Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Numb hand after 18+ miles - no other pain

RingpeaceRingpeace Posts: 105
edited February 2014 in Road beginners
Hi,

I am sure this has been covered loads already but just looking for some advice about why I am getting ONE numb hand - my left.

I have no other pains on the bike. When i first started I had back pain and foot pain. These have been completely eliminated but after around 15 + miles I generally start getting numb fingers and hands but only the left hand side.

I have a short stem at 100mm and that did help - but after 15+ miles no doubt it returns. Anyone got any ideas about what I am doing wrong.

Have spoken to others I know who do heavy mileage and they say they suffer from numb / pins and needles too.

Any advice?

Cheers

Posts

  • perhaps you need to adjust your left shifter body slightly. none of us are symmetrical, maybe your left arm is shorter and is taking more weight, perhaps the wrist angle is off a tad.

    my left shifter is a slightly different position to my right to compensate for my left clavicle separation.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Assuming it is not a setup issue you need to vary your hand position and placement on the bars during the rides. I ride mainly on the hoods but use the bar and drops now and then to stop numb hands on longer distances.
  • perhaps you need to adjust your left shifter body slightly. none of us are symmetrical, maybe your left arm is shorter and is taking more weight, perhaps the wrist angle is off a tad.

    my left shifter is a slightly different position to my right to compensate for my left clavicle separation.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Am right handed and had a mispent youth so probably am quite lopsided. Definitely not ambidextrous if my left hand ball throwing is an indication.

    I guess when you are on the bike though the right hand is getting a lot more of a work out than the left which occasionally shifts up or down - unlike the right which is working a lot more.

    Will give it a try. I can see it looks obvious now but sometimes we need these things pointed out - Cheers
  • Kajjal wrote:
    Assuming it is not a setup issue you need to vary your hand position and placement on the bars during the rides. I ride mainly on the hoods but use the bar and drops now and then to stop numb hands on longer distances.

    I think it is a set up issue but am to poor to go to a proper bike fit. Escpecially when I have eliminated some quite big problems, back and foot pain, just by small adjustments.

    I always vary things. I'd say 90% of time in hoods but hand position changing over the top of the bars regularly. I know that I am lopsided - one longer leg and therefore arm etc.

    It's just very annoying after eliminating other really bad pains and then having to "shake it out"!

    Cheers
  • I had exactly the same but in my right hand. Turned out I was reaching just a touch too far when on the shifter hoods. Raised the bars a smidge and all was fine after that.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Ringpeace wrote:
    Kajjal wrote:
    Assuming it is not a setup issue you need to vary your hand position and placement on the bars during the rides. I ride mainly on the hoods but use the bar and drops now and then to stop numb hands on longer distances.

    I think it is a set up issue but am to poor to go to a proper bike fit. Escpecially when I have eliminated some quite big problems, back and foot pain, just by small adjustments.

    I always vary things. I'd say 90% of time in hoods but hand position changing over the top of the bars regularly. I know that I am lopsided - one longer leg and therefore arm etc.

    It's just very annoying after eliminating other really bad pains and then having to "shake it out"!

    Cheers

    Road bikes are a pain to set up but once you learn how to the riding improves no end :)
  • I get exactly the same after the same distance lol.
    I noticed at the time I got the numbness I was pushing quite hard onto the bars. I also noticed that my tricep and forearm muscles got quite pumped and sore as if I had just pumped some iron!
    I learnt just move my position around on the bars to take the weight of my hands until they recover and it helps.
    I was wondering if maybe the muscle pump and bar pressure was compressing the veins in my arms thus reducing the blood to the hand causing the numbness? I also get it for similar reasons in my toes.

    Could be just poor circulation too. My extremities can get cold quick quick if the weathers poor.

    Br
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Maybe try an extra wrap of bar tape on the left ? Gel gloves ? Are you resting weight on the outer edge rather than between thumb and fingers ?

    Or raise the bars/ hoods slightly ?

    Lower front tyre pressure slightly ?
  • ElfedElfed Posts: 459
    I find that a big factor in myself getting numb hands whilst riding is saddle tilt.
    If I set the saddle parallel to the floor I find that too much weight is put on my hands, tilt is slightly up and it's enough to move the centre of balance further back, lessening the weight on my hands. It works for me, maybe not for other people.

