“How can I stop getting numb hands when cycling?” numb hands when cycling
This is a really common complaint among riders and something that I have personally suffered with from time to time. The good news is, it’s not usually a sign of anything serious and the numbness or tingling should cease as soon as you stop riding or move your hands. In fact, if you have symptoms that linger after you’ve finished riding then consult your Physio or GP. But this type of pain in the hands can really take the fun out of cycling and might even put you off riding entirely. numb hands when cycling
Like most issues with our bodies, there can be multiple factors that lead to the feeling of numbness, tingling or pain in the hands when cycling. It could be due to your seat position, handlebar height, size of your bike, size of bars, positioning of your hoods and even more. No need to feel overwhelmed though, all of these factors are assessed and reviewed as part of the professional Physio Bikefit service I offer here at Bodysmart. numb hands when cycling
But in the meantime, if you’re looking for a simple solution you can try at home, here are two tips that might just do the trick for you:
- Alter your hand positioning. Try to position your forearms, wrist and hand as if you were shaking hands with someone (you might remember this from pre-Covid days when we used to shake hands). This forms what is known as a ‘neutral’ wrist position. I’ve included some photos below to help show the difference between a neutral wrist position and a deviated position (Fig. 1a – 1d).
Why is this so important? As you can see in the diagram below (Fig. 1e), the central part of your wrist at the base of your hand packs a lot of nerves and blood vessels into a small channel which is quite close to the surface.
A neutral wrist position (handshake) helps to reduce the contact pressure on this area and should therefore help prevent numbness or tingling in the hand. You may find that you also need to make adjustments to your bike such as hood position, bar width etc in order to be able to achieve optimal hand positioning.
- Change hand position regularly. Just as sitting at your work desk without moving for long periods of time can cause aches and pains, the same is true if you keep your arms and hands fixed in one position on the bike for too long. So even if you manage to find an optimum position on the hoods it’s a good idea to regularly change your hand position (Fig. 2a – 2c). Take advantage of opportunities such as taking a drink, stopping at an intersection, a change of terrain or a long, straight sprint section to relocate your hands momentarily. If you’re really watching your Watts you might be concerned about losing your aerodynamic shape. But let’s face it, it’s much less ‘aero’ if you have to start sitting up and shaking your hands out because you didn’t alter your positioning every now and then.
Try these suggestions and hopefully this does the trick for you. If not, get in touch with me here at Bodysmart for a Physio Bikefit as there are plenty of other solutions we can explore.