Mountain Bike & Wrist Pain

Mountain Bike & Wrist Pain
While you may think of cycling as a lower-body sport, it's not uncommon for your upper limbs to suffer overuse injuries. Handlebar palsy is one condition that causes wrist and arm pain, especially for mountain bikers who take more impact from bumpy trails.


Handlebar palsy is a condition that results from the inflammation of the ulnar nerve.



Handlebar palsy is named so because the wrist pain derived from the condition is common to cyclist who spend a lot of time with their wrists on their handlebars. It is the common name for ulnar neuropathy.

Ulnar Nerve

The ulnar nerve, or funny bone nerve, runs along the ulnar bone down to the end of your pinky finger.


Symptoms include tingling and numbness along the forearm that extend through your wrist and even to your little finger.


The ulna nerve becomes inflamed at the wrist after absorbing too much vibration from your bike's handlebars.


With correct sizing and setup on your bike, you're less likely to put too much pressure on your wrists. Have a bike tech check out your riding positions to correct problems before they turn into pain.


Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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