It is estimated that one-third of repetitive stress injuries in cycling involves the hands. If you’ve experienced numbness or pain in the wrists or hands on the bike, carpal tunnel syndrome could be the culprit. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on your median nerve, a major nerve in the upper extremity that travels down the arm and enters the hand through a very small gap called carpal tunnel located in the central part of the wrist gets compressed in the carpal tunnel. This nerve gives you feeling in your thumb and all your fingers except your pinky. Typically, this disease affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Common symptoms include:
- Pain in the hand
- Pain will be severe at night
- Hands and fingers get weak
- Hard time working with small objects
- Pain in the other fingers except for the little finger
- Slight pain in forearm and wrist
- Radiated or referred pain into the arm and shoulder
- Pain and tingling travel up your forearm to your shoulder
Lift the middle finger and middle finger, and close the other fingers. Use two fingertips to draw five circles in the air in a clockwise direction. Draw five more counterclockwise circles.
Raise a hand to the chest and stretch it out. With the elbow locked, stretch out your other hand and pull your fingers back. Keep this motion for 5 seconds, then put down your hand, shake it and repeat with the other hand. Repeat with each hand.
Wrist flexor stretch
With the other hand, pull the wrist and fingers back, keeping the elbow straight, until you feel a slight to moderate painless stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and then release. Repeat 4 to 5 times to make sure the symptoms have not worsened.
Wrist and finger extensor extension
Bend your wrist and fingers with your other hand, keeping your elbow straight until you feel a mild to moderate painless stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and then release. Repeat 4 to 5 times to make sure the symptoms have not worsened.
Stand against the wall with your feet hip-width apart and pointing straight ahead. Using the golfer’s grip, place the little finger on the temple with the thumb facing down. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground and don’t let your elbows droop. If possible, let your elbows touch each other. You should feel a stretch in your back.
When to see a doctor
Your first experience might be paresthesia. You could also experience it during the night when your body is in a more relaxed position. When you awake, you may also experience the symptoms in your shoulder area. If you experience numbness, itching, tingling, or burning in the palm of your hand, you should make your doctor aware. You will also experience the same sensations in your thumb, index, or middle fingers.