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Thread: my wrists hurt

  1. #1
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    my wrists hurt

    They mildly achey right now and seem a little stiff. I cannot make a strong fist either.

    I've noticed that they hurt a tiny bit after my commute too. I work at at computer all day, and I have the gel hand and wrists rests also to ease the discomfort. I feel I have to shake my hands alot and massage my wrists every 5 mintues.

    HOWEVER, I did ride a pretty rocky trail last night. Probably the the bumpiest of the season so far. Lots of downhill so I was on the brakes nearly the whole ride down. It was cold and my hands were so fatigued from braking. I rode it plenty of times last year not with this much discomfort. So maybe it's the first bumpy ride of the season pain and my hands aren't as strong yet? Or could I be developing something else?

    What can I do to prevent this? Shake my hands out before and after a ride? I wear padded gloves, and I ride with my wrists aligned with my arms (not cocked wrists). I've got my brakes set up so that I can keep my wrists straight.

    I don't think it's my bike setup, because it didn't as much last year. Maybe I just got beat up a little?

  2. #2
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    What is the angle of your brake levers? Mine point almost straight down so that when I'm standing out of the saddle, fingers on the brakes, my wrists are straight. If your levers are sticking out in front like most people seem to think they go you're riding around with your wrists cocked, which is no good and can lead to carpal tunnel. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    maybe you had the wrong...

    amount of pressure in your fork? i once did a ride where i had put waaaay too much pressure into my fork so i was essentially riding a rigid fork. my arms & wrists hurt for days afterward.

    rt
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  4. #4
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    mward, my brake levers are how you describes, so my wrists stay as straight as they can be.

    rt, I'll have to ask my husband if did something to the fork. He's my mechanic.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mward
    What is the angle of your brake levers? Mine point almost straight down so that when I'm standing out of the saddle, fingers on the brakes, my wrists are straight. If your levers are sticking out in front like most people seem to think they go you're riding around with your wrists cocked, which is no good and can lead to carpal tunnel. Good luck.
    Does everybody agree to point them down?
    I need to try it, because I do get some wrist pain, and my fingers get stuck on the lever.

  6. #6
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    It's not pointing them downward exactly. It's adjusting the levers so that you can use them and have your wrists straight. You don't want to be reaching under to get the levers. People with bigger hands, longer fingers will probably have them straight down. But I have little hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie Rox
    Does everybody agree to point them down?
    I need to try it, because I do get some wrist pain, and my fingers get stuck on the lever.
    Not so far down as diagonal. 45 degrees is more than enough IMO. If your sitting in the saddle and your wrists are cocked, that to me would indicate bad form (i.e. arms straight out w/ no elbow bend) or bad bike fit.

    Set yourself up to ride with your elbows bent and forarms almost parallel (varies) to the ground... same thing they tell you to do when typing. In riding, this allows shock/vibrations to be damped by your arm muscles instead of absorbed into your joints. This also allows you to keep your grip losser & arms more relaxed. Besides saving your wrists, this form also improves your bike handling skills.

    to summarize: elbow bend + relaxed grip = less stress on joints & better handling skills.

  8. #8
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    Riding rigid hurts.......

    The first thing on the bike I would check would be the front shock set up.

    More likely I suspect the discomfort is sympomatic of the overuse you impose at the keyboard. There is likely some inflammation from all your computer work (I'm familiar with the syndrome) that then causes discomfort when you abuse your body on the bike. Treat the symptoms with ice, ibuprofen and rest. The best solution I have found for the aches and pains in the joints of my arms is the weight room. By increasing upper body strength I have fewer aches and pains. As I am 53 years old the joints are likely developing some arthritis and it seems that increasing muscle strength around the joints helps ease the discomfort.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailRiddler
    Not so far down as diagonal. 45 degrees is more than enough IMO. If your sitting in the saddle and your wrists are cocked, that to me would indicate bad form (i.e. arms straight out w/ no elbow bend) or bad bike fit.

    Set yourself up to ride with your elbows bent and forarms almost parallel (varies) to the ground... same thing they tell you to do when typing. In riding, this allows shock/vibrations to be damped by your arm muscles instead of absorbed into your joints. This also allows you to keep your grip losser & arms more relaxed. Besides saving your wrists, this form also improves your bike handling skills.

    to summarize: elbow bend + relaxed grip = less stress on joints & better handling skills.
    To get my forarms parallel to the ground I need to be in full on road racer position.
    I am 6' 200#'s 30-32" inseam on a 19" frame with straight handelbars.
    My seat is just above the handelbars, is that bike too small for me?
    The brake lever is much better now, a bit steeper than 45.

  10. #10
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    Scott: no your bike size is fine. I find it unrealistic to ride with your forearms parallel to the ground, and uncomfortable.

  11. #11
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    Small Hands adj's

    Two more things to try.
    There is a lever reach adjustment that moves the fulcrum of the brake lever letting them engage closer to the bars, shortening the reach your fingers have to make.

    Once this is done, move the levers more inboard on your bars. You will squeeze with the outermost part of the lever (near the ball), increasing your leverage and effort necessary to brake.
    also are you a single digit braker? this lets you keep more hand on the bars. You may consider discs for greater braking power with allowing one finger braking.

    Others also pointed this out, loosen your death grip on the bike. I have to remind myself of this from time to time.
    One more. Keep your brake levers less tight on the bars. Then you can experiment mid ride for the best fit. Less clamping on the bars also helps in crashes. Your levers may turn rather than break from crash forces.
    MCM # 57

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone, I'm going to investigate everyone suggestions.

    Also, can you still get carpal tunnel problems if you sit/type ergonomically correct?

