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I've been cycling for several years, but recently I developed calluses on the pads of my palms. I'm referring to small raised lines, similar to those you would get from weightlifting. And, by the location I mean: the start of the raised part of the palm which controls the thumb, near the middle of the palm.

These calluses appeared "overnight", and although I'm not sure why, I had spent some time caring for my bike (handling oils and lubricants) and then cycled quite a lot in grim, wet weather. They appeared as a result of that.

Since these have developed, they are irritated by the pressure I put on my hands through cycling on a road bike (I usually cycle 20km each day) - and so, they are not getting any better and may be getting worse over time.

I'm interested to know any strategies for relieving the pressure on this part of my hands.

For example, will changing my bike setup change where I put pressure on my hands? How can I set that up?

I use drop handlebars, so where should I grip the handlebars to minimise pressure on my hands?

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

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The main thing, on drops, is to change your hand position frequently. On the horizontal a few minutes, then on the hoods, then on the drops, maybe some time spent with your hands on the "elbows" coming off the horizontal, etc. This is the main advantage of drops -- multiple hand positions. The aero position is a bonus. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 24 '12 at 12:04
And definitely changing setup changes the pressure on your hands, but it's a delicate balance between the various factors that determine "proper setup", and, contrary to what many will say, there is no "ideal" setup that optimizes everything. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 24 '12 at 12:06
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Use a tighter glove that can't slide against your palm. Use the hoods more than the bar tops. A bicycle fitting or perhaps just a stem with some rise could help reduce pressure on hands.

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thanks, a tighter glove is a suggestion I hadn't thought about. – Ronald Mar 24 '12 at 12:14
I used to have sore hands (not calluses) and what solved my problem was to stop using gloves at all. Just an idea! – heltonbiker Mar 24 '12 at 20:21

If they did really appear over night you may want to consult your doctor as it may be a symptom of something more serious.But if you mean it occurred over a week or two you might try changing gloves.If you got lubricant on your hands and in the gloves it may be an allergic reaction that happens every time you put them on.There is also the possibility that you have developed an allergy to the glove itself.

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I suspect that the main cause is riding in the rain. Being wet increases the friction between glove and bar and between palm and glove. You then unconsciously "take advantage" of the increased friction to hold your hand at an angle of rotation relative to the bar that would not be possible dry. The skin of your palm gets "scrunched up" as it resists twisting on the bar.

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that seems very likely, thanks! – Ronald Mar 24 '12 at 14:54

As Toolbiker said, tighter glove sound like a good idea.

I also suggest using a thin glove without padding, put the padding on you bar instead, maybe by wrapping another layer of bar tape over it. Also, the increased diameter of the bar with some more tape may give you a more relaxed grip and dissipate forces over a larger area of your hand.

You could also consider slightly lowering your saddle. This should shift a bit of your weight from the bars to your saddle. But, obviously don't overdo it because you'll end up breaking your knees instead if you go too low.

You can also get plenty of hand creams which you could apply after cycling to try and help the skin recover. Again though, its also true that you could soften the skin too much... the callouses probably have actually developed to thicken your skin and give your hand underneath more protection.

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