Numb Hands Cycling – Can Cycling Cause Numbness? Updated 2021
One of the most common discomforts experienced by new cyclists is numb hands while cycling. Thousands of new riders every year experience numbness in the hands and fingers, as well as pins and needles. So what causes numb hands when cycling? And how do you stop them from going numb while cycling?
In this article, we look at ways to prevent hand and finger numbness. We also show you how to solve the issue with a simple fix.
Numb hands Cycling – What Causes It?
If you have ever worked in a bike shop you would have noticed how many people complain about numb hands after purchasing their first bike. Often these people have taken a bike off the floor and haven’t been fitted correctly to it. In other cases, some riders have been experiencing numbness for years and haven’t been able to get rid of it.
Why Do My Hands Go Numb When I ride My Bike?
Unfortunately, there are a few causes. The main culprit of numb hands during and after cycling is weight. Riders that experience numbness in the fingers and hands often have too much weight on the handlebars. This is caused by incorrect saddle fore-aft, causing the rider to stabilize their body with their hands, arms, and shoulders rather than their pelvis.
The other causes are gear shifter positions (STI levers) and pinching of nerves (Handlebar palsy ).
Sti or gear levers that cause numbness are often positioned too far below the curve of the handlebar. Thus forcing the rider to rotate their risk and distribute the load to the hand, rather than the wrist.
Last but not least is nerves. Unfortunately for some when holding an MTB grip or Sti lever, presses on a nerve in the hand which causes pins and needles or numbness.
How Do I Stop My Hands From Going Numb When Cycling?
There are a few simple tricks to stop your hands from going numb when cycling. But first, we need to understand what is causing it.
– Is it much weight on the handlebars?
– Incorrect gear lever position?
– Handlebar Palsy?
– Not wearing Gloves?
– Rough roads or terrain
The first thing to check is your weight on the handlebars. You can start by using a little test to calculate the weight.
1. Start by placing your bike in the trainer
2. Pedal at a steady pace
3. Place your hands on the drops
4. Put your hands behind your back
5. Count how long it takes you to fall forward.
Once you have performed this test you can judge how much weight is on the handlebars. If you start to fall forward within 5 seconds, you have too much weight on the bars and your upper body is doing the majority of work stabilizing the body. To adjust the weight on the handlebars move the saddle back 2-3mm and test again. You should then get to a point where you can hold the position without falling forward until the 6th or 7th second.
Once you have adjusted your saddle position, test ride that position outside.
– Does the numbness still come on?
– After how long?
– Is it as bad?
Once you have answered these three questions you can then readjust the saddle position again or look to the next possible cause, which is the gear lever position.
Start by checking your gear lever position. Do your hand and wrist sit at 180 degrees when in the gear lever hoods? If you find that the hand and wrist have an excessive bend, adjust the gear lever up or down to straighten out the wrist. Alternatively, if you are riding a mountain bike, you may need to adjust the handlebar height.
Lastly is the terrain you are riding on and your gloves. If you are experiencing numb hands and fingers irregularly and wanting to know do I stop my hands from going numb when cycling. Change the roads or terrain that you ride on. Often rough terrain and roads send vibration up through the fork into the handlebars and hands, thus causing pins and needles. The other option is to change to a cycling glove that has extra gel padding sewn into the glove.
Why Do I get Pins & Needles In My Fingers When Cycling?
Just like numbness, pins and needles are usually caused by weight and hand position on a bicycle. While 50% of the time pins and needles are caused by the vibration of the road.
To treat pins and needles in the hands. First, start by removing some of the weight on your hands. You can do this by adjusting the saddle position back a few millimeters. Secondly, purchase some cycling gloves with gel padding and invest in some gel bar tape. Both will help limit the vibration coming up from the road surface.
Lastly, check your lever position and make sure that you’re not placing added stress on one part of the hard. You may need to adjust the gear levers to distribute away from the pressure point, which is causing the pins and needles.
Finally, if you are still experiencing pins and needles in your hands, book in with a qualified bike fitter. You can also check whether you are experiencing handlebar palsy symptoms by reading this article.
Can Cycling Cause Numbness?
Cycling can cause numbness in numerous areas of the body. The most common areas that cycling causes numbness are the groin, hands, fingers, arms, feet, and toes. Out of these, the most common places to get numb are in the hands and groin.
The saddle position is the main culprit on a bike to cause numbness. Often a saddle too high causes numbness in the groin and toes, while a saddle too far forward causes numbness in the hands and fingers.