    I think I just got a little beat up on that ride. My whole body aches! Last year it didn't bother me towards the end of the season because I would ride that exact trail 2-3 times a week. Maybe I'm just not broken in yet this season. Or it's a combination of being early in the season and the other things people mentioned.

    Unfortunately, I'm allergic to all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. They give me anaphylactic reactions and a visit to the ER is usually required! So just Tylenol for me, which doesn't really work in my mind.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mward
    Scott: no your bike size is fine. I find it unrealistic to ride with your forearms parallel to the ground, and uncomfortable.

    Completely parallel is hard to keep up on a mt. bike, especially for DH or more relaxed geometries. That's why I added the (varies) side note. Its also not a great idea when doing anything technical & descending off/behind the seat. But for your other xc purposes, a good elbow bend and loose grip is what I'm advocating.

    Plus, being in that semi roadie position allows better power & efficiency

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon-UT
    Thanks everyone, I'm going to investigate everyone suggestions.

    Also, can you still get carpal tunnel problems if you sit/type ergonomically correct?

    I think I just got a little beat up on that ride. My whole body aches! Last year it didn't bother me towards the end of the season because I would ride that exact trail 2-3 times a week. Maybe I'm just not broken in yet this season. Or it's a combination of being early in the season and the other things people mentioned.

    Unfortunately, I'm allergic to all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. They give me anaphylactic reactions and a visit to the ER is usually required! So just Tylenol for me, which doesn't really work in my mind.
    Also if chronic carpel tunnel/tendonitis/arthritis (any type of cartelage/joint problems) bother you, do some research on Glucosamine & Condroitin... I'm experimenting with them for my joint problems right now. Can't say I can prove a difference as my joints haven't been hurting lately but it doesn't hurt to try.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailRiddler
    Completely parallel is hard to keep up on a mt. bike, especially for DH or more relaxed geometries. That's why I added the (varies) side note. Its also not a great idea when doing anything technical & descending off/behind the seat. But for your other xc purposes, a good elbow bend and loose grip is what I'm advocating.

    Plus, being in that semi roadie position allows better power & efficiency
    For climbing it's supposed to give you more power, you're right. I just can't ride that way for extended periods, it feels uncomfortable to me.

    re: glucosamine - in Serious Cycling the author cites a study in which athletes with differing degrees of cartiledge damage were given 1500mg of glucosamine per day and showed no signs of damage (recovered) after a period of time. I'm taking 1000/day myself and don't know that it's helping, but it definitely isn't hurting. I had to photograph a knee surgeon for an advertisement recently and he told me that he didn't think glucosamine would rehabilitate damaged cartiledge but can keep it from deteriorating further. I don't know if he'd read that study or not. This guy is a bigshot in the joint replacement business, did a major football player's hip 3 times (bo jackson, I think).

  16. #16

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    A few thoughts...

    Hi Shannon,

    A few thoughts from someone who's been rockclimbing for 10 years (although I've only been mtbing since march, I can safely say that I know a thing or two about hand/wrist injuries):

    1) Make sure the joints are well warmed up before subjecting them to any abuse. This includes neoprene wraps, ointments, and simple wrist exercises. If it's a little cold outside, you may want to focus on keeping them warm.

    2) RICE whenever possible (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate). If this sounds like too much work, at the very least apply ice to your wrists afer a heavy-duty ride. It really brings down the inflammation.

    3) Try supplementing your diet with flaxseed and fish oils. The Omega fatty profiles is quite good for reducing inflammation (it also has excellent overall health benefits). I used to live in Logan, so I can safely recommend Shangri-La health food store. The owners there are very helpful and knowledgeable.

    4) Glucosamine and Chondroitin together are very good at rebuilding cartiledge. However, this may or may not be applicable in your case. (it's a miracle for my trashed fingers, however!)

    5) Vitamin C.

    6) I use the microsoft ergo keyboard (I, too, sit in front of a computer 40 hours a week). If you haven't tried one of these, give it a try for a few days; once you get over the weird spacing of the keys, you may fall in love with it!

    7) If the pain persists, SEE A DOCTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN SPORTS INJURIES. I cannot overstate the importance of nipping this in the bud. Remember: all big problems once started as small ones...

    I hope this helps. By the way, how are the Logan Trails? Are they dry?

  17. #17
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    Good advice from the climber.. also, I use neoprene wrist and knee warmers in the cold weather here in Oz. If your joints are troubling you, making sure they are warmed up before riding sure helps.

    I also take Glocosamine, and eat walnuts every day for my arteries...

    I've tried lots of different keyboards on my computers, [i'm also a computer builder/retailer] and found that it's not so much the keyboard that matters, as the position you sit in and how you use your hands / wrists when typing.

    My wife is a pro typist, and never has problems because she uses very good technique at the keyboard.

    It may be that you are just not set up correctly on your bike for your size / style and that could be the cause of the pain. Bodies change as we age, but the machine stays the same..we have to adapt, or change the setup on the bike.

    It sounds like you are also suffering from a lack of riding.. I recommend that you drop everything, and take a two week holiday somewhere there are very good trails...immmediately.


    R

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 514Climber
    I hope this helps. By the way, how are the Logan Trails? Are they dry?
    Thanks Climber!

    Alot of the mid to low trails are dry (Jardine Juniper, Willow Creek/Little Cottonwood Cyn). I bet the higher up ones are still packed with snow!

  19. #19
    tjp
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    Another trick

    Actually it's from my Baseball days. A snug (not too tight) band of athletic tape just above your wrist, where a wristband would go and about 2-3 inches wide, can take some strain off the tendons. It's been a savior for me both when I was playing ball and when I've been recovering from crash-induced wrist injuries. I wore a band like this when riding for the better part of a year, awhile ago, and could really notice when I forgot to tape up. Give it a try, worst that could happen is that you'd discover it doesn't help.

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