    The easiest way to get a saddle parallel to the floor isn't with a spirit level or digital level, all unnecessary with a huge tolerance for inaccuracy.
    Place a length of wood/straight edge or even a 48" spirit level(on it's face, not machined edge) on the saddle and measure the distance to the floor on each end, when it's the same you've a saddle that's parallel to the floor. Then you can experiment with tilt by adding/subtracting 10mm on the ends, and if it doesn't work you've an easy way of reverting to the original.
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,235
    I would also say that "core strength" comes into this - ideally you should be able to hold your torso in the tuck without your hands on the bars. Not easy! But it takes the weight off your hands.
  • ElfedElfed Posts: 459
    rafletcher wrote:
    I would also say that "core strength" comes into this - ideally you should be able to hold your torso in the tuck without your hands on the bars. Not easy! But it takes the weight off your hands.
    Absolutely, couldn't agree more, took me a long time till I could do this.
    Once I was strong enough to do this it meant I wasn't riding with locked arms which took pressure off my hands.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Numbness is usually caused by sustained pressure on the base of your hand when you're on the hoods. If you change position a lot this helps avoid the problem and is no harm for your back and neck either. Try getting in the habit of switching hand positions fairly regularly. You'll probably still spend 90%+ of your time on the hoods but it's easy to move your hands briefly to the top of the hoods, the corner of the bars, the tops or the drops every few minutes, even if it's just for a few moments. Gloves with differently positioned or different thickness padding may help too.

    The problem will be worse the more pressure you typically support on your hands. If you're in a low stretched out position you're likely to suffer more than someone in a more upright position. Good core strength will help you support most of your weight through your core not your arms. Skinny cyclists probably have it easier but if you've got a big upper body like me then that's likely to increase pressure on your hands too.

    There are lots of possible reasons why this is effecting one hand only. It could be asymmetrical bike setup or arm lengths but I suspect it's much more likely that the combination of being right handed, having rear shifting on the right STI lever and possibly using your right brake more your right hand moves about more. Your left hand meanwhile stays put and gets no relief.

    Moving about more on the bike is probably all that's necessary really. Most people will suffer somewhat with numb hands if they stay in one spot all the time regardless how good their setup.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    DSORBY2 wrote:
    .....Try a shorter stem, moving seat forward slightly (NOT ADJUSTING ANGLE)
    make sure your saddle is flat and the nose isnt pointed down....
    Changing the stem length is the right way to correct the reach but you shouldn't be moving the saddle forward. This also changes your position relative to the pedals - If this was correct, leave it alone.
  • ElfedElfed Posts: 459
    DSORBY2 wrote:
    I used to have this problem until i got a proper bike fit.

    They identified that my stem was too long which in turn made me apply more pressure to the palm of my hands when leaning anywhere on the bars.

    Try a shorter stem, moving seat forward slightly (NOT ADJUSTING ANGLE)
    make sure your saddle is flat and the nose isnt pointed down.


    Hope this helps

    If you've got to move the saddle forward as well as shorten the stem then that would suggest a frame that was too big? You shouldn't move the saddle forward to compensate for lack of reach.

    As for saddle tilt, miniscule differences can make a difference with changing your centre of balance as well as comfort. I ride nose up slightly, some find nose down helps and some ride with a level saddle.
    Starting off with a level saddle is purely a reference point and if you find it works leave it, but if not you can tweak it whilst on your ride.
  • Elfed wrote:
    I find that a big factor in myself getting numb hands whilst riding is saddle tilt.
    If I set the saddle parallel to the floor I find that too much weight is put on my hands, tilt is slightly up and it's enough to move the centre of balance further back, lessening the weight on my hands. It works for me, maybe not for other people.
    rafletcher wrote:
    I would also say that "core strength" comes into this - ideally you should be able to hold your torso in the tuck without your hands on the bars. Not easy! But it takes the weight off your hands.

    After having a proper bike fit a few months back to alleviate several niggling issues (this one included) Adrian Timmis of Cadence Sport identified both of these issues as a major cause of my numb hands.

    Just a few degrees tilt on the saddle to "parallel" took the pressure off my hands with the recommendation to consciously try and ride with a slight "relaxed" bend to the elbows (requiring regular core strength training) eventually sorted the problem for me along with a slight tilt "up" of my hoods.
    Bald is Beautiful
  • mattsccmmattsccm Posts: 401
    I agree with the above but would add another thought.
    Gloves. I find that most gloves make my hands go numb unless they are stupidly loose. Decent quality track mitts are the worst as they put padding just where the nerve is for me.
    Worth a try?
Sign In or Register to comment.