

    also work on your strength in the wrists as this can cause issues too with grip, so press ups ect or hand exercises./grip
    London2Brighton Challange 100k!
  • dweben
    dweben Posts: 34
    Cor, a lot of replies from my opening post! It's a year on from my problem and I'm still down to about 90% efficiency in the thumb and couple fingers. Not so bad but I occasionally drop things.

    I actually had ergo grips when the problem developed. I put the real reason down to using bar ends too much. I was doing a lot of climbing out of the saddle on the bar ends, and through experimentation I noticed that while the pads help when on the cross part of the bar, it doesn't help at all on the bar ends and I was just rubbing the ulnar nerve directly onto the bar. Doh. Next time I'll put some roadie handlebar tape on the bar ends I think.

    Oh and if you put the saddle back I think you'll just put more weight on the hands. Generally the more upright you are the less pressure there is on the wrist.
  • RTW
    RTW Posts: 23
    Ergo grips or Ergon grips?!
  • captainfly
    captainfly Posts: 1,001
    I had so much hand pain when I firdt got my STP (another giant) the stock grips were too skinny, some ODI rogues later an no hand pain in over a year (single speeded over winter with stupid milage).
    Mongoose Teocali
    Giant STP0

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  • thewaiter
    thewaiter Posts: 110
    I also get pins and needles, had a number of test done and was diagnosed 'carpal tunnel' surgery is recommended to relieve the pressure :cry: