Steroid injections for bike-induced Carpal Tunnel

chemgirl

Well-Known Member
Over the years of riding, I have developed bike-induced Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. I think I’ve read others on the board experiencing the same problem. Spending the last several summers down-hilling has exasperated the issue. I also suffer from Raynaud’s Disease. So, between the two, I can’t do any type of ride anymore without my hands going numb at least once.

Nerve tests (basic electrocution) determined I have severe nerve damage in both hands. My orthopedic surgeon believes this is from bike riding and not Raynauds. He believes surgery will provide relief/comfort. But surgery is not possible until February. Ideally, I would prefer surgery at the beginning of December so that my ‘off-the-bike’ time would be December-February. I am not too keen with the idea of possibly starting Spring off the bike.

So, if I decide to postpone surgery, my orthopedic suggested having steroids injected into my wrists to provide some relief. He thinks I may even get a couple years of relief from the injections. Has anyone had this done? If so, did it help with the bike-numbness at all?
 

Kaleidopete

Well-Known Member
I too have Raynauds, for that I take a blood thinner CLOPIDOGREL BISULFATE.
I also have carpal tunnel. I received the steroid injections a few times with minor relief.
After a few injections they won't do them anymore. So I had surgery on my right hand.
The surgery has fixed the condition in my right hand. My left hand is also bad and I've
had the injections there too, not much help. I disliked the recovery from my right hand surgery
enough that I will not have surgery again on my left hand, I'll just live with it. I need to wear a
brace in order to sleep at night and even then it goes numb sometimes. As far as riding I usually
get about a half mile in before my fingers and hand start going dead. I can ride with one hand and try
and shake it off. Works sometimes, sometimes not. I also had both rotator cuffs done over the years.
Left side went bad again quickly, right side is not as bad, but not good either. I'm done with surgeries.
I don't recover well from them, but that's another story. Good luck in your decision.
 

Morrisd

Member
I’ve been riding off road since early 1990s, and I’ve just assumed that your hands go numb from riding. I don’t think I would do sergury either. I know I have nerve damage in left hand from a work related injury, but even that I refused sergury. The nerve specialist basically said I can move my hand, and if I can handle the pain, he wouldn’t recommend it. So I didn’t get it done. I just ride like I always have, and I shake it out as they go numb.

I will say changing hand position helps with the numbness, I absolutely loved barends for that reason, but they became uncool, so I had to get rid of them. Lol. 🤦‍♂️
 

jimvreeland

Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
Following. I have Ulmer Nerve Entrapment and am putting off treatment until after the ITI. Would like to know how this works out.
 

mattybfat

The Opinion Police
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I been dealing with this issue for years between working in construction and biking for my leisure. 2 things have helped alleviate the numbness.

Bike position
Diet

Since finding sq lab components (a touch points) components maker like ergon, more direct their bars and grips has made the most improvements. The bars I use have 16* sweep so not over the top with 45mm rise. You need to take pressure off the bars and always be mindfully of heavy feet light grip. Modern geometry has become extremely helpful with slacker head and much less slack seat tube.

The other is stay away from foods the promote inflammation such as sugar and high acids. One needs to look at the TB12 foods to stay away from. Can't believe I referenced TB12 but he has managed to stay away from those types of foods. I personally have tested this theory and have had positive results. I know as soon as I start going numb what I've consumed was causing the issue.

Good luck and hope that the shots give you what your looking for.
 

TommyF

Active Member
I just had the surgery 2 weeks ago, Doc says 3 more weeks until I can hit the gym and use the hand more. Relief was instant, cannot wait to ride my bike again without my right had going numb.
 

phillychris498

Well-Known Member
This is a great thread for talking about this common cycling issue. I’ve been struggling with pins and needles and weakness in my hands/wrists, and it sometimes manifests itself into an aching pain on the inside of my elbows. I think it might be posture-related, as I haven’t been able to release tension and pain in my neck. I’ve struggled to get a diagnosis from a doctor to this point.
 

rick81721

Lothar
Interested as well, been having some pain in the left wrist for over a year now but no numbness. Not sure if it's early CT or something else.
 

rick81721

Lothar
The other is stay away from foods the promote inflammation such as sugar and high acids. One needs to look at the TB12 foods to stay away from. Can't believe I referenced TB12 but he has managed to stay away from those types of foods. I personally have tested this theory and have had positive results. I know as soon as I start going numb what I've consumed was causing the issue.

