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Ring and Little Finger Numbness In Cyclists

If you

  • cycle quite a bit around, eg home >> work/school/events >> home
  • enjoy road cycling which can last anything from 1-5 hours single trip...

...then does your little finger and half length-wise of your ring finger feel occasionally or constantly

  • numb?
  • tingling?
  • lack of sensation?
  • lack of strength?
  • stiff?

If yes, there is a good chance that your ulnar nerve (see diagram) is being compressed.

The two main reasons for this ulnar nerve compression

You either have:

#1 too much pressure/compression over a period of time over the side of your palm (the fleshy part of your palm under your little and ring finger) OR

#2 you've been extending your wrist (like in motorbiking or cycling) for long periods of time

What you can do about your ulnar nerve compression now

What we recommend is to immediately:

  1. Wear padded gloves to decrease the compression
  2. Add sufficient comfort and padding to your handle bars
  3. Do ulnar nerve stretching
  4. When you're cycling/motorbiking:

    a. frequently change hand positions
    b. take frequent breaks (read this article on micro-breaks)

    Both a and b are mainly about avoiding prolonged gripping.

However, if you notice that the numbness, lack of sensation or tingling:

  • doesn't get better with these changes or
  • seems to be getting worse despite these changes

- then I recommend that you connect with us to see our senior hand therapist, who is more than able to treat your ulnar nerve compression. In some cases, the nerve compression may be more complex and can be traced higher up to the neck (in this case you'd see our senior physiotherapist too).