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  1. #1
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    Biker's Palsy - advice needed

    Hey guys,

    After about a month of 2-3 rides a week, I've gotten what seems to be a fairly bad case of biker's palsy in my left hand. There are certain things I struggle to do with my left hand (like undo buttons, hold vegetables while cutting them, masturbate to Viva's babes), but no real pain. Just motor deficiency, which is alarming and frustrating and a major pain in the ass.

    Wondering if anyone else has dealt with biker's palsy, and specifically, if there are PT exercises that will help. Here's what I am doing/not doing right now to try and address that:

    Doing:
    - Got padded gloves
    - Trying not to overgrip the hell out of my bars
    - Splat's CBD cream 2x a day
    - (Trying) to take rest days

    Not doing:
    - Any sort of real PT
    - Riding as often as I would like

    What am I missing here? Do I need to change the way I grip my bars (other than not overgripping)? Is there a specific strength training protocol I should start doing, or a PT exercise program I can start up?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give here.

  2. #2
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    make sure you are not putting weight on your hands/ the bars by having the seat at least level or I like to run mine slightly nose high
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  3. #3
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    There's all kinds of grip and stretch exercises you can do for your hands.
    Is it from folding your wrist upwards for extended periods?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    There's all kinds of grip and stretch exercises you can do for your hands.
    Is it from folding your wrist upwards for extended periods?
    i think i fold my wrist down, like my wrist is lower than my hand and as a consequence my ulnar nerve is getting pinched

    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    make sure you are not putting weight on your hands/ the bars by having the seat at least level or I like to run mine slightly nose high
    sorry, i know this is a dumb question, but you mean the seat level with the ground/nose high (vs level with the bars)?

    thanks for your help. this seriously sucks.

  5. #5
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    Road bars or Flat bars? Ergon grips or similar style being used?

    I get this on multi-day bikepacking trips (flat bars), adding Ergons and bar ends have helped some.

  6. #6
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    Change the position of your brake levers and shifters to allow your wrists to align in more of a straight line with radius & ulna.
    "Wherever beer is brewed, all is well. Whenever Beer is drunk, life is good" -- Czech proverb.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LT View Post
    Change the position of your brake levers and shifters to allow your wrists to align in more of a straight line with radius & ulna.
    cool yep i can totally do that. it's my left hand, so just brakes + my dropper post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iowagriz View Post
    Road bars or Flat bars? Ergon grips or similar style being used?

    I get this on multi-day bikepacking trips (flat bars), adding Ergons and bar ends have helped some.
    flat mtb bars. i'll try ergons for sure. i didn't know bar ends were a thing anymore - aren't they pretty 90's?

    thanks guys!

  8. #8
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    Ergon GA3 grips!
    PM me I have some for sale.

    EDIT: PM returned.

  9. #9
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    Sounds like too much pressure on your hands that can usually be addressed with proper bike fit. Saddle position is key to getting the bulk of your weight on your ass and feet.

  10. #10
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    Definitely agree w/ comments above about weight on hands/saddle angle and tweaking brake lever angle to reduce/remove the wrist bend. Also consider pushing saddle back on the rails a bit too.

  11. #11
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    You can try padded gloves, but often times thicker gloves and thicker grips make things worse, not better. The bigger and mushier your grip interface is, the harder you're going to work to maintain a firm grip on the bar. Sort of like how a big squishy saddle is worse because it doesn't keep your hips supported and aligned.

    But as usual, everyone's different and YMMV.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Hubbs View Post
    Ergon GA3 grips!
    PM me I have some for sale.

    EDIT: PM returned.
    Thanks man, I'm stoked to try these

    Quote Originally Posted by jackattack View Post
    Sounds like too much pressure on your hands that can usually be addressed with proper bike fit. Saddle position is key to getting the bulk of your weight on your ass and feet.
    Got it. I'll mess with this today and see if I can't get my position correct. My wrists are bent pretty hard a lot of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by VTskibum View Post
    Definitely agree w/ comments above about weight on hands/saddle angle and tweaking brake lever angle to reduce/remove the wrist bend. Also consider pushing saddle back on the rails a bit too.
    Saddle back a bit with the nose up slightly, yeah?

