Cycling is commonly associated with nerve injuries, with cyclist’s palsy being the most common one (O’Connor et al., 2013).
Caused by a hyperextended position of the wrist resting on the handlebars or hoods, the ulnar nerve becomes irritated and compressed in the wrist within or distal the Guyon’s canal. This is due to pressure exerted on the hands on the handlebars- intensified when riding on rough terrain.
Cyclist’s palsy is a familiar affection of long-distance cyclists, mostly due to over training. Another name is handlebar palsy.
Management is mainly conservative including resting, special gloves (cushioning), padded handlebars and modification of the hand positioning; individual sizing/fitting of the handlebar and riding position, regular change of hand position on the bars; heat and cold therapy to calm the pain and reduce swelling, electric stimulation, low level laser ultrasound and soft tissue techniques as well as specific exercising to strengthen the hand muscles and small muscles.
Surgery is rare, but may include decompression of the nerve in the so called Guyon’s canal. (O’Connor et al., 2013).
O’Connor F.G., 2013, ACSM’s Sports Medicine: A Comprehensive Review, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, p: 47