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Cycling and wrist pain

Hand and wrist pain is a common complaint of many cyclists. It can often be caused by guyons canal syndrome or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Guyons Canal Syndrome

The ulnar nerve travels down from your neck, through your arm to the hand and can become compressed from pushing on the handlebar of the bike.

This can result in guyons canal syndrome which affects the nerve at the wrist. When it is encountered in cyclists due to repetitive trauma, it is referred to as handlebar palsy.

Symptoms of guyons canal syndrome

The symptoms of guyons canal syndrome (handlebar palsy) are:

- Numbness
- Tingling
- Weakness
- Cramping
- Pain
- Motor limitation

Treatment for guyons canal syndrome

The use of anti-inflammatories, support from a splint and a break from cycling may help relieve pressure and pain. However if pain persists then surgery to decompress the ulna nerve may help.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel is the compression of the median nerve and results from overuse when the median nerve on the palm is compressed, causing inflammation and pain.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:

- Pins and needles
- Tingling
- Waking from sleep in pain
- Lose sensation in your fingers
- Pain radiating up your arm
- Weakness

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome

You may benefit from preventing your wrist from being fully flexed or fully extended and can wear a wrist splint for that, as well as avoiding cycling for a short period of time.

However, if symptoms progress we can look at steroid injections to help ease the pain, or carpal tunnel decompression surgery to release the sheath over the nerve to allow it more space to move without discomfort.


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