Bike Tips: Your hands

My fingers are numb during the ride!
Is that normal?


In the last column, we talked about numbness in the feet. Frequently, cyclists also experience the same problems with their hands and fingers, specifically in the fourth and fifth fingers. These sensations are  caused by prolonged pressure exerted by the hands on the handlebars creating compression on the tissues of the ulnar nerve.

  • Technical Tip: Vary the position of your hands on the handlebars every 15 minutes and hold your wrists in neutral when you are resting on the handlebars’ hoods (the forearm should be in line with the space between your thumb and forefinger).
  • Positioning Tip: Adjust your saddle to a position where your body weight is more towards the back than on the handlebars to reduce pressure on your wrists. If the saddle is too high or too far sloping forward, your weight distribution will increase on the handlebars and thus the hands.
  • Mechanical Advice: Make sure the width of your handlebars is equal to or slightly greater than the width of your shoulders, measuring from the middle of each hood. If your handlebars are too wide or too narrow, you will have more difficulty keeping your wrists in neutral.

Previous injuries to your wrist, elbow, shoulder or even your neck could limit movement of the nerves in your wrists and hands, and may be the cause your numbness. In this case, our proposed solutions in this column today will not bear fruit. This is an important clue that you will need to consult one of our physiotherapists.


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