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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last Thursday (5 days ago), I took my first ride with some new equipment installed. I went from risers to flats, rapid fire to dual control, and dual compound grips to thinner grips. My ride was a near race effort ride a little over an hour with some pretty rocky rooty extended downhill sections. I hadn't ridden for three days so I was rested up.

Upon finishing, I had trouble turning the key in the ignition of my car. My pinching strength using my thumb and pointer finger of my right hand was really down. A few hours later my strength was back up to probably 70% of my left hand. I've ridden three times since then, including a race, and after every ride my hand feels noticeably week but not as bad as that first time. On off days, the weakness is still noticeable and I'd say my pinching strength is 75-80% of my left. Example: when golfing I had trouble pushing the ball and tee into the ground (thumb on top of ball pushing it down to the ground).

The strange thing is that there is NO numbness or tingling, which I know is associated with most of the nerve overuse injuries. However, I do think it has something to do with the ulnar nerve, because it controls thumb adduction (bringing the thumb in).

Any ideas? I guess I am wondering if someone has experienced something similar and if it went away. Hopefully it was just getting used to the new setup. I have been trying to adjust my hand position and shake them outmore often. My handlebar drop isn't that much so I don't think that is the problem. If the problem persists I am going to get some more cushy grips again and if that doesn't fix things I'll go in and get fitted.

Any help or insight would be awesome.

CW
 

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Small diameter grips I would guess are the culprit.
Try some softer and larger diameter.
If that doesn't work, perhaps try a flat bar with more sweet.
Salsa makes one that has either 5 degree or even 11..very comfy.

Worst case, try the Ergon grips (i can't descend with them though).
 

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carsonwick said:
...Upon finishing, I had trouble turning the key in the ignition of my car. My pinching strength using my thumb and pointer finger of my right hand was really down. A few hours later my strength was back up to probably 70% of my left hand. I've ridden three times since then, including a race, and after every ride my hand feels noticeably week but not as bad as that first time. On off days, the weakness is still noticeable and I'd say my pinching strength is 75-80% of my left. ...
Had the exact same problem after a 4+ hour ride two weekends ago. Took probably 4 days for my index finger strength to be back to normal. It was really odd, things like pushing the garage door remote button, and turning the ignition in the car were difficult. That was the first time I have ever had that problem. On that ride, I was using a set of full finger gloves that have no significant padding on the palms. Plus this is a new set of grips, which are thinner than I have ridden in the past. I did some searching and found similar references to these symptons for carpal tunnel syndrom. My guess is it was some kind of nerve compression due to glove, grip and ride combinations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just got back from a 4 hour ride and the weakness wasn't that bad. I did however develop a way to check for dexterity and my right hand is suffering in that category. I can type this just fine and all, but still. I don't think it is bad enough to worry about especially because it is not getting worse.

The dexterity tests were as follows: First I tried to take my middle finger and pull the tip of my index finger back with it, straightening it. Imagine the tip pad of the middle finger pulling back on the fingernail of the index. My right hand couldn't do this for about an hour and half after the ride. Next test, I try to take my middle finger and cross it over my index finger. Still can't do this one yet. Hopefully before the end of the night I can. My left hand has no problems with either of these.

It is like my thumb, index, and middle finger of my right hand do not have full range of motion. There is no tightness though.

Any advice is appreciated.

CW
 

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carsonwick said:
Update:
I just iced my palm and lower forearm and within an hour, I'm able to do both dexterity tests. Probably about 80% of normal right now. Wonder what this means?

CW
Makes sense. Google for "median nerve", alot of the references will be for carpal tunnel syn, but you'll find somethings about grip strength and specifically about thumb and index finger. Here's a pic from one of the medical sites. That nerve runs right thru the palm of your hand. If its getting compressed it will cause these symptoms.

https://medicalimages.allrefer.com/large/carpal-tunnel-syndrome.jpg

I'm going to switch back to gloves with gel padding. But bar position and/or brake lever positions might help as well.

Keep the updates coming. It was sorta freaking me out at first, but things are starting to make some sense.

Its been raining for 5 days here, so I only have been out on the bike once since Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I doubt it's the median nerve. Even thought the nerve branches to the fingers in question, those are responsible for sensation in those fingers. The ulnar nerve controls most of the muscles responsible for hand movement.

I'm placing my bet on warning signs of ulnar neuropathy (handlebar palsy):
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/399/handlebar_palsy_a_common_strain_in.html

I'm cutting back heavily on offroad excursions until symptoms clear up. In the mean time anyone with small hands want a slightly used pair of Pedro's Prayer Stix grips?

CW
 

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I think I'm going to have to see my doctor. I bought a new Cannondale F400 about a month ago. At first my shoulders hurt some, so I figured I just needed to get used to riding a mountain bike again. To help, I installed a riser bar. Now my hands hurt really bad, and my hands tingle almost all the time. I haven't ridden more than 30 minutes at one stretch. I am so bummed because I looked so forward to riding it a bunch and trying out some new trails I haven't been on before. Looks like I'm going to have to stick to the Townie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found relief by going back to my larger softer grips and tilting my saddle back a hair so it was easier to "sit" on. I've ridden twice for an hour and post ride has been no worse than preride. I want the injury to heal fast but I don't want to stay off the bike, dilemma. I think I'll just do a few smooth rides this week.

Do whatever it takes to get some of the weight off your hands.

Oh and if you do decide to go with specialized grips, Serfas makes a grip called Rx that is somewhere between regular grips and the aforementioned ergons.

CW
 
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