    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    You can try padded gloves, but often times thicker gloves and thicker grips make things worse, not better. The bigger and mushier your grip interface is, the harder you're going to work to maintain a firm grip on the bar. Sort of like how a big squishy saddle is worse because it doesn't keep your hips supported and aligned.

    But as usual, everyone's different and YMMV.
    Makes sense - same phenomenon with ice climbing. Padded/insulated gloves make your hands colder because you tend to overgrip your tools. I ordered some lightly padded gloves just to see, I know the issue is for sure me overgripping.

    thanks for the help here. i'll try and adjust today, maybe take some photos if it would be helpful?

    sorry i'm such a fucking newb, all of this is a little overwhelming so i'm trying to figure it out one step at a time

  13. #13
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    If it’s your thumb, index, and middle finger more than ring and pinky = your median nerve (not your ulnar nerve). Median nerve runs through the middle of your wrist though the carpal tunnel - if your wrist is held in a position outside of neutral and then subjected to repeated vibration or stress it can cause the tissue of the tunnel to be inflamed (ie swollen - but this won’t necessarily be painful)

    The swelling makes the space inside the tunnel smaller - this compresses the median nerve and disrupts it’s function to varying degrees. The swelling can get worse at night and you might wake up with hand/forearm pain or burning or numbness.

    If you find you have to “shake out” your wrist that’s another sign.

    You can get Ulnar nerve issues from the same processes at your wrist but the ulnar nerve goes to your 4th and 5th fingers and this is less common than issues with the median nerve.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    sorry, i know this is a dumb question, but you mean the seat level with the ground/nose high (vs level with the bars)? .
    Seat level in relation to the ground, so I set mine by putting a carpenters level on the seat (or a broom stick) I adjust the nose of the seat up from level so here is about an inch between the back of the seal and the level with the bubble in between the lines

    you wana be sitting comfortably on the seat as opposed to being thrown forward with weight on the hands, everyone likes something a little different, i like the seat nose high, i had a road coach tell me running the seat nose high I looked better on the bike compared to a flat seat

    then you adj seat height

    bar height might cause you problems if it throws too much weight on the hands, might have to get a stem with more rise or add spacers under the stem

    if you got small hands it may hurt to grip overly large grips altho IME that has caused tennis elbow

    YMMV but I like the seat slammed all the way forward

    try different things that are easy adjustments to begin with before you start cnanging parts
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    Seat level in relation to the ground, so I set mine by putting a carpenters level on the seat (or a broom stick) I adjust the nose of the seat up from level so here is about an inch between the back of the seal and the level with the bubble in between the lines

    you wana be sitting comfortably on the seat as opposed to being thrown forward with weight on the hands, everyone likes something a little different, i like the seat nose high, i had a road coach tell me running the seat nose high I looked better on the bike compared to a flat seat

    then you adj seat height

    bar height might cause you problems if it throws too much weight on the hands

    if you got small hands it may hurt to grip overly large grips altho IME that has caused tennis elbow
    i have long fingers and exceptionally low volume hands. i wear size L/XL fingered gloves, and usually size s fingerless gloves. perfect hand jams for me are red camalots, if that means anything to you. i'll try and adjust seat level and positioning today, and report back on what i find

    Quote Originally Posted by bennymac View Post
    If it’s your thumb, index, and middle finger more than ring and pinky = your median nerve (not your ulnar nerve). Median nerve runs through the middle of your wrist though the carpal tunnel - if your wrist is held in a position outside of neutral and then subjected to repeated vibration or stress it can cause the tissue of the tunnel to be inflamed (ie swollen - but this won’t necessarily be painful)

    The swelling makes the space inside the tunnel smaller - this compresses the median nerve and disrupts it’s function to varying degrees. The swelling can get worse at night and you might wake up with hand/forearm pain/burning/numbness.

    If you find you have to “shake out” your wrist that’s another sign.

    You can get Ulnar nerve issues from the same processes at your wrist but the ulnar nerve goes to your 4th and 5th fingers and this is less common that issues with the median nerve.
    this is 100% where i have a deficiency - thanks for the help. it's pointer and thumb. no tingling or burning, but yes crazy deficiency.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    i have long fingers and exceptionally low volume hands. i wear size L/XL fingered gloves, and usually size s fingerless gloves. perfect hand jams for me are red camalots, if that means anything to you. i'll try and adjust seat level and positioning today, and report back on what i find



    this is 100% where i have a deficiency - thanks for the help. it's pointer and thumb. no tingling or burning, but yes crazy deficiency.
    That’s carpal tunnel. You can Google some simple PT to help. But getting your wrist in a more neutral position on the grip will help solve it.

