ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Wrist Problems From Cycling | Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Updated on April 17, 2013
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer, he ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Don't let cycling wrist pain ruin your riding experience
Don't let cycling wrist pain ruin your riding experience | Source

A Guide To Cycling Related Wrist Pain

If you're riding your bike regularly there's a chance that you might experience wrist numbness or pain during or after a ride at some point in your cycling life. You might have experienced tingling, or a pain in your arms, hands, wrists, or maybe even your little finger?

Poor posture and bad bike fit can have a deep impact on your cycling enjoyment. This article looks at some of the wrist problems experienced by cyclists as well as suggestions to reduce future pain for trouble free riding.

Keep reading for less pain, numbness and a more comfortable experience whether you're due to right the Paris- Roubaix Cyclosportive over the cobbles or simply want a trouble free commute to work.

Compression Syndromes And Overuse Conditions From Cycling

There are two distinct forms of wrist problems which can lead to pain while cycling. i) compression syndromes and ii) overuse conditions.

The most popular compression problem from cycling is ulnar nerve lesions and the most popular overuse problem from cycling is de Quervain's tenosynovitis which is a condition affecting the tendons of the thumb.

Ulnar nerve compression has been a problem since cycling began so sufferers are definitely not alone. It is also known as cyclist's palsy.

Ulnar Nerve Compression And Cycling

Compression of the ulnar nerve, (Or ulnar nerve entrapment) is a commonly reported problem within cyclists and can often be broken down into two areas.

  1. Compression secondary to lesions such as the ganglia
  2. Compression secondary to trauma such as hand lacerations, fractures of the carpal bone or direct trauma such as the impact of a fall.

Ulnar Nerve Compression In Action

Ulnar nerve compression from cycling is more prominent whilst riding on the drops
Ulnar nerve compression from cycling is more prominent whilst riding on the drops | Source

Ulnar Compression- Guyon's Canal Syndrome

Guyon's canal syndrome (or Guyon's tunnel syndrome) is a common form of nerve compression for cyclists affecting the ulnar nerve as it passes through Guyon's canal. It is particularly popular from riding on the dropped section of a road bike handlebars as well as in office workers who place pressure from repetitive compression against a work desk.

Guyon's canal syndrome symptoms involve pins and needles and potential decreased sensation in a cyclist's little finger and ring fingers.

Cycling Can Cause Wrist Pain- Even For The Pro's

Have you ever experienced wrist pain or numbness from cycling? Pictured Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen
Have you ever experienced wrist pain or numbness from cycling? Pictured Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen | Source

The Cyclist's Palsy- Causes And Treatment

Inflammation of the ulnar nerve from cycling is known as cyclist's handlebar palsy.

Causes Of Handlebar Palsy

There are a number of factors which can be responsible for causing handlebar palsy

  • Excess pressure on ulnar nerve due to poor bike fit. An excessively raised saddle can force pronation at the wrists or a downward tilting saddle can force the hands to work excessively pushing the rider back onto the saddle.
  • Road vibrations constantly put stress through the ulnar nerve and can lead to irritation and subsequent inflammation.
  • Stress form poor road surfaces. Regular riding on rough surfaces can put shock forces consistently through the wrists and lead to ulnar neuropathy.
  • Failure to protect the wrist by wearing cycling gloves or mitts. A set of gloves with ulnar protectors help to provide protection from the long term effects of the above factors.

Cycling Gloves With Built-In Ulnar Nerve Protectors

Giro Bravo Cycling Glove
Giro Bravo Cycling Glove

Giro's Bravo cycling glove is anatomically designed with a specific ulnar protector to relieve pressure on the nerves whilst riding in summer.

 

Where De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Affects

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis affects the area between thumb and forearm (as starred)
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis affects the area between thumb and forearm (as starred) | Source

Overuse Problems- de Quervain's Tenosynovitis And Cycling

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis commonly causes wrist pain in cyclists between the thumb and forearm area on the medial side of the wrist. It affects two tendons within the wrist. The abductor pollicis longus (APL) and the extensor pollicis brevis (EPB). These tendons are connected to muscles on the back of the forearm and pass through a tunnel (The Thenar Snuffbox/ Retinaculum) which helps to hold the tendons in place.

The tendons pass through synovial sheaths which provide a degree of lubrication for the tendons to function easily. This sheath is often know as the tenosynovium and therefore it's subsequent inflammation is known astenosynovitis.

de Quervain's Tenosynovitis results from repeated performance of actions within the hand can lead to inflammation of the tenosynovitis. Other risk factors include arthritis and scar tissue from previous injuries which can restrict the flow of the tendons through the tenosynovium tunnel.

Have your wrists suffered through cycling?

Have You Ever Suffered From Wrist Problems Through Cycling?

See results

Have Your Say On Cycling Wrist Pain

We're always looking for feedback on our content.

Please use the comments box below to let us know your thoughts.

Thank you for reading

Liam Hallam (CyclingFitness)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • EsJam profile image

      Essie 

      3 years ago from Southern California

      Very interesting! I was not aware of gloves that had built in ulnar nerve protectors! Thank you for a well composed hub on cycling wrist problems!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)