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Flying High Again
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like as soon as I hit 40, everything is starting to fall apart (ok, not everything heh heh). Went riding on Sunday, and Monday morning I wake up to find my wrist hurting. I've already been nursing chronic thumb pain from last season's snowboarding, now this. It seems from the rough DH riding and endos (one pretty hard this season, two other minor ones) that my hands/wrist can't take the strain anymore.

My thumbs have had a pain similar to the soreness such as having a jammed thumb. I don't recall actually jamming them, but I think from the occasional falling on a snowboard that this must have brought it on. I never really let it rest and heal for an extended time. I go snowboarding or biking nearly every weekend in season. Now they are in a constant state of soreness - a wrong grab or move can trigger some fairly intense pain. Bike riding seems aggravate this. It doesn't really hurt while riding, but makes it sensitive for some days afterwards.

Now I have wrist pain. After Sunday's ride, on Monday morning it was noticeable sore. I noticed it first while on the computer - I never had carpal tunnel syndrome nor have I ever had any wrist injury. I find that it hurts mainly when rotating the hand, although it gets uncomfortable when using the mouse or typing for extended times. Ibuprofen seems to alleviate the pain. Not sure if stretching is doing anything for it other than concentrate the pain.

I'm going to see a doctor but wondering if others here have had any similar experiences and what therapies might work or not work.

THANKS

pic below detailing the problem spots.....
 

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Ripzalot said:
I'm going to see a doctor but wondering if others here have had any similar experiences and what therapies might work or not work.

.....
I've either sprained, broken, or fractured both of my wrists multiple times over the years from MTB or rollerblading. I also had soreness in my wrists after riding. This spring I got a Jeff Jones H-Bar for my Surly. It has a really drastic sweep back (45 degrees), but it puts your wrists in a much more anatomical position. Those bars have helped a lot. They look different, and I get a lot of what the h3ll is that, but so what. I think they look sweet, they are ti, and they make riding much more enjoyable. check out Jeff's site: www.jonesbikes.com and check out the gallery. Good luck.

oh, and BTW watch Jeff's movie on the site. He RIPS on one of his fully rigid ti bikes. So Nice!
 

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indigosky said:
...This spring I got a Jeff Jones H-Bar for my Surly. It has a really drastic sweep back (45 degrees), but it puts your wrists in a much more anatomical position. Those bars have helped a lot...
Ditto on the Jones. I used to get wrist discomfort on long rides with regular bars (flats and risers). My Jones bars are comfortable and they improve bike handling. I no longer have wrist discomfort. I used to get thumb pain too from using Shimano rapid fire shifters. Pushing the shifter with my thumbs was painful. Now I ride with old school thumbies and the pain is no more. Prior to the thumbies, I ran SRAM shifters and that got rid of the pain too.
 

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Flying High Again
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
no doubt this guy can rip with these handlebars. but i wonder about what a 45° sweep bar would feel like to me. if you put your arms straight out in front of you as if you were grabbing a bike's handlebars, the natural sweep angle seems to be in line with traditional bars (8-12°?). in order to get it to 45° degrees, i have to either widen my arm position or "bow in" my elbows to get it there. i can't see how this would be more comfortable, controllable, or easier on your wrists than a traditional bar. (of course you are going to tell me that i have to try it - but tell me first how this works in practice). also, i wonder how this kind of bar would work for my type of biking - downhill. it just seems to go against common sense.

i don't want this thread to digress into only handlebar change thread - anyone else got experiences with wrist/thumb pain?
 
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supa sweep

Ripzalot said:
i don't want this thread to digress into only handlebar change thread - anyone else got experiences with wrist/thumb pain?
Maybe a handlebar change would alleviate your wrist/thumb pain...

Well, try this. Stand with your arms at your sides, just hanging there. Are your hands hanging naturally so that your knuckles are facing forward (like holding a handlebar?) or do they hang about 45 degrees between knuckles forward and thumb all the way forward? My are the latter, and my guess is not many people have their hands "turned" so the knuckles face forward naturally. I've found the 45° to be really nice for fast tricky downhills and even really good for taking moderate launches (1-2 feet) granted I'm on a singlespeed, but it seems like it would work well for downhill. I just feel much more stable on this bar.
 

