Cycling issues: Wrist pain from bike handlebars

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Individuals who love cycling might end up with wrist pain. This physical activity has been a preferred way to stay fit as well as have fun at the same time, but the fun can quickly diminish if wrist pain arises during or after riding.

Various cycling issues including poor posture and using an ill-fitting mountain bike can lead to wrist pain. It is also possible that some minor adjustments can make a ride free from pain. If the pain could not be remedied, it is best to consult a doctor for proper treatment since some medical conditions can trigger wrist pain during cycling.

Poor posture

If the individual has a poor posture specifically the upper body, he/she can suffer from wrist pain from the handlebars of the bike. Always make sure that the individual is not trying to support the body with the wrists and hands on the handlebars.

Wrist pain
If the individual has a poor posture specifically the upper body, he/she can suffer from wrist pain from the handlebars of the bike.

In case the individual places significant pressure on the wrists, he/she should roll the shoulders back and bend the elbows slightly to allow better absorption of shock. Additionally, it is also best to tilt the saddle a bit since if it is positioned too far forward, there is a tendency to slide forward and add too much weight on the wrists.

Incorrect fitting of the bike

Once the wrist pain persists despite the adjustments made on the posture, the individual might be using a mountain bike that is not fitted properly. The best way to find out is to measure the distance between the forward tip of the saddle and the middle of the handle bars. This distance must be equal to the distance between the end of the middle finger and the exterior corner of the elbow.

In case it is too long, the individual is probably overreaching and placing excess pressure on the wrists. If it is too short, the wrists are in an awkward position.

Cyclist’s palsy

Cyclist’s palsy or ulnar neuropathy involves the inflammation of the ulnar nerve that travels into the hand from the arm. The symptoms typically include a tingling sensation in the little finger along with wrist pain and numbness that oftentimes extends up to the hand.

Since the ulnar nerve runs through the wrist, the shock being absorbed by the wrists from the handlebars can irritate the nerves, resulting to the condition. A doctor should be consulted for testing so that a diagnosis can be given. Once diagnosed with the condition, the individual is recommended to take a break from cycling for up to a month so that the inflammation will subside.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury that can develop due to extensive cycling. If the individual already has the condition, cycling will make the symptoms worse.

In most cases, there is a combination of wrist pain, burning and numbness. The symptoms can be relieved by using splints while cycling, but other treatment options can be started by the doctor to prevent the condition from progressing.

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  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.