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3855 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 21, 2011 8:10 AM by TazzieWan
TazzieWan Amateur 12 posts since
Mar 4, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 6, 2011 6:50 AM

Strain on palm after long bike riding

I always have a problem with long hours of bike riding.


I have the tendency to push my body weight against the handle bar which always resulted strain on my palm.

I was told to relax my hands and placed it on the area near to the brakes but failed to relax it. Any advise or ways to reduce

the level of pressures exerted to my hands during riding?

Sundown Ultra 100km 25.06.11

Northface 100 Duo 15.10.11

Ironman Taiwan 70.3 05.11.11

  • Chocolate Thunder 303 Pro 69 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Mar 6, 2011 8:28 AM (in response to TazzieWan)
    Re: Strain on palm after long bike riding



    It sounds like it could be a handful of things, but we might need more data before we can advise you.  First off, what kind of “strain” are you referring to? Is it a pain?  Is it sharp or dull?  Does it hurt to move your hand, or is it a constant pain?  Where is the palm does it hurt the most?  What alleviates the pain?  Do you ride with gloves?  When was your bar tape or grips last replaced? Without too much data, here’s some info on two of the most common types of discomfort that I have seen (note, I’m making some assumptions here):


    The first type of discomfort, is a pain in the palmar area after a longer bike ride (20 miles for some people), can be from a handful of things.  The more muscular-type pains that increase with intensity when you move your hand or fingers, can be from bruising of the palm, likely from lack of shock absorption or repeated impact to the palm or the “heel” of the hand (near the wrist).


    The second type is a numbing, radiating pain starting in the hand and radiating up the arm.  This is likely (but not certainly) from nerve compression in the hand.  There are some pretty major nerves that run through the palm of the hand including the median and ulnar nerves that run right through the carpal tunnel of the wrist.


    Okay, there’s good news: Both of these are fixable.  When was your bar tape last changed?  You can change to more plush grips or a cushier bar tape and put some pads (like gel inserts) under the tape.  Also, do you ride with gloves?  New gloves, or cushier gloves can help to reduce the impact to your hands and compression of those nerves.


    Also, from the form and technique department, your first problem might be pushing your weight against your bars.  Why are you doing this?  Is it a comfort or a fit thing?  When you can relax your arms, you get a more fluid style of riding.  Also you are going to get more natural shock absorption through your arms, shoulders and parts of your upper back.  By relaxing your arms and shoulders with a slight bend in them, you are taking the shock and impact through your muscles instead of through your bones and joints. Shortening the stem on your bike can reduce your reach and maybe make it more comfortable.  Also, shortening the stem can reduce the need to keep your arms a full extension to get to the bar, and maybe make the brake hoods a more comfortable place to be.


    I don't know if this helps, but it might be a starting point for you.  Maybe the LBS can help out too.  It's tough to give advice on this stuff without knowing you or seeing you ride.


    Please keep us updated and let us know what happens.



  • Chocolate Thunder 303 Pro 69 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Mar 8, 2011 8:11 AM (in response to TazzieWan)
    Re: Strain on palm after long bike riding



    Okay, maybe it's getting clearer as far as what it might be.


    Definately try the newer bar tape and maybe the gloves too, they are a potentially inexpensive fix.  As far as which gloves, I'd say whichever fits best and looks the coolest.  Don't buy anything with spikes or leather.  That's the wrong kind of biker glove.


    Depending on the size and shape of your hand, different brands might work better.  Look for a good fit (not constricting, not loose) through the palm. You can be a bit more loose through the finger.  I'm sure your LBS has a few different brands and models to choose from.  Also once you try them on, go grab a bike from the sales floor (hopefully a super fancy one!) and grip the grips with the gloves on and see how they feel.  Are they binding? Are the loose?  Gloves will stretch out only a little bit so if they're tight now, they're probably going to be tight for a while.


    Things i look for: Sturdy palmar part of the glove with hopefully either no, or only one seam.  Lycra or something breathable on the back of the hand.  Something over the thumb to wipe boogies or sweat from my face. These shouldn't be expensive, and I think if it's an experiment I think you can avoid spending lots of money.  And make sure they look cool and match your kit.  Or, make sure they look ridiculous.  Whichever works for you.


    When you ride, try also putting in a slight bend in your elbows and shoulders.  This might be something to think about off and on.  I know for me I do like to let my shoulders creep up on me, so I try to think about it and correct it whenever I get a drink.  I kind of do a short "systems check" and make sure I'm all in the right orientation.


    How's that?  Do you think this has helped?



  • BT.ROB Legend 270 posts since
    May 12, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Mar 10, 2011 10:35 AM (in response to TazzieWan)
    Re: Strain on palm after long bike riding

    Get thee to a bike shop and get a professional fit done! It may cost $100-$125 but is well worth it. You should not be applying any weight to your hands; that is what your sit-bones are for. Pressure on the hands can cause problems like yours, pain in the neck, shoulders and elbows. Your hands are for steering, shifting and braking not weight bearing. In addition to a proper bike fit, you may also have to strengthen your core. Those rock-solid abs (and psoas, etc) are not just for looking hot at the beach, they hold you up when you are bent over your bike so you don't put weight on your hands. You should be having fun riding and getting a "good" kind of sore.



  • ChristopherM of Boston Amateur 22 posts since
    Aug 23, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Mar 10, 2011 5:44 PM (in response to TazzieWan)
    Re: Strain on palm after long bike riding

    BT is absolutely right - your bike is probably fit incorrectly (or not at all), and your posture is causing the pain.  Go get your bike professionally fitted.  It costs $70 at my local bike shop, and worth every penny.

    -Christopher M

    Boston, MA

  • IronMakeover Community Moderator 738 posts since
    Jul 7, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Mar 18, 2011 4:58 PM (in response to TazzieWan)
    Re: Strain on palm after long bike riding

    Hey there,

    I do this too. My bike is fit to me and appropriate, but I tense up during certain situations and have to specifically watch my hand position/tension.

    In addition to the suggestions from our awesome community, I wanted to paste in these links:


    This one has a paragraph about hand/wrist pain


    And a little on the 2nd page of this article.


    I hope your body feels better & future rides go well,

    :-) Sara

    Sara Cox Landolt

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