Advice on niggling hand pain
I have a Pinnacle lithum hybrid which I commute on and use at weekends or long rides so it gets used a lot (it’s my only bike) . It has a flat bar and for the last couple of years I have been fine on it. Put my back out about 3 or 4 months ago and just got back onto it now and am finding a real issue with pain in the joint between my thumb and index finger on my left hand only which I haven’t had before (right hand absolutely fine).
Done some searching and many suggestions too much weight on hands so as a test lowered saddle way down (quite a bit below bars) and still same pain. Moved saddle forward as it was all the way back and still no change. Tried some new grips as old ones quite worn, new gloves etc. and still cannot get rid of it.
The fact it is only in one hand makes me think it may not actually be the setup but not sure what else it could be. I am in late 50s so it could possibly be start of arthritis I guess although everywhere else seems fine (touch wood).
I am currently considering trying a drop bar gravel bike but thought I’d post here first for any suggestions etc. as it’s going to be an expensive test if a drop bar just makes it worse which it may well do.
Any help appreciatedPosted 5 months ago
I have a niggly hand pain problem in my left hand I think nerve damage from a 5-day Arctic winter ultra – I had numbness for quite a while afterwards and now when I ride get a tingling after an hour or so. I mostly ride a Specialized Diverge with Futureshock these days. I find that riding on the hoods of a drop bar to be most supportive as you’re resting the heel of the hand on the flat section of the bars. I only use the drops for hard efforts, fast downhills and battling headwinds. On my flatbar bikes I use loop bars, Ergon grips and padded gloves/mitts which helps too.Posted 5 months ago
You’ve deconditioned during your time off the bike. Hand exercises for you mine friend! Anything that improves your grip strength will be a good place to startPosted 5 months ago
Thanks for that.
I was thinking the hoods position may help as your hand is at a completely different angle than on flat bars but I may try some of the ergon grips you mention as I have read good things about them.
Also wondering about bars with more sweep which may put less stress on my thumb joint.Posted 5 months ago
That is my hope ie. I am just out of condition and a bit of perseverance will sort it 🙂 but some new grips and maybe gloves wouldn’t hurt either I guess.Posted 5 months ago
Start point should be to contact GP to either rule out or confirm medical issue.Posted 5 months ago
If ruled out, then hand exercises/gel padded gloves/ergon grips or similar/ in or outboard bar ends/change cockpit set-up.
If medical issue, confirm if treatable or not.
Have you tried ditching the gloves completely? I used gel gloves on commutes for ages ‘just because.’ Then forgot them one day and realised the padding was countering the effect of my grips, effectively making my hand smaller. I’m more comfortable without gloves now.Posted 5 months ago
Ergon do quite a few grips with some models being fairly extreme-looking.
I ended up putting their GA3 grips on 3 bikes when I was getting wrist pain.
The GA3 are a bit more subtle in shape but still very different in the support they offer over conventional grips.
I get on well with them. They were a bit odd at first, particularly for riding downhill tracks and jumps etc, but I’m used to them now and I think they help for longer periods in the saddle.
On longer, flatter rides you can move your hands about more to vary those pressure points.
In my case, I actually think most of my pain was coming from excessive Canadian canoeing, but I’ll never know. It’s less of an issue just at the moment.Posted 5 months ago
If you’ve had back issues you are probably compensating or you have ended up with a slight imbalance after compensating.
I’d go to a ciropracter (because cracks are so satisfying) then i’d go to a physio to get it fixed…Posted 5 months ago
I’ve become very sensitive to saddle position, too far forward, or nose tilted down, dumps weight on my hands. This can be as simple as just riding a saddle which is too scooped thus creating a ramp at the back.
Or mobile phone use? I get pain at the base of my right thumb, occurred yesterday that it might all be to do with typing long-winded forum posts on my smartphone! 😁Posted 5 months ago
Agree with the de-conditioned comment, I was off the bike for a few months recently and after my first ride I developed what I thought was carpal tunnel syndrome – no changes whatsoever to the bike I’ve been riding for 14 years. It cleared after a couple of weeks and has been OK since then.
However since you don’t say what kind of pain exactly or for how long you’ve been getting it, and you’ve had other issues that you might be compensating for, if it’s been more than a couple of weeks I’d probably think about some medical advice.Posted 5 months ago
Thanks to all for your comments.
Commuting in this morning it was really noticeable again, discomfort right at the base of the thumb where it contacts the bar but it was cold and I am thinking it may be the start of arthritis as soon as I got into warmth feels a lot better.
Going to try some new grips and get some gloves with minimal padding based on one of the comments which I had read before as well and see how it goes. Hoping the warmer weather will make a difference.
If not then may try different bars (more backsweep) and or drop bars to see if it makes any difference.
Also agree that it could just be I need to ease myself back into it and could just be pains after long time off bike.Posted 5 months ago
Can you not ride with your thumb hooked over the front of the grip? Might feel odd at first, but I reckon you’ll soon get used to it. Off road I’d be wary, but you’re not doing anything hardcore on that bike.
Simple solutions are sometimes the best.Posted 5 months ago
People tend not to be symmetrical.Posted 5 months ago
So maybe lever position / angle can be moved to improve comfort.
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