uso de la bicicleta - dolor en las manos

Impairments in the hand and wrist, due to the misuse of the bicycle

In this new boom of sustainable mobility, bicycles have been protagonists and are currently used for different purposes around the world. Some people use them as part of a lifestyle, others for recreation or sports, or there are also those who use it as a means of transportation.

The bicycle is useful and easy to ride, for both men and women, since from an early age (between 3 and 4 years), people start to use them. However, whoever uses this vehicle is not free from presenting health risks or complications, due to factors such as: repetitive movements, falls, injuries due to an inadequate adjustment of the height of the elements (handlebar or saddle), among others. And this is how, according to some studies, 64% of fractures that occur when using the bicycle, involve the upper part of the body.

Injuries from the misuse of the bicycle that appear on the hand are not the only ones, there are also the compressions of the ulnar nerve. This nerve is compressed in the palm area of the hand due to poor grip of the handlebars, which exerts pressure on the nerve, mainly when doing this activity for long periods of time.

The pressure of the mentioned nerve becomes much higher, when the grip of the drop bar (handlebar of a road bike) is grasped from the drop and not from the ramp or the hook, hence, for its prevention the use of padded gloves is recommended to avoid such compression. In addition, the use of gloves with gel is also recommended to relieve pressure on the hand, however, this one is less effective in reducing pressure off the hand. 

Some of the causes that may generate health complications due to the incorrect use of the bicycle are:

– The use of poorly adjusted or worn gloves.

– The use of a non-padded handlebar or a hard one that doesn´t amortize the bumps of the road. 

– The way the handlebar is held.

– Avoiding the frequent change of the positions of the hands.

– Having a bad posture when riding the bicycle.

– Riding intensively for more than four days, without giving space for muscle recovery.

Some complications of mountain biking vs road biking

The handlebars of the bicycle for mountain biking do not allow to change the position of your hands frequently, which can lead to increasing symptoms of pain and tingling in the area of the ulnar nerve.

As for road biking, depending on the type of grip of the handlebars, there may be a greater of lesser pressure on the ulnar nerve, which can be avoided by using gloves, either with gel or padded ones.

The bicycle is deed an important means of transport, moreover, it is also a protagonist of sport and healthy lifestyle habits, so as a doctor and hand surgeon specialist I invite everyone to take into account these appropriate recommendations, which will always be of help when making a good use of the bicycle.

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