Numbness in Hands of Cyclists

February 22, 2012

If patients complain of numbness and weakness of one or both hands, ask if they regularly ride a bicycle.

If patients complain of numbness and weakness of one or both hands, ask if they regularly ride a bicycle. These symptoms can be caused by continued handlebar pressure on the ulnar nerve where is enters the palm under the flexor retinaculum. Treatment and prevention are the same: Tell patients to buy a pair of cycling gloves that have extra padding on the palmar area and to cover the bicycle handlebars with padded tape or foam handlebar covers. A visit to a cyclist shop that performs fittings might help too; a shift in seat height or handlebar positioning can change the pressure points. Also, advise patients to change hand position frequently when taking long rides.

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