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Tendonitis in wrists

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:23 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Tendonitis in wrists Reply with quote

Dear B-Doc:

By the end of the Spring TMBRA season, my wrists were hurting quite a bit--sore much of the time and *#&$^% sore while riding XC. About five weeks ago, my orthopedist--a racer and a fine fellow--diagnosed the problem as tendonitis. Per his advice, I've been wearing braces and popping anti-inflammatories and have done three weeks of stretching and have now moved on to some light strengthening exercises. But after four weeks of riding on the road only, the pain continues, pretty much unabated.

I'll see the orthopedist again but would be extremely grateful for any thoughts that you had on the matter. If I'm heading for a lay-off, I'll have to time it carefully, i.e., to balance Good Sense w/Fall DORBA and Spring TMBRA schedules.


Also, a friend reports good results from glucosamine/chondritin. Thoughts on this?

Thanks very much for providing this service. I hope you're settling into the program at Ohio State comfortably, or at least successfully, as my understanding of the matter is that medical school and "comfort" don't often co-exist.

All best,
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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1371
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:49 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote


The human body is a biped not quadraped design. The arms, wrists and hands were not designed to bear weight for prolonged periods of time. You may be suffering from the design limitations of you anatomy, in other words, too much weight on your hands and wrist.

Corrective measures for your mountain bike would include:

1. Raise the handlebars with a taller shorter stem and/or riser bars.
2. Set your front suspension up softer so that high frequency low impact bumps are isolated out. Too stiff a setting on the front suspension can aggravate your symptoms from the transmitted vibrations.
3. Limit the duration of your ride to what your wirst can tolerate.

Corrective measures for your road bike:

1. Get rid of it. Period.
2. Switch to a recumbent. There are many FAST road recumbents. The reclined seat completely unloads your wrist and arms. A model with underseat steering would be ideal as this completely eliminates any pressure on your wrists. Let me recommend a serious look at Reynolds Weld Lab T-bone for a fast, light road recumbent with underseat steering. For a fast recumbent trike look at the Catrike Speed. Check out for reviews of these and many other recumbent bikes and links to the manufacturers web sites.

Why am I so fixated on the recumbent fix? It is the best road bike fix for your maladies. (Off road MTBs will always rule; recumbents just donít cut it for serious off road riding.) Read my article at . I was looking to get carpal tunnel surgery due to worsening carpal tunnel symptoms. I did all the tricks on my road bike (I was a full time bicycle commuter at the time) including raising the handle bars, using a suspension stem, switching hand positions frequently, using padded handlebar tape but the carpal tunnel symptoms were progressing. Before I went under the surgeonís knife, I switched to a recumbent with underseat steering. Low and behold, my carpal tunnel symptoms went away and I have been able to do many a looooong distant ride on my recumbent since, including a trans Texas tour, fully loaded with 60 lbs of gear, doing 60-90 miles a day for 12 days in a row, doing some 100+ mile centuries all without wrist pain or hand and finger numbness. The surgeon had to get someone else to pay his kid's college tuition.

So, you have a doctors order to get a new bike (unfortunately, the insurance company is unlikely to assist with the purchase).

In regards to the glucosamine and chondroitin, there are some preliminary studies showing medical benefits for osteoarthritis. There are no studies showing benefits for tendonitis. If you are thinking about taking them, you should not take these medications if you are on blood thinners or have to take medications to control your blood sugar. The recommended dosage for glucosamine is 500mg three times a day. For chondroitin the dosage is 200-400 mg two to three times a day. Give your self a 6-8 week trial if you tolerate these suppliments before you decide whether or not there was any benefit as it is not instantaneous but a gradual improvement over several weeks.

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:29 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Thank You! Reply with quote

Thank you warmly for this prompt, comprehensive, and extremely useful reply. Your "column" is a true wonder, and it's magnificent of you to keep it going during what I assume is a particularly busy period for you. Salut!
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