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Cycling Basics: All About Bike Wrist Pain and Smart Ways to Avoid it

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Do you love cycling long hours but your wonderful experience turns into a nightmare once you start experiencing pain in wrist? The bike wrist pain is one of the major problems faced by most of the cycling enthusiasts in different parts of the world due to various reasons such as poor posture, improper fittings and much more. According to a recent survey, it has been found that more than 80 million people in the USA consider cycling on a regular basis and about 31% of them experience wrist pain. Below are discussed some of the major reasons due to which most of the cycling enthusiasts experience wrist pain while mountain biking.

Table of Contents

Types of Bike Wrist Pain 

Listed below are two major and common wrist pain which regular bikers are prone to:

1. Handlebar Palsy

Handlebar Palsey also referred to as Cyclist Palsey or Ulnar Neuropathy, is one of the most common injuries faced by the people who consider cycling for long periods. The pain in wrist generally occurs when the ulnar nerve within the wrist is compressed against the handlebar while riding a bicycle on uneven roads. Some of the major symptoms of Ulnar Neuropathy are weakness, numbness or tingling in the hand, especially the ring finger and little finger. Besides this, people who suffer from this common bike wrist pain also experience lack of coordination in the hands while riding a cycle.

Read A Quick Guide to Cyclist's Palsy or Handlebar Palsy

Handlebar Palsy
Ulnar rever gets compressed against handlebar (source)

2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is also a medical condition which results in wrist pain after riding a motorcycle. This common type of sore wrist generally occurs when a person riding a bicycle holds the upper part of the handlebar and thereby applies pressure to the median nerve. The median nerve is found within the Carpal Tunnel or a narrow passage between the wrist bone and fibrous band and it helps in controlling the movement of the first 3 fingers and thumb except for the ring finger. Some of the common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers which may further affect your arm. Besides this, cyclists who suffer from this wrist pain also experience weakness in their hands which further results in poor gripping. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome results in numbness in fingers

How to Get Rid of Bike Wrist Pain

Below are discussed some of the major ways by which you can easily get rid of the pain in the wrist after cycling for long periods.

  • Prevention through Stretching and Form or Muscle Strengthening

Stretching your wrist and hands is certainly one of the major ways by which you will be able to get rid of a sore wrist after riding your bike for a long period. It will be wise for you to consider stretching your forearms and wrist before going for a long ride on your bicycle. Make sure to gather knowledge about weight training exercises such as the use of exercise ball in order to enhance the strength of wrist, surrounding muscles and even shoulders. 

  • Prevention of  Bike Wrist Pain with Equipment

This is also one of the popular ways by which you will be able to get rid of the pain in hand or wrist in a smart way. Listed below are the ways you can prevent wrist pain:

1. Install Carbon Forks 

If you wish to get rid of cycling thumb pain or wrist pain then make sure to consider installing the carbon forks which are made of highly flexible material and have lots of strength. Most of the professional bike riders consider installing carbon forks because these have the capability to absorb the vibrations that may occur while riding a bicycle on uneven terrain and thereby enable the bike rider in getting rid of bike wrist pain in a smart way.

carbon forks
Carbon forks abosrb the vibrations which could cause wrist pain

2. Get new Handlebars

Not just only the carbon forks but even installing the carbon handlebar will also enable you to experience lots of comforts while riding a bicycle on uneven roads. These handlebars are not just only light in weight but will also help in minimizing the road vibration and thereby help you in preventing bike wrist pain in a safe way.

3. Wear Gel Padded Gloves

The gloves play a major role in elevating the bike wrist pain and thereby help a cyclist in enjoying a comfortable ride. The modern gloves with padded bar have foam or gel which will not just only provide adequate cycling wrist support but also enable you to get rid of any sort of injury or pain that may arise due to vibration in handlebar while riding on uneven terrain. 

The Gel padded gloves are also highly effective in preventing bike wrist pain which is generally experienced by cyclists after riding long hours. The wrist support cycling gloves have been specially designed to provide the utmost level of cushioning to your hands while you are riding your bicycle on uneven roads for a long period. Some of the major reasons behind the popularity of gel padded gloves among the professional cyclists are-

  • Helps in dampening vibration that causes numbness in the wrist.
  • Ensures reduction of vibration between the handlebars and hands.
  • Helps in minimizing the pressure on the ulnar nerve which results in pain in hand.
gel padded gloves
Gel padded gloves to reduce wrist pain

How to Avoid Wrist Pain while Cycling

Make sure to go through the further lines in order to avoid bike wrist pain or wrist injury and thereby enjoy a safe and comfortable ride in the best possible way.

  • Consider changing your hand position

This is a smart way by which you can easily avoid bike wrist pain while riding for long hours on uneven roads. Ensure to go for a flat handlebar or drop handlebar as it will help you in changing your riding position as and when required. Make a habit to change your hand position after every few minutes as it will help in preventing any sort of stress to the ulnar nerve and thereby give the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable ride free from injury.

  • Adjust the handlebars of your bike

Ensure to adjust the bicycle handlebars for wrist pain prevention in an easier way. It will be wise for you to change the angle of the handlebar so that you are able to seat in an upright position in order to ensure that the whole weight or pressure of your body rests on the ischial tuberosity or sit bones. The above tip will help in decreasing the pressure in your arm and wrist and hence, enable you to get rid of bike wrist pain.

  • Get the help of an experienced bike fitter to optimize saddle position

Are you wondering how can a bike fitter help you to get rid of cycling wrist tendonitis? Since you ride your bike in a specific position day after day, an experienced bike fitter can smartly analyze the way you sit on your bicycle and thereby help you in improving the saddle position to make sure that you are able to enjoy the highest level of comfort while riding long hours.
Use correct posture while riding

If you wish to avoid bike wrist pain then ensure to consider a correct posture while riding your bicycle. It will be wise to maintain your backbone in arched position and keep your elbows bent in order to enjoy an utmost level of comfort while riding. Besides this, make sure to distribute your whole body weight on your muscles to enjoy a stress-free ride.

Summing Up

Ulnar Neuropathy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are the major reasons due to which cyclists experience pain in their wrist and hence, ensure to consider the above tips or ways to avoid bike wrist pain and enjoy a comfortable ride. Besides this, please feel free to share any other ways by which cyclists can get rid of wrist pain in a safe and easier way.

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