Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Wrist is Jacked

On the left: Painful wrist                                      On the right: natural wrist

Lately I've noticed a painful burning sensation in my wrist. I've felt something like it before, from spending way too much time in front of the keyboard pounding the keys way too hard, without paying attention to ergonomics. But this was a new type of pain, sharp, like something had changed, but I couldn't really think of anything that had changed. I still type too much, but I make an effort to use good keyboard and mouse ergonomics, including changing my position, and taking breaks, and anyway this didn't feel the same. 

Today the reason hit me, and I felt a little slow when I finally got it, but anyway it became very clear that riding an hour or so per day with my left wrist in the position in the left side of the picture is going to take a toll. I wasn't riding like that consciously, it's just kind of how my wrist ended up, but that has to be it. I repositioned so that my arm and hand created the more neutral position in the picture on the right, and I felt instantly more comfortable, wrist-wise. And in about ten seconds I also figured out why some people use those Ergon grips: the position on the right requires me to carry most of the weight on the inside of my hand near the webbing of my thumb, with the outside just slightly brushing the grip. 

Different handlebar configurations are also an option. I know when I ride road bars this sort of thing is never an issue because of all the different positions that are possible.  I don't think I want to switch to one of the less conventional style of bars, but on the other hand I have fenders and a rack, so maybe some swept bars are needed to complete the picture.

So I'm going to try a few different solutions and see which one works. Let me know if you have any suggestions for things to try out for keeping a good ergonomic position with the hands and wrists while riding. Number one I know that I have to straighten out that left wrist into a more natural and neutral position. That picture on the left: ouch! I can't even look at it. What the heck were my hand and arm thinking, jacking my wrist into that position? Stupid limbs. Get up. Go ride.


  1. I don't ride a mountain bike, but I have seen mtn bike handlebars with bar-end extenders that provide alternate hand positions.

    When you mentioned pounding the keyboard, I envisioned Jerry Lee Lewis. Sorry to hear it is from typing. Hope it gets better soon.

  2. Ergon grip with bar end.
    Pricey, but I think others have come out with same design for less.
    Offers different hand positions and supports wrist.
    For economy, just some bar ends. Almost like riding on the hoods.
    My bars also have a 17 degree sweep.
    Feels a bit more natural.

  3. You might try something like a On-One Mary bar. It's swept back but should look good on your mountain bike.

  4. The little toe on my left foot is jacked. Unfortunately, the shoe covers it up, so it'll be harder for me to know the JOY of feeling slow when I finally GET how to fix it.

  5. Yes it would have been better if I was reporting repetitive stress injury because I pound the piano like Jerry Lee. Oh well. Thank you for the suggestions and ideas. I'm going bar ends first, only because I have some in the parts box (see tomorrow's post I think), and free sounds good right now. If that doesn't fix it, I think next would be Ergons, then swept bar, then On_One_Mary. Steve A when I jacked my own little toe a couple of months ago, I had to buddy tape it with a wrap of foam tape for about seven weeks. I'm not sure what all the functions are that the pinky toes perform, but those little buggers sure know how to send pain signals wee wee wee all the way home.


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