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Have you experimented with varying your grip? Not the actual rubber grips, but your hand placement on the grips and the tightness?

I used to position my thumbs flat against the bars instead of wrapping my thumbs around. This would help keep the thumbs in a relaxed position instead of being tight, which really helped. But you DH, so this may not be safe for all parts of the DH run.

Now, how about the actual rubber grips? Do you use thick Oury grips? I found that thicker grips gave me more thumb pain. When still riding riser bars, I ended up using the weight weenie thinner foam grips and it really helped. I can't explain why, but maybe something to do with the larger diameter and the thumb having to wrap around it.

Are you using one or two fingers for braking? I found my hands would feel less fatigued when using two fingers to brake. The area between my thumb and index finger would be numb on my DH runs down Big Bear when I only used one finger. Try two if you haven't.

I've taken my Jones H-bars down some fast runs and they felt super stable. But these are all XC trails. I can't vouch for the true hardcore downhill ability. You do need to run a longer stem, so if you are riding a DH double crown fork with a built in stem, they you won't be able to run these because you need to swop to a stem that is around 15-25mm longer.
 

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Ripzalot said:
Seems like as soon as I hit 40, everything is starting to fall apart (ok, not everything heh heh). Went riding on Sunday, and Monday morning I wake up to find my wrist hurting. I've already been nursing chronic thumb pain from last season's snowboarding, now this. It seems from the rough DH riding and endos (one pretty hard this season, two other minor ones) that my hands/wrist can't take the strain anymore.

My thumbs have had a pain similar to the soreness such as having a jammed thumb. I don't recall actually jamming them, but I think from the occasional falling on a snowboard that this must have brought it on. I never really let it rest and heal for an extended time. I go snowboarding or biking nearly every weekend in season. Now they are in a constant state of soreness - a wrong grab or move can trigger some fairly intense pain. Bike riding seems aggravate this. It doesn't really hurt while riding, but makes it sensitive for some days afterwards.

Now I have wrist pain. After Sunday's ride, on Monday morning it was noticeable sore. I noticed it first while on the computer - I never had carpal tunnel syndrome nor have I ever had any wrist injury. I find that it hurts mainly when rotating the hand, although it gets uncomfortable when using the mouse or typing for extended times. Ibuprofen seems to alleviate the pain. Not sure if stretching is doing anything for it other than concentrate the pain.

I'm going to see a doctor but wondering if others here have had any similar experiences and what therapies might work or not work.

THANKS

pic below detailing the problem spots.....
I'm sorry to hear about the problem. Recently, I have experienced some numbness on all fingers (still don't know why), and it's quite scary. So I know how you feel. I'd have the hand checked out, if the problem doesn't go way.

BTW, here's the website that you can check out some good info. Bicylce riders may develop Ulna Tunnel Syndrome.

http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/tw4302.asp?navbar=aa3102

Based on your pic, looks like you're having some pressure on the Median nerve. Here's a pic of Hand and Wrist Anatomy with Nerve Supply, from the WebMD.

http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/tp13103.asp?printing=true

Good luck and get well soon.

Tammy
 

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I'm just kidding about the cruiser bike. Hey, I've got a heavy gel seat and suspension seatpost to keep things comfy out back!

Seriously, how much does a set of Jones handlebars cost? He hand welds those things from titanium, so I would think they are expensive. But they do look interesting.
 

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Something that may help if you don't do them already is to do some fore-arm and grip strength exercises.

I'd suggest wrist curls using dumbbells where you roll the dumb bell down onto your finger tips and then curl your fingers and wrist back up.

And also wrist extensions where you hold a dumb bell in each hand palm down and fore arms flat to the ground and curl your wrists up.

Start off with light weights and do 3 sets of 10 concentrating on good form 3 times per week.

A good tip if you've got bad wrists doing these is to not let go of the dumb bell straight after the end of each set, instead put it down on the ground and then very slowly relax your grip.

The extra strength and endurance should mean your arms and hands don't take as much of a beating downhilling and some extra muscle mass around the hands and wrists should help cushion the nerves a bit too. I've found doing these exercises have helped stop my hands going numb towards the end of long rides and my arms aren't as pumped offroad as they were before.