    There are likely videos on “carpal tunnel and mountain biking” out there - and there are likely smarter people in here with better advice.

  17. #17
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    i normaly put levers at about 45 degree to ground so they can be used sitting or standing,

    if they are too flat you gotta bend the wrist back a bunch when you stand

    if they are too vertical you gotta bend the wrist forward when you are sitting
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  18. #18
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    I used to find the "padding" that bike gloves have to usually be hard, uncomfortable, and in the wrong spot.
    Lever height is key. I actually had mine over adjusted down as someone pointed out in another thread. I did this because I'm always worried about them being too high.
    Also, 35mm bars are sooooo stiff. Hard to tell the RF Next bars are actually carbon fiber. Lots of vibration if I don't get LSC exactly right.
    Oh, and you're using full finger gloves, right? Are we talking flat bars and MTB?
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  19. #19
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    Whst sbout some of the newer bars out there that have greater backsweep? 12-16 degrees i think.

    Something like that, with some of those Ergon grips perhaps?
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    Whst sbout some of the newer bars out there that have greater backsweep? 12-16 degrees i think.

    Something like that, with some of those Ergon grips perhaps?
    like xxx said i'm gonna try different adjustments (and cheap ergo grips) before i start changing out expensive parts, but (dumb question alert), what is backsweep and why would it help?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    like xxx said i'm gonna try different adjustments (and cheap ergo grips) before i start changing out expensive parts, but (dumb question alert), what is backsweep and why would it help?
    Backsweep is the curvature of the bar when you look at it from above. It arcs back toward you. A fully straight bar (or an overly wide bar) will force you to bend your wrist inward (thumb gets closer to the inside of the wrist) and create issues. A bar with enough backsweep can be grabbed with your wrist straight even if it's quite wide. You bar width might be off too. Not sure what that Evil came with but 780 (standard the past few years) doesn't work for everyone.

    You have tons of options without needing to buy anything new at this point. So many options just changing the roll of the bar and moving spacers around the stem. Stuff an allen in your pocket and experiment. Takes forever to dial the cockpit and seat position but once it's done you'll love life.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    Takes forever to dial the cockpit and seat position but once it's done you'll be ready to upgrade your bike.
    FIFY

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peruvian View Post
    FIFY
    Ha! Sad but true.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  24. #24
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    It's been said but, ditch the padded gloves. I ride basic leather ropers glove with a shit ton of snowseal worked in with a hair dryer.

  25. #25
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    bar width/sweep, brake angle, grips, all seem to be covered
    i have wrist issues from old injuries and use a bar with slightly more backsweep than most and also run them a hair chicago style since im tall and ride children sized bikes (djs)

    one thing not mentioned is core strength
    to be in a stable attack position requires you to have your weight driving mostly through your feet into the bottom bracket
    this requires pretty good core and lower back strength and stamina, or it can become easy to rest your hands on the bars to spread out the weight, potentially leading to similar issues as you are having

    squat jump tucks, wall sits, plank, pick your poison...

    a technique that may help is what i call teacup fingers
    its what i use to teach people proper attack position on a pumptrack and helps with weight distribution on the bars and encourages an engaged core and driving the bike through your hips
    pinch your thumb and index finger around the bar, point all other fingers upward
    now pump around the track trying the best you can to keep your hands weightless
    you still have steering control with your fingers, but you have no grip so it encourages you to grip the bike with your feet
    this sensation feels weird at first, but its similar to skiing, where when you figure out how to drive the skis from your hips through your boot tongue everything clicks and the amount of control you have really increases
    same with bikes, drive from your hips through your feet into the bottom bracket, your hands are just for keeping the front from getting knocked around
    then add pumping front / rear and weight distribution back into the equation and things get fun

    but teacup fingers give a good baseline for your balance point and where your core should be stable

    for the parents out there this is also a great technique for getting groms to stand up and get off their seats and learn pumping and jumping

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