A couple of months ago, I began training for my first triathlon. I enthusiastically got on my bike and was ready to take on the world. I rode almost every day for 2 weeks, until I noticed my left wrist started to hurt. As a chiropractor, I diagnosed what was wrong as the beginnings of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel, which is generally felt as pain on the inside of your wrist with occasional numbness or tingling in your first 3 fingers, is caused by inflammation where your nerve (the median nerve) crosses from your forearm to your wrist. Cycling can put your wrist into a position of extension as you grab the handlebars.
Over a prolonged period of time, this extension can pull on your nerve, eventually producing inflammation and causing the pain you feel. Even though I’m new to the cycling/triathlon world, I realized quickly how common this is. Every time I would mention to a cyclist I have wrist pain, immediately they would say, “Carpal Tunnel?”
I have had to adjust my hand position to take the stretch off the nerve. This had helped alleviate some pain, but typically a soft tissue technique like Active Release Technique or Graston Technique are needed to break down any adhesions or scar tissue built up in that area. This will speed up the healing process now and help prevent injury in the future.
So for any cyclists out there, the easiest advice I can give is to try to get your wrist in as much of a neutral position as possible. Limit as much write extension as possible. Also look for a chiropractor in your area that does Active Release or Graston Technique.