I recently did a long ride and didn't move my hands enough. The pinky and ring finger on my right hand went numb and the webbing between thumb and index burned and ached.

Two weeks later I still have some of these issues. There is a ton out there about how to prevent ulnar neuropathy. But how long does it typically last?

  • 3
    Worst I had was when I rode a couple of days mainly putting the weight on the heels of my hands. They were numb for several days (long enough that I saw a doc about it), but eventually recovered. Aug 6 '20 at 2:45
  • 4
    I did 4 hours of riding on a pinched peroneal nerve in the left knee. Months later I still have no feeling under my left foot due to nerve damage, and I'm told it might never return . You absolutely don't want to loose sensation permanently - seek medical help either from a bike fit or physiotherapist.
    – Criggie
    Aug 6 '20 at 5:13
  • 1
    I developed the classic ulnar nerve pinch during a week-long bike tour a long time ago. Took a couple of months to subside.
    – Adam Rice
    Aug 6 '20 at 13:27
  • Do you hold your wrist straight when cycling? Aug 6 '20 at 19:49

"Cyclist's Palsy" shouldn't happen at all. Find someone competent to help you fit your bike. My first suggestion is the nose of your saddle it too low causing you to lean forward and put pressure on your hands. Whatever the cause, you need to find it and fix it before you do permanent damage.

  • 1
    Since OP doesn't tell which kind of handlebar the bike has. Frequent position changes of the hand may be more difficult but still possible on a straight bar and easier on a race-type or at least a butterfly touring bar.
    – Carel
    Aug 6 '20 at 7:48
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    @Carel Even on a straight bar, you can grab the bar at a different place, or do some finger stretching, or just take a hand off the bar and shake it for a moment. I think, the key thing that the OP should learn is to not ignore it when their hands start going numb. Aug 6 '20 at 7:58
  • That said, ergonomic grips may also help a lot. Aug 6 '20 at 8:00
  • 2
    Bar ends on the end of my flat bar / hybrid MTB made a huge difference to the comfort levels.
    – Dan K
    Aug 6 '20 at 10:29
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    I know it shouldn't happen. Like I said, there is tons out there about how to fix it and prevent it. The question is E[duration of symptoms | condition]
    – invictus
    Aug 6 '20 at 12:40

I did a bike ride from San Francisco to Santa Monica years ago. It was about 575 over 7 days. On the second day, we were riding through the central vally on compacted dirt and mud. By the end of the data my right middle and ring finger were numb and stayed numb for about 6 weeks.

If you are planning a long ride its worth having a professional check your bike fit. I still have issues with my right hand. But I can't say if it is from cycling or 30 years of IT. But its manageable.

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