Brady's diet is healthy but his claims about alkaline and anti-inflammatory (i.e. nightshades) are nonsense.

https://www.vox.com/2019/1/30/18203676/tom-brady-diet-book-water
 
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Sheep Dip

New Member
I also have suffered with CT and I’m onto my 5th trigger finger release surgery coming up in 2 weeks. The cortisone shots gave a little relief, but it all came right back in about a month. The CT release was the noticeable improvement. You don’t realize how much is tied into that nerve section. Once the neuropathy sets in, there is no going back. “Dead is dead!”. You must rehab after any of these surgeries to take care of the scar tissue, flexibility and range of motion. I wouldn’t get both wrists done at the same time, ‘cause you can’t clean your can! Good luck with your decision.
 

chemgirl

Well-Known Member
Update. I decided to try the steroid injection in my left hand (the worse hand). The injection itself hurt like hell! I had some bruising for a few days up near the base of my thumb. It has been a couple weeks and so far it feels great! No numbness when I ride or sleep, and that hand would go numb every single night. After talking to my surgeon more, I realized he was going to cut my palm, which I don't want. My hands are about the size of an average 9 year old, so the incision would go pretty high up. He referred me to a surgeon in Philly who will cut the ligament endoscopically. Now it is a waiting game to see how long this relief will last.
IMG_2437.jpg
 

chemgirl

Well-Known Member
After 10 months, the steroids wore off. I'm back to waking up in pain every hour if I ride that day. Ironically, I made it through downhill season just fine, and as soon as I started riding XC again, the numbness started. That's probably a coincidence in timing of the injections. But maybe bike position as well...

For those who experience silmilar issues, I have seen two different surgeons and a nerve specialist who all had their own unique ways to determine whether the nerve damage is coming from wrist, elbow, back or simply joint angle. My issue is not fully CT related becuase my ring and little fingers go numb, in addition to the other three. All three docs are convinced my issue comes from years of riding, and they all seem convinced that the size of my hands played a big role.

This has been a progressing problem for years and I've procrastinated as long as I could tolerate. As mentioned above, dead is dead, so I've decided to have the CT release surgery in hopes to get some relief and prevent more damage. Surgery next month, both hands at the same time. I'll report back on that.
 

f.i.t.nj

Member
I strongly suggest exploring https://activerelease.com/ this modality for the release of nerve entrapments. Depending on how far down the road of degenerative changes the condition already is, it's possible they can help avoid surgery. All of the above mentioned issues can have nerve entrapment areas going up as high as the brachial plexus at the neck or anywhere in-between. Despite where the pain manifests.

An expert manual therapist such as ART providers have the ability to track and free the entire path of the nerve in most cases. It's a pretty common credential in the D.C. and PT landscape. Shouldn't be too difficult to find a local provider. Just ask up front if they have had success treating similar issues.

Good luck..
 

a.s.

Well-Known Member
After 10 months, the steroids wore off. I'm back to waking up in pain every hour if I ride that day. Ironically, I made it through downhill season just fine, and as soon as I started riding XC again, the numbness started. That's probably a coincidence in timing of the injections. But maybe bike position as well...

For those who experience silmilar issues, I have seen two different surgeons and a nerve specialist who all had their own unique ways to determine whether the nerve damage is coming from wrist, elbow, back or simply joint angle. My issue is not fully CT related becuase my ring and little fingers go numb, in addition to the other three. All three docs are convinced my issue comes from years of riding, and they all seem convinced that the size of my hands played a big role.

This has been a progressing problem for years and I've procrastinated as long as I could tolerate. As mentioned above, dead is dead, so I've decided to have the CT release surgery in hopes to get some relief and prevent more damage. Surgery next month, both hands at the same time. I'll report back on that.
I'd wish I'd seen your post a year ago. I have had the same issues for almost 3 years. I too contemplated the injections and surgeries. I was able to finally find relief from simply wearing wrist braces at night to sleep. I know it sounds too simple and may not help you at this point but it really works for me. Mind you, I still have bad wrists and will need surgery at some point, but the braces keep my hands from going numb all night and having to shake them out every few hours. I wake up rested (which helps tremendously with recovery) and without wrist pain. I also noticed there has been less pain and numbness on my bike rides and when I lift weights.

I highly encourage you to try the braces. I use cheap ones from CVS. Anything that'll keep your wrist from bending and pinching the nerves. At least you get some overnight relief until the surgery. Either way good luck and definitely keep us posted.
 
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