I've recently started biking serious amounts (to me, anyways, 12 miles or so ) and I've noticed a pain in my right hand, near the center of where the wrist connects to the palm. It hurts when pressure is applied, and sometimes otherwise. Could this be from biking? My first thought is carpal tunnel, because I also work on computers for a living, but I'd really like to avoid having carpal tunnel.

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    There is a nerve that runs through the "heel" of the palm,and prolonged pressure on it can produce discomfort that persists for days. The solution is to change your hand position frequently. Dec 14, 2015 at 15:05
  • @DanielRHicks that's what it's called. I've also got similar pain in my right foot, probably from lack of bicycling shoes.
    – Hellreaver
    Dec 14, 2015 at 15:08
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    If switching your hand positions around does not do the trick, you may consider getting a professional bike fitting done. If the reach, height & angle of your bars relative to your seat position is not right for your body, you are much more likely to develop discomfort over long distances (esp. like the 80 miles you mentioned wanting to ride in your other post).
    – renesis
    Dec 14, 2015 at 15:34
  • I also found it was useful to see a physiotherapist. The firl I saw specialised in bicycles.
    – PeteH
    Dec 14, 2015 at 16:50
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    It's quite common in the beginning to have aching wrists, hands and lower arm because beginners have the tendency to put too much weight on the bar. The more you progress, the more strength you'll build in your torso thus lowering the stress on the arms. As @Daniel R Hicks puts it: frequent position changes is one way to fight it.
    – Carel
    Dec 14, 2015 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


This is most likely because you are putting your weight right on the median nerve (see first picture). Padded gloves may help a bit, but I suspect your hand position is more likely to be the problem.

Median nerve

Other common hand nerve problems with riding can compression of the ulnar nerve, which will present itself as a different area of sensation than what you are experiencing (second picture)

ulnar nerve

If you are using road bars

I remember you were riding a road bike in the Legs are very weak question.

Next time you ride, watch how you place your hands on the handle bars. If you are using road bars, beginners often place their hands right on the bend between the Tops and the Ramps (see second picture). This would put pressure directly on the median nerve. Try riding on the tops, ramps, hooks, and drops instead of the bend between the tops and ramps. It is also good to rotate through the four hand positions rather than using just one position. You may also find that adjusting your cockpit dimensions can make some of all these positions more accessible and comfortable.

enter image description here

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    @Frisbee - not sure if my answer is clear but I mentioned four different hand positions to use rather than the bend between the tops and ramps.
    – Rider_X
    Dec 15, 2015 at 2:08
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    @Frisbee followed by four different hand positions. He means 'just' as in only, and without making up positions
    – Hellreaver
    Dec 15, 2015 at 3:04
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    @Frisbee I updated the text to better clarify the different hand positions available and added an explicit statement about rotating through hand positions.
    – Rider_X
    Dec 15, 2015 at 3:30
  • Whats the nerve for the other side of the hand - the non-blue bit in your picture?
    – Criggie
    Dec 15, 2015 at 4:23
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    @Criggie - Ulnar nerve. I added another figure for interest's sake.
    – Rider_X
    Dec 15, 2015 at 5:06

There are a couple of things you can try before throwing down serious money on a professional fit or a new bike (side note, if you buy a new bike from a shop be sure to negotiate a free fitting session if it doesn't come with one automatically).

First, the most obvious thing to do is to get some proper bicycle specific gloves with beefy gel pads on the palms. If full finger gloves are two warm for you go with the fingerless type. Seriously though don't skimp on the gloves.

The second option which is a little more experimental in nature is to lower your seat a little bit. This will take a little bit of pressure off of your hands, maybe even enough to solve your problem completely. But you have to be careful with this because lowering your seat can put strain on your knees, and your knees are the last thing you want to injure from improper fit. If your knees bother you at all, abort mission and raise your seat.


If you're still having issues after that, it might be time to look at a proper fitting bike.

  • Instead of lowering the seat, which always has a serious impact on pedalling, a better idea would be to shorten the stem or to go for a stem with a different angle. Most stems can be flipped so that they are angled up instead of down. But for everything you do, always change just one parameter at the time and see what it makes!
    – Carel
    Dec 15, 2015 at 8:35

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