Thursday, October 29

Prepare to be bored: How I stopped the pain in my wrists/hands/thumbs/etc.

I've made very little mention of my wrist/hand problem recently. That would be because it has pretty much disappeared over the last few months. I know some people would like to know how I fixed myself, but I did a combination of quite a few things, so I'm not sure which ones worked and which ones were pointless. What did I do?

Some of you might remember that this all started about the same time Nia (formerly known as Fajita, but I'm starting to think of her as "The Girl" more often) became part of our family (Feb 2007). I think my pain started when we moved my computer out of her room and onto my work bench. Months later I alleviated some of the pain by building my half-assed keyboard tray.

FYI: I believe the donation of a flat screen monitor to Bad Idea Racing would be a tax write off.

This helped, but I needed more relief. I kept looking for total pain resolution over the next year and a half. I tried putting a Fox fjork on my bike last winter to give my wrists a break, I swapped my ti bar out for a 17 degree sweep Salsa carbon, and I tried some Ergon grips.

The Fox fjork did not save me, a nagging injury to my pinkie was incompatible with the metal lock-on of the Ergon grip (other than that they were pretty comfy), and the bar did not agree with me. So what did I do this summer to make it all go away?

At work I started using dramatically swept bars. On The Fastest Bike in the World I mounted up some generic hoopty cruiser bars...

and the Thylacine fixed gear training machine got a pair of FU2 bars.

These bars made a huge difference that I could feel while riding. Although I couldn't adapt to the position off road it made a world of difference on the bikes I spend 90% of my time riding.

I also dropped the foam grips I'd been using for years, and swapped to hard core grips like the ones above and these:

Not as comfy to the hand as the Ergons, but the lock on collar is no longer under my lame pinkie finger. I think the squishy grips, while comfortable, were forcing me to grip harder to compress the grip and hold onto the bars. Also I have average sized hands, so the smaller diameter grip fits in my hand a whole lot better.

I also taped my wrists or wore a couple Swiftwick compression wrist bands over the summer. I no longer need to do any taping for any length ride now. I still wear the Swiftwick wrist bands when the temps are chilly to keep my joints warm, or their arm warmers (with compression cuff) when the temps drop even more.

Non gear related lifestyle changes that I made were a reduction in after work interwebbing and some new supplements with my morning bowl of oatmeal. I added flax seed oil and fish oil to my daily regimen. I'm not sure any of that stuff actually did anything, but I'm not gonna argue with success. Last winter I was wondering if I was gonna have to quit riding or look into another profession, and now I'm going into the winter feeling as fresh as a daisy.

I'm not saying any of the above solutions will work for you. I do get questions from time to time about how to reduce wrist/forearm/hand pain when riding rigid, and I figured I'd share my findings with the class. I know that was pretty boring stuff, but I had to get it out there at some point. Kinda sucks to go into winter with my limbs feeling better than ever (as opposed to going into the "season"), but I'll take it. These past few years have been rough, and I'm thinking 2010 is gonna be my year (whatever that means).

Any questions?




Hooples3 said...

Yeah... It's time for a new monitor. I wish I had the extra funds to get you one. This way, mike piazza can have some room up there to keep a better eye on you.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I agree. Get it for Mike! Or, just get a laptop and work from your lap. Then Mike could dance around all he wants on that table. Maybe even bring over some Barbie dolls and have a party.

Big Bikes said...

I just developed some wrist/hand pain myself. Pretty sure it relates entirely from riding for four hours last Sunday on a really awesome looking riser bar that doesn't have the 17° sweep of my normal bar.

Sweep is key (that and eating a can of sardines once in a while).


cornfed said...

wha, no mention of Mike's exercise/strengthening rehab offerings given over the phone enroute to Swank09? I'm sure it was all the fish oil.

wv: blervei

Anonymous said...

stop playing with it so much. That's what I did. Feel much better for it!

Anonymous said...

Apropos nothing, you need to get yourself one of these:

And it's work safe, despite the potential in the url ;)

word verification: voccula

Sounds like it would be a good bike name...

sean said...

That monitor is bigger than you?!?!

clay faine said...

I've been battling severe hand pain on really long rides. I'm anxious to get it under control before the hush, hush and am curious how you got it under control, but what you typed was too long so I didn't read it. Is there a Cliff's Notes version somewhere?