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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone found that conditions such as trigger thumb affect the way you set your bike up? I'm 50 years old and ever since I had a carpal tunnel surgery a year and a half ago I started getting trigger thumb in the same hand. I go in about every 5 to 6 months and get a cortisone shot to relieve it. Because my job and career has me working with my hands I'm afraid there isn't a whole lot of relief and I'm starting to think about pulling the drop bars off my wolverine and putting alternative bars on maybe even with ergon grips. I may be overreacting too but I know the doctor last time told me I might want to consider about switching careers and also that I might want to try a different bike or set my bike up different to take the pressure off my hands. My Fargo has Jones bars on it and I'm beginning to think maybe my Wolverine needs a more upright stance as well.
 

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At 51, I've gone through similar issues over the years with skiers thumb, chronic elbow tendonitis, back surgery, and neck issues.

For me, I tried lots of different setups and ended up with high sweep bars (15-25 degress) and an upright stance. Jones were more sweep than I liked and I never really transitioned well to Ergon grips. For a while, I had to use twist shifters due to my thumb being so bad, but that has gone away over the years.

But, it is all personal. Try stuff out and get it working. If you are like me, it may take a while to figure out what allows you to keep trucking with less pain and discomfort.
 

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Has anyone found that conditions such as trigger thumb affect the way you set your bike up? I'm 50 years old and ever since I had a carpal tunnel surgery a year and a half ago I started getting trigger thumb in the same hand. I go in about every 5 to 6 months and get a cortisone shot to relieve it. Because my job and career has me working with my hands I'm afraid there isn't a whole lot of relief and I'm starting to think about pulling the drop bars off my wolverine and putting alternative bars on maybe even with ergon grips. I may be overreacting too but I know the doctor last time told me I might want to consider about switching careers and also that I might want to try a different bike or set my bike up different to take the pressure off my hands. My Fargo has Jones bars on it and I'm beginning to think maybe my Wolverine needs a more upright stance as well.
I would suggest going AXS with a riser and short stem ~35mm. The rise with short stem have me sitting more upright and neutral with less pressure on my hands. The shifter is just buttons with no spring force to overcome which should alleviate some of the discomfort you may be having. Also, do you do flex / stretch exercises for your carpal tunnel? This helps me to keep it at bay.
 

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I would suggest going AXS with a riser and short stem ~35mm. The rise with short stem have me sitting more upright and neutral with less pressure on my hands. The shifter is just buttons with no spring force to overcome which should alleviate some of the discomfort you may be having. Also, do you do flex / stretch exercises for your carpal tunnel? This helps me to keep it at bay.
One more thing I forgot. I changed to ESI foam grips, they seem to be superior at vibration dampening and preventing hand fatigue for me.
 

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One more thing I forgot. I changed to ESI foam grips, they seem to be superior at vibration dampening and preventing hand fatigue for me.
Good points, Gman7. I, also, have moved to AXS for shifting and foam grips (either Wolftooth or ESI). Those changes seem to have reduced my skier's thumb issue as well as alleviate some of the small vibrations that irritate my elbows.
 

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I'm 50 and have had trigger finger release surgeries on 5 of my fingers (I'm T1 diabetic and prone to tendon issues). I'm surprised your ortho just keeps giving you the shots. The surgery is simple. No general anethestic (sp?), just the local. Takes about 15 minutes. Get the stitches out two weeks later. Can't lift anything heavy (or otherwise stress it) for a couple months. And then how long until you're back on the bike is up to you. A couple months for me. That's an individual thing. But it sounds like your work might make surgery difficult.

I had my thumbs done ~ 15 and ~6 years ago, so I can't remember the actual effect on riding. But my most recent left index finger actually felt better after riding. Not sure why.
 

