Wrist pain (pinky side of wrist)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Wrist pain (pinky side of wrist)

    Hey everyone,

    I'm just starting on MTB riding, I'm here in Central FL so obviously nothing crazy like downhill mountain trails or anything. Primarily so far my riding has been in my back yard learning how to do Manuals and small bunny hops over some fire pit logs that I have back there, maybe neighborhood riding jumping around off curbs and just goofing around. There's one small 1 mile trail near my house that I've gone to a couple of times with a lot of roots and a small bike park area to practice pumps and small jumps, that's been fun the couple of times I've been able to go too.

    Question is that I'm getting some pretty extensive pain in the outside/pinky side of my wrists that I've never had before while riding any other non-MTB bike. These bars are definitely wider than I've ridden before but I don't feel like the angle is any different than my commuter.

    Is this from the constant impact on my hands and wrists, maybe the constant bending down to absorb the impact on the bars where it makes my elbows come out and put a lot of angle on that part of my wrists?

    I just want to be sure this is safe and is something that is less prevalent as I build different muscles in my forearms, etc., or could this be an issue with the fit of the bike?

  2. #2
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    My first thought is that the handlebars are too wide forcing your wrists to bend to the inside. Another common issue, although this typically affects the whole wrist, is that the brake levers and shifters are too horizontal. If you can, have someone take a picture of your hands when you are sitting on your bike in your normal riding position and holding the handlebars. With a picture it would be easier to confirm any fit issues.

  3. #3
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    What kind of pain? Do you experience it at other times?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    What kind of pain? Do you experience it at other times?
    Like a sharp pain. It's outside of using the bike too, sometimes if I do something like close the window in the house and my hand is positioned just right it'll be painful enough to stop pushing the window down until I reposition myself. I haven't been riding long enough for it to be permanent, just trying to figure out how to not make it a permanent injury or anything like that. I'll have to see if there's a way to get a picture of my hands on the bars.

  5. #5
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    I enjoy similar pain in both wrists and have done for many years!

    About ten years ago I went over the bars and landed heavily on my hands. My wrists were swollen and hurt. After the swelling went down they seemed ok but I started getting very sharp pains if I moved my wrists a certain way, lifted something heavy etc. This pain has never gone away and cycling aggravates it. Just on Saturday I fell off, nothing major, my wrist didn't even hit the ground yet it hurt a lot.

    I went to the doctor about it earlier this year but he was about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Got x-rays, didn't show any breaks so the quack has no idea what it is. The pains are very sharp, sure feels like a fracture but who knows.

    I think you are correct about the bars. Most bars do not have enough backsweep and put your wrists in a poor position. I have not been able to find suitable wide bars with more backsweep to test the assumption but I think it is right. During the winter, when I cycle a lot less, my wrists are a lot better.

    As a patch, I bought a 661 wrist strap and it helps. I just wear it on my left wrist as it is the worst of the two. Unfortunately, I didn't have it on on Saturday as it was a ride on very tame trails and I was not expecting to fall off!

    Not much help I know but you are not alone.

  6. #6
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    Sounds to me like you've got some inflammation/irritation of the tendons on the ulnar side of the wrist....your basic tendonitis....possibly caused by a lack of mobility, overuse, and/or as others have suggested, the position of your hands/wrists on the bars.
    My suggestion would be to take an anti-inflammatory and ice and rest the wrists for a few days.....and try to limit any extreme motion to the wrists. Wrist straps/braces work wonders for this.
    Once they feel better, look into modifying your hand position on the bars or possibly getting different bars....gonna have to trial and error it until you get it right.....and stretching your wrists before and after you ride. Riding with small wrist straps help as well.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubermustang View Post
    Sounds to me like you've got some inflammation/irritation of the tendons on the ulnar side of the wrist...
    I think that's what the quack said to me. He gave me auntie's inflammatories but they did nothing. I've been dealing with this for a longtime. Surely if it was a tendon issue it would clear up eventually?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I think that's what the quack said to me. He gave me auntie's inflammatories but they did nothing. I've been dealing with this for a longtime. Surely if it was a tendon issue it would clear up eventually?
    Possibly, unless it's developed into a chronic condition (which sounds like it has) called tendinopathy, which is a deterioration of the tendons with no inflammation. Repeated falls or injuries without sufficient rest afterwards prevents proper healing and can make every subsequent injury worse, leading to this chronic condition.

    As you know, your general practitioner will first look for fractures on x-rays.....if nothing is present, they may send for an optional MRI which will show if there's damage to the tendons, ligatures or surrounding tissues.

    From there, usually a corticosteroid injection does the temporary trick, followed by a few sessions with a physical therapist to clear out any scar tissue and help your wrists regain their full range of motion through a variety of stretching and strengthening techniques.

    One thing you could try is voodoo flossing your wrists and forearms while doing mobility drills.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubermustang View Post
    Sounds to me like you've got some inflammation/irritation of the tendons on the ulnar side of the wrist....your basic tendonitis....possibly caused by a lack of mobility, overuse, and/or as others have suggested, the position of your hands/wrists on the bars.
    My suggestion would be to take an anti-inflammatory and ice and rest the wrists for a few days.....and try to limit any extreme motion to the wrists. Wrist straps/braces work wonders for this.
    Once they feel better, look into modifying your hand position on the bars or possibly getting different bars....gonna have to trial and error it until you get it right.....and stretching your wrists before and after you ride. Riding with small wrist straps help as well.
    I'm generally in the gym about 4 days a week (it's gone down a little due to all of the riding I've been doing lately), I always stretch before going including my wrists. I'm generally pretty flexible and healthy as far as that stuff goes.

    I really do think it's wrist position, for some reason when I put the bike together I got it up and running and checked the seat, leg length, etc., and generally just figured the bars were 'close enough'. I got on it today and I think my hands were rotated back a little too much, I rolled the bar forward so my arms and wrists are in a more straight line the way they should be. We'll see if that fixes it. Even though I rotated the entire bar with everything attached to it, it changed my position from one finger braking to two finger braking. The shifting still feels good though. I'll leave it as is until I ride it a couple of times, if it feels good I'll adjust the brake levers and get it all situated again.

    For now I'm taking yesterday, today, and tomorrow off to let my wrists get better. So far they already feel better even today, but not quite as good as they should be feeling. I'm also not one to push through an injury, if there's pain I'll stop. It's not worth the risk of permanent damage.

  10. #10
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    Good deal, dude.....looks like you got a handle on it. It's amazing what a little tweak of the bars can do....a degree or mm change here and there and you instantly go from pain to comfort.

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