Numb hands and fingers

I suffer with tingling and numbness in my hands and fingers when riding, particularly on the turbo. This is despite having had a bike fit and quite thick bar tape. Anybody else have this problem, or any tips to alleviate the issue?

When you have a bike that is perfectly comfortable outside, and then leads to problems when ridden inside, I feel it is important to look at what is different. When you do, there are two key differences.

  1. Lack of wind resistance on the body riding inside. That is a difference that I find because you end up with slightly more weight on the hands and arms, because you don’t have the wind pushing your upper body back.
  • To compensate for that, I recommend that people raise the front axle about 1"-2" [25mm-50mm] higher than the rear axle. This shifts the weight slightly back onto the saddle and off the hands and arms.



I’ve found that my bib short braces can pinch in just at my pectoral muscle and restrict blood flow to my hands enough to cause issues with numbness which usually starts in my little finger. Wearing a skinsuit solves the problem for me.


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I have pretty severe nerve damage in one hand from a crash a few years ago, I have similar issues, I find that I end up changing positions, even just slightly, to give my hands a brief shakeout much more often on the trainer, than I do outside. I have been working on strengthening my core to try and put less weight on my hands overall, and that seems to be helping a lot.

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I’ll second what mcneese.chad said about raising the front wheel. I had issues with numbness in my hands, particularly my thumbs, and undercarriage until I started adjusting the height of the front wheel. I used wood blocks, since I have varying thicknesses in a workshop next to the pain cave, but it was like flipping a switch when I found the right height. I’d make an adjustment at the beginning of a ride on the trainer, and reevaluate at the end, making adjustments before the next ride, and when the height was right, the numbness stopped immediately.

Best of luck to you! For reference, I didn’t make any adjustments to the bike fit, just incremental adjustments to the height of the front wheel.


Thanks for the input, guys. I raised the front wheel a few millimetres before last night’s workout and initial impressions are promising (albeit it was quite a dynamic session and the problem is worse with less active workouts). I’ll keep experimenting.


Possibly ulnar nerve:

I’ve had issues, and resolved by changing my hand position every couple minutes while riding.


I have had nerve issues on and off in my hands. What I eventually learned was that I was experiencing the symptoms on my bike but the cause was my office chair. Took the arm rests off it and the problem faded with time. Nerve fibers repair very slowly so there is no instantaneous fix if they have been damaged.

I do recommend the grail glove from Specialized. It was developed specifically to mitigate pressure on the ulnar nerve. Fantastic glove.

And like everyone else said, vary your grips and move your hands around a lot. Good luck!