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I don't have permanent trigger finger but my shifting thumb does get fatigued from shifting to the point I cannot shift. I DO have significant joint issues with my right and left thumbs. I tried Ergon grips and different bars but the issue never abated until I started cutting away a thumb groove on my chunky ESI grips. It was immediately better and vastly better than grip shift which made it worse d/t the large barrel. Today I paid for my new Specialized EVO Stumpy with AXS as a prophylactic approach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm 50 and have had trigger finger release surgeries on 5 of my fingers (I'm T1 diabetic and prone to tendon issues). I'm surprised your ortho just keeps giving you the shots. The surgery is simple. No general anethestic (sp?), just the local. Takes about 15 minutes. Get the stitches out two weeks later. Can't lift anything heavy (or otherwise stress it) for a couple months. And then how long until you're back on the bike is up to you. A couple months for me. That's an individual thing. But it sounds like your work might make surgery difficult.

I had my thumbs done ~ 15 and ~6 years ago, so I can't remember the actual effect on riding. But my most recent left index finger actually felt better after riding. Not sure why.
There's no way I could do that then if it's longer than a week or two. Everything about my job is lifting or cutting with shears etc.
 

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Grip shift.
I have an older trek I ride around the ranch. It had grip shifters but my skier's thumb made grip shifters untennable. The pain in my wrist and thumb went away when I found some seven speed trigger shifters. Your results will be personal but I would try a bike with grip shifters before making such a change.
 

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I have an older trek I ride around the ranch. It had grip shifters but my skier's thumb made grip shifters untennable. The pain in my wrist and thumb went away when I found some seven speed trigger shifters. Your results will be personal but I would try a bike with grip shifters before making such a change.

In reality the solution is never as simple as "grip shift".

But twist shifters are easier on thumbs/tendons. Swept bars in combo with twist shifters even moreso.
 

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In reality the solution is never as simple as "grip shift".

But twist shifters are easier on thumbs/tendons. Swept bars in combo with twist shifters even moreso.
I thought the same at first then realized the larger diameter barrel did not help and eventually made mine worse. I think I may be the outlier here.

Just rode my new bike with AXS tonight......OMFG! WAAAAAY better for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
+1 on gripshift
I have no problems running a thumb shifter and both of my bikes are single speed now anyways lol. The purpose of this topic was to find out about different positions on the bike. I have been wondering if the pressure point on your hands from a lot of handlebars might be right on that tunnel area where the tendon runs for my thumb. If you're trying to get an inflamed tendon or tunnel to heal it would be detrimental to be leaning forward on a set of drop bars on a long two or three hour ride. So I wasn't trying to mislead anybody thinking that I couldn't operate a shifter because that's not the case even if I had one on my bike 🤣
 

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I tend to have problems with my thumbs if I have my triggers positioned too far back (steeper). This forces me to reach for the the levers which not only stresses the thumbs but hinders control as I have to rotate my hand and loosen my grip on the bars. Here is how I set up my cockpit: 1) Adjust brake levers to my preferred 40 degrees; 2) Start with my right shifter body too far away from me and then incrementally bring it back until I can just hit the small upshift paddle of my Shimano shifter comfortably and gently tighten; 3) Hit both the small paddle and the big paddle repeatedly and make sure I don't have to reach too much for either paddle; 4) Simulate being out of the saddle in attack position and make sure I can still hit that small paddle; and lastly 5) Match the angle of the left shifter body to the right shifter body.

Btw, I find Ergon grips (ga2 or ge1) helpful because they are tapered and the narrower inner side helps me to access the small paddles easier so that I again don't have to run the shifters too steep.
 

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One more thing I forgot to mention. I do stay on top of my derailleur cable maintenance. Old, sticky cables cause more drag and more thumb effort needed to shift. Of course, as already mentioned, an AXS drivetrain eliminates this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Don't mean to ramble but the brake lever angle is important for thumb comfort as well. It goes hand in hand with your shifter position. Here is an interesting link on the topic.
Been busy but just watched this video earlier. Very interesting! I always thought levers should be low but now am reconsidering. Thanks
 
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