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Thumb support

JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
edited October 2014 in Road beginners
Hi

Im a newbie here and to road biking, having just bought myself a new road bike to try and keep up with the boys :lol: All things considered I'm finding it a comfortable ride, the only thing that troubles me is my left thumb, which is the main braking hand. The pain is in the joint where thumb meets hand and I suspect it is because a few years ago it popped out of it's socket....only very briefly and went straight back in, but it causes pain when it's put under pressure, like when cycling. I do keep moving my hands to ease pressure and I wear padded gloves, but I'm wondering whether a support/brace may help or whether it will just be a hindrance. I'm just wondering if anyone has a similar problem and has gone down the route of wearing a support. Most of the information that I found online specifically for cyclists relates to knee and ankle problems rather than hands.
Thanks
Jane

Posts

  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Might be worth going to your GP and seeing if an MRI is needed. You might also chat to your GP about the concept of just masking the pain, perhaps with paracetamol, etc.
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    Adjust the side-to-side 'tilt' of the brake hoods so your hand fits easily on them.
    Also adjust the forward-backward position of the hoods can help.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,845
    I agree with what Bobbinogs says, but also it could be down to putting to much pressure on it due to bad positioning of your body on the bike. I used to suffer with numb fingers on one hand only that had nerve damage done to several years ago, since having a bike fit and getting the best possible position for me I very rarely get any problems now. Try moving positions of saddle to put less forward pressure on your hands, also if you don't already do bend your arms so they take some of the shock and stress off the hands. It might be worth looking at strengthening excercises if that joint is weak, again a doctor or physio will hopefully advise on that for you.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • It could be there's too much height drop from the saddle to the handle bars. Which is causing you to lean forward and down, placing more weight on your wrists.
    If this was identified on a bike fit, they may add spacers under the stem to raise it. Or change the stem for one with a different angle and length. For example, a 17 degree stem with 90mm reach will raise the height of the handlebars but not increase the reach compared to a 0 degree 80mm stem. There's a cool website that when you type in stem angles and lengths, it works out all the math and shows you a side profile of where the headtube and bars would be.

    One possibility is you haven't fully recovered from your thumb injury. I still have problems with my knee 5 months later, probably due to weakened support muscles. But (unlike the nice swimmer next to me in the pool today as I was flexing my leg) I'm no Doctor.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    JayKosta wrote:
    Adjust the side-to-side 'tilt' of the brake hoods so your hand fits easily on them.
    Also adjust the forward-backward position of the hoods can help.
    side-to-side is "cant"
    Also
    Bar tilt

    Reprofile rubber grip by stuffing sections of rolled up inner-tube inside.

    Check your whole position.
  • Thanks everyone for your replies. [email protected], you are right in that the injury is still there..... It niggles when I'm not biking, but obviously the position of hands when biking makes it more uncomfortable. What doesn't help either is that I have small hands and am struggling to get any leverage on the brake lever! Which just compounds the discomfort. Having said that, the pain is not unbearable. When I got the bike, they were very good at making sure the bike fitted well, so I'm confident that it's okay. Having had a chat with the lbs at the weekend im thinking about having some additional bike levers put across the top of the handle bars and that at least will help with the braking. I shall persevere for now and see if I get used to it - this is all new so it may well be that I need to get past a hurdle... But if it gets worse then I guess I shall have to go and see the doctors :shock:

    Thanks again :)
  • jaxfjaxf Posts: 109
    my LBS put extra shims in to reduce the distance for my little hands when braking. Helped, but not as much as getting a new bike custom built!
  • Have something similar in my right thumb, same place, right in the joint, though unlike you i have never broken it. Mine reacts like a painful trapped nerve and completely kills the thumb.

    Believe it or not, you might want to look at your gloves as well as bar position. I found that with thick bartape (i use Specialzed phat tape, very plush) and a well padded glove it can force the knuckle joint on the thumb out more and (for me) cause the nerve to get trapped. Although your underlying condition was different youre sort if having the same after effects.
    Mine went when i changed the gloves to a thinner padding, not so much pressure then on the entire grip. So maybe have a look at your gloves as well and check the padding positions on them and wether its interfering with your thumbs movement.
  • Just to be the one that says it, unless you have your brakes reverse wired (and there are people that do this), your left hand should not be doing the majority of your braking.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Just to be the one that says it, unless you have your brakes reverse wired (and there are people that do this), your left hand should not be doing the majority of your braking.

    My wife is the same though. Much as I tell her to RH brake I still get to change the rear brake pads twice as often as the front set :roll:
  • Just to be the one that says it, unless you have your brakes reverse wired (and there are people that do this), your left hand should not be doing the majority of your braking.

    Lol, yes since my original posting I have been corrected by my OH who told me I should not just use the rear brake. I guess I have a fear of going over the handlebars :shock:

    May look at shims, but I suspect that they won't help much as from the drops I can reach fine, but from the hoods my fingers can't get far enough down the levers to get much leverage. Having looked into this online it seems to be a common problem for small handed people.
  • Jafaremraf wrote:
    Just to be the one that says it, unless you have your brakes reverse wired (and there are people that do this), your left hand should not be doing the majority of your braking.

    Lol, yes since my original posting I have been corrected by my OH who told me I should not just use the rear brake. I guess I have a fear of going over the handlebars :shock:

    May look at shims, but I suspect that they won't help much as from the drops I can reach fine, but from the hoods my fingers can't get far enough down the levers to get much leverage. Having looked into this online it seems to be a common problem for small handed people.

    Don't worry, many think this. As long as you brace yourself properly (use the drops if you like), it won't happen.

    I would recommend that you stop using the rear brake entirely whilst you teach yourself to use the front brake, however; it is the primary stopping mechanism, whilst the rear brake is mainly there to control the rear wheel. You should be able to stop the bike hard with just the front brake, leaving you to balance it with the rear should you wish to.
  • Jafaremraf wrote:

    Lol, yes since my original posting I have been corrected by my OH who told me I should not just use the rear brake. I guess I have a fear of going over the handlebars :shock:

    Find a nice quiet road and practise braking with the front brake and a little on the rear. Once you are used to it you will wonder why you ever used just the back brake to stop. Road bikes only have a small contact area on the road, so I would be very surprised if the front tyre could grip enough for you to flip the bike over. If you need to brake suddenly, push your weight back over the rear wheel, which will top any lifting of the rear wheel.
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