Not a miracle cure but worth a try.:)

If it's your joints that are hurting are you taking a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement? It takes at least 2 months to start working but could help ease your wrists a bit.
 

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Try these stretches ...

Ripzalot said:
Seems like as soon as I hit 40, everything is starting to fall apart (ok, not everything heh heh). Went riding on Sunday, and Monday morning I wake up to find my wrist hurting. I've already been nursing chronic thumb pain from last season's snowboarding, now this. It seems from the rough DH riding and endos (one pretty hard this season, two other minor ones) that my hands/wrist can't take the strain anymore.

My thumbs have had a pain similar to the soreness such as having a jammed thumb. I don't recall actually jamming them, but I think from the occasional falling on a snowboard that this must have brought it on. I never really let it rest and heal for an extended time. I go snowboarding or biking nearly every weekend in season. Now they are in a constant state of soreness - a wrong grab or move can trigger some fairly intense pain. Bike riding seems aggravate this. It doesn't really hurt while riding, but makes it sensitive for some days afterwards.

Now I have wrist pain. After Sunday's ride, on Monday morning it was noticeable sore. I noticed it first while on the computer - I never had carpal tunnel syndrome nor have I ever had any wrist injury. I find that it hurts mainly when rotating the hand, although it gets uncomfortable when using the mouse or typing for extended times. Ibuprofen seems to alleviate the pain. Not sure if stretching is doing anything for it other than concentrate the pain.

I'm going to see a doctor but wondering if others here have had any similar experiences and what therapies might work or not work.

THANKS

pic below detailing the problem spots.....
As I posted in another thread, try these stretches:

http://homepage.mac.com/theleeman69s/PhotoAlbum16.html

Also, did the following (in addition to the stretches) to address my hand/write problems:
1. switched to grip shift (easier on my thumbs)
2. raised my stem and bars up (less pressure on the hands)
3. got a carbon fibre riser bar (lessens vibrations)
4. levelled out my seat -- I used to have the nose down a little, since that helped in
the attack position, but it made me sit farther forward, putting weight on my hands
5. relax my shoulds -- when I was getting a "bike fit", they noticed I was tensing
my shoulders
6. Get a bike fit -- it's worth it if you are having problems or if you want max efficiency
(get a good fit, where it takes a few hours, if you can afford it)
 

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Flying High Again
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks everyone.

i think tammy is spot on - it's the median nerve. there is no numbness or tingling in the ring and pinkie fingers, so not the ulnar.

grips - i'm using ODIs, which may be thick to some. i have fairly large hands so they don't seem big to me. they are well padded so it would seem like they would absorb vibrations well. i have an old set of thinner grips, maybe i'll swap them and see if any better.

gripshifts - these are the kind where you twist the grip to shift, right? i don't think they would be a good option for a DH bike but i could be wrong. with all the bouncing around in rough sections, seems like it would cause the bike to misshift a lot.

exercise and stretching - is this advisable to start doing now, with the soreness? or should i wait until it's gone away?

as a precaution i've started taking ibuprofen and glucosamine supplements a couple days ago. no real noticeable affects yet. but then again if this is a nerve problem, this won't really help, will it? those are for ligaments, right?

thanks again!

p.s. i still haven't ruled out the jones bars completely - but i had the same initial thoughts as 65Matt. LOL
 

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Ripzalot said:
...gripshifts - these are the kind where you twist the grip to shift, right? i don't think they would be a good option for a DH bike but i could be wrong. with all the bouncing around in rough sections, seems like it would cause the bike to misshift a lot...
Lot's of DHers ride with SRAM shifters. Just go with the shorties instead of the wider halfpipe models. As a matter of fact, most of the DH riders I know use SRAM shifters. No accidental shifts because they are just in short inside section of the grips.

With the Jones H-bar you're limited to shifter choices. You have to use either thumbies or the new Shimano Dual Control toggle levers. So if those shifters don't sit well with ya, then the Jones may be out of the question.

