Help! I can't feel my left hand!

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11 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I just completed a ride from (near)Rutland Vt. to Poughkeepsie. Aprox 200 miles in two days and I seem to have lost most of the strength in my left hand some of the feeling. Has anyone else experienced this problem after long rides?


Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

I've been through this a bit. Randonneures who ride 1200k get it lots and many switch to bar end shiftes because it prevents them from even shifting a brake lever shifter. OUCH!!

Generally, I solved my problem by using good gel gloves (PI gel lites), gel bar tape, constantly varying my arm position (Do you have drop bars that allow several positions?), stretching while off and on the bike and strength training - push-ups, weights, etc. Also, try adjusting your form - bend the elbows, put more weight on the saddle than the bars, vary the hand contact points.

If you need more, you can buy foam rubber bar tape - or, cheaper, 1 inch pipe insulation, cut it and tape it on the bars for extra comfort, if at a loss of style!


Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)
Sounds Familiar but ....

you might throw that question out at the a few Randonneur lists ( or

Several local randonneurs have had similar symptoms - but I'm not sure about the loss of strength in the hand. Nerve damage is how it was diagnosed professionally. The solution was: stop riding.

The question is: Do you ride that distance often? Were you prepared? Maybe this was a one-time problem.

Yes, John was correct that riders experience problems after a 1200K - but you only did 200 miles.

You might want to get it checked out.

diane goodwin

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
This might help

When I've had some nerve problems, I found that Solgar B Complex Stress Formula vitamins seem to speed recovery.

Also, keep in mind that while it's likely that the problem is caused by pressure on nerves in your hands, it could be a spinal impingment on the part of the nerve that goes to your hand.

Anonymous's picture
Goose Neck (not verified)

You have too much weight on your hands.

Forget gel gloves, thick bar padding, etc. That's just treating the symptom, not the cause.

Get a shorter and/or higher stem, take some weight off your bars, and breathe a sigh of relief.

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)
yes and no

Yes, Goose, that might be the cause/solution. However, aside from raising the bar height, one should also strengthen the body. That's how to get better, stronger, fitter ... along with what you said. Jeez, if there are riding problems, switch to a tricycle?? NO ... !!! Make some bike changes AND get yourself stronger - without further injury.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Bend your elbows

Let your arms act as shock absorbers. Stiff arms can cause a multitude of problems - hands, neck, back, shoulders ... probably flat tires, too.

Anonymous's picture
Chaim Caron (not verified)

Hi Rich,
I asked my OT about this. She said that you will recover by yourself if you just give the hand a rest, you probably pinched a nerve. It's probably nothing serious or permanent. However, it would be a good idea to see a doctor.
You mentioned that you were putting more weight on your hands due to the frame geometries. This is probably the cause. Sounds this problem was caused by an ill-fitting geometry.
Good luck with the recovery!

Anonymous's picture
Ben (not verified)
Help! I can't feel my left hand!

- See a doctor. ASAP.

Might be nothing, then again,
might not..

Maybe natures way of telling you
somethings very wrong..

Good Luck..

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)

Thanks for all of your help. I going to give my doctor a call. The feeling is back but still kind of weak and shaky.

As far as some of your questions. Yes I do ride alot but usually not back to back centuries. My position is pretty slack by roadie standards. The top of my drop bars are about level with my seat. However, for this ride I borrowed a friend's post and saddle because he has a Carradice saddle bag. Felt his post/saddle forced me forward, hence placing more weight on my hands.

I'll keep you posted.


Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
search engine

Here is a similar thread with some good info from a few months ago.

The only other thing I would look at is why only the left side? One arm/leg longer? Favoring one side when riding? Saddle off center / too high? stem/bar too low? etc...

Good luck

Anonymous's picture
Chris Taeger (not verified)

Rich, you have diagnosed the cause.

With a different seat post & saddle, your body geometry on your bike was changed

It's amazing how even just a seat post can change your comfort. I switched to a different seat post, which clamped the seat a couple of centimeters forward. By then raising up the post 1.5 or 2 cm's, I was able to reestablish my optimum leg stroke length. But until I raised up, there was discomfort, though not in my hands

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