How to avoid wrist pain when cycling
This entry was posted on April 29, 2014.
As anyone who has ridden a bike probably knows, riding can be tough on your wrists and hands. Too many riders develop health problems in these areas, especially if they ride on bumpy roads or trails. This guide will explain some different causes of wrist pain and techniques for healing and avoiding it in the future.
Change hand positions
One of the major causes of wrist pain is riding for long periods of time and/or long distances in a single hand position. To mitigate this issue, try to switch hand positions every few minutes as you ride. Of course, this is easier said than done on flat handlebars and is one of the main reasons that long distance riders use drop handlebars or other designs that allow multiple hand positions.
Get the right equipment
If you experience repeated issues with hand or wrist pain, it may be time for some new equipment. First, try using bike gloves. This is the cheapest option, and simple padded bike gloves can make a big difference in your comfort level.
Next, check out your handlebar tape or grips. They may need replacing, and some options have more padding than others.
The last and most expensive option you may want to look at is the bike itself. Your front fork has a big impact on the feeling of your ride. If you ride a road bike, a carbon fork will absorb road chatter and provide a smoother ride, while on a mountain bike a suspension fork will help you ride over tree roots and rocks without shaking your hands numb.
Optimize your saddle position
Make sure your saddle position is correct: if your saddle is tilted too far forward, extra weight could fall onto your hands and cause extra pressure and pain. Your saddle should be horizontal or only very slightly tilted forward.
Use correct posture
To keep your hands and wrists healthy, it is important to have a good general riding posture. While riding, your elbows should be slightly bent, your back should be slightly arched, and your shoulders should be engaged. In general, use your muscles to support your weight, not your bone structure -- you will thank yourself when you avoid the creaky old bones syndrome!
During and after a long ride, take the time to stretch out your hands and wrists. This will improve circulation, loosen up muscles and tendons, and should help alleviate the effects of long rides.