Specialized makes their Body Geometry line of gloves that have padding that addresses the nerves that are prone to discomfort. Check 'em out if you have an LBS that carries Specialized.
 

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Ripzalot said:
exercise and stretching - is this advisable to start doing now, with the soreness? or should i wait until it's gone away?
If your wrist is good enough to use most of the time I'd say start straight away but with the exercises I was suggesting use LIGHT weights to start with. Maybe even just the dumb bell bar with no weights on to begin with.

If it's bad enough you can't do that fairly comfortably then wait till you've seen the Doctor.

Glucosamine occurs naturally in the joints and muscle, where it plays a role in the mobility and smooth working of connective tissue. Chondroitin is found naturally in the joints where it helps attract fluid into the cartilage. It might help soothe some of the pain issues with your thumb anyway. Remember it's going to take at least 2 months for any noticeable results though and that's taking it every day

Something else that may help is to put some Arnica cream on your hands after a ride. It helps reduce bruising and swelling which could take some of the pressure off your nerves if your hands are sore and inflamed after a ride.

Also have you considered going to see a physiotherapist? Rather than just a sports physiotherapist you can get physios who specialise in hands/ nerves etc which could be a good idea. They tend to mostly work in Hospitals doing rehabilitation.

Perhaps your Doctor could refer you or try a private Hospital?
 

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I disagree...

...with some of the above advice.

Legal Disclaimer: this is NOT to be construed as medical advice. Although I am a physician (and hand surgeon), this is stricly casual advice from one MTBer to another.

You should see a hand specialist before starting any exercise program, physiotherapy, Arnica or other self-directed treatment. Chronic hand pain as you have described could be any number of ailments, including an undiagnosed fracture (scaphoid, pisiform), ligamentous injury (scapholunate ligament, ulnar collateral ligament), or nerve compression syndrome (carpal tunnel syndrome, hypothenar hammer syndrome, Guyon's canal compression), to name a few.

Falls from mountain bikes are high energy injuries and can cause serious hand damage.

Only after a serious injury (and treatable) injury has been ruled out, should you then contemplate the above treatment modalities.

Just my $0.02.
 

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tingj said:
...with some of the above advice.

Legal Disclaimer: this is NOT to be construed as medical advice. Although I am a physician (and hand surgeon), this is stricly casual advice from one MTBer to another.

You should see a hand specialist before starting any exercise program, physiotherapy, Arnica or other self-directed treatment. Chronic hand pain as you have described could be any number of ailments, including an undiagnosed fracture (scaphoid, pisiform), ligamentous injury (scapholunate ligament, ulnar collateral ligament), or nerve compression syndrome (carpal tunnel syndrome, hypothenar hammer syndrome, Guyon's canal compression), to name a few.

Falls from mountain bikes are high energy injuries and can cause serious hand damage.

Only after a serious injury (and treatable) injury has been ruled out, should you then contemplate the above treatment modalities.

Just my $0.02.
thanks for the honest advice. that's very nice of you - most MDs are too frightened to lay out such good information. good on ye!
 

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My 0.02 euros...

With all due respect to the hand doctor, if you don't remember when it started, it's probably not a fracture, and if you're out riding, whatever's wrong with it is probably not serious enough that they'll be able to or want to fix it surgically.

It sounds to me like you have a repetitive strain injury from your years of thrashing yourself. Dr. Fast Eddy thinks you should take a two week period and do this religiously:

1. 600mg Ibuprophen every 8 hours as an anti-inflammatory. Don't skip any.
2. Exercises. Look around the internet. Do what you think will work. Consider exercises with big rubber bands.
3. Contrast baths once per day. Two tubs or sinks, side by side. Fill one with ice water; really cold, lots of ice. Fill the other with water as hot as you can stand. Dunk your hands and wrists in one then the other, and hold them there for 60 seconds. Repeat about four times in each one. Look this up on google and read up on it. Some variation from the durations or number of cycles might be better than what I remember.
4. Lay off the hard riding during this period. I'm not saying you shouldn't ride, but lay off the drops and jumps and 50km death marches.

None of these ideas are dangerous, or controversial, and if it helps, it could save you a trip to the doctor.

I think a carbon bar could help too.
 
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