|The Bike Doc
Joined: 08 May 2003
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas
|Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 6:05 am GMT +0000 Post subject:
Your symptoms sound more consistent will ulnar nerve compression instead of carpal tunnel syndrome which is due to entrapment of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. The median nerve goes to the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring finger on the side next to the middle finger. The ulnar nerve goes to the ring finger on the side of the little finger and to the little finger. The ulnar nerve runs on the palm side over the bones in the heal of the hand on the little finger side. Symptoms of ulnar nerve compression are pain, burning, tingling and/or numbness to the ring and little finger. They are often brought on by activities which compress the nerve such as riding a bike or using a jack hammer.
Treatment for a cyclist include simple things such as switching to thicker padded hand bar grips or tape, switching to padded cycling gloves (Specialized Body Geometry Gloves has padding to specifically reduce ulnar nerve compression) adjusting the front suspension to a slightly softer setting to reduce high frequency low impact bumps and vibration, adjusting the handle bars to a slightly higher and more rearward position to reduce the amount of weight placed on the heal of the hand. Getting handle bars with a more rearward sweap can change the angle of the hands to a more anatomically correct postition. Most standard flat bars have only 3 - 5 degrees of back sweep. You may benefit from a set that gives you 7-11 degrees of back sweep. Most riser bars have more back sweep than standard flat bars (7-15 degree range) and you may want to consider this. If you are looking to keep your weight on your bike down you will actually get a stronger and lighter set up by using a shorter taller stem with a flat bar with more back sweep. Using a set of bar ends can help as well, as it gives you alternative hand positions you can utilize to aleviate pressure to the heal of the hand.
I hope these tricks help aleviate your symptoms.
Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc