Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,124

    Elbow pain (Ulnar nerve / funny bone)

    I've searched the forums but can't find my exact problem. I get elbow pain while riding. All the posts I've found are tennis elbow from riding, but that is definitely not what I have.

    This pain is in my funny bone and only on my left arm. I've researched it online and feel pretty sure it's the ulnar nerve, which runs right through the cubital tunnel (aka funny bone).
    The pain I get is kinda similar to wacking your funny bone but without the tingling. I don't get any tingling or numbness in my arm an hand. Just a stiffness and aching pain in my elbow.
    This occurs after riding just a few miles and happens whether I'm in my drop bars or on my brake hoods. I also use aerobars as that gives me 3 options to rotate and not remain in one position too long.

    I'm pretty consious to keep my arms bent and not locked. And oddly enough, I don't get this AT ALL when mountain biking, even long distances and really technical riding.

    Anyone ever heard of this? I tried researching it, however ulnar nerve pain is typically assoicated with hand pain. If you search "cycling ulnar pain" the results are all about pinching of the ulnar nerve in the hand from the handlebars. Which is not my problem.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    12
    I have the same pain pretty much all the time. I had an Ulnar Nerve release on my left elbow in 2009, the pinch was due to an old Hockey Injury that turned into both Golf and Tennis Elbow. Ice, and Ibuprofen are the only ways it goes away, yes its annoying pain more than anything but the Ice and IB should help.

  3. #3
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,124
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajl17 View Post
    I have the same pain pretty much all the time. I had an Ulnar Nerve release on my left elbow in 2009, the pinch was due to an old Hockey Injury that turned into both Golf and Tennis Elbow. Ice, and Ibuprofen are the only ways it goes away, yes its annoying pain more than anything but the Ice and IB should help.
    I wish I could pin point an event that caused it. I remember wacking my funny bone (like over a year ago). I can't remember if it was my right or left though, but it brought tears to my eyes. I kinda think that was the cause, but don't remember the riding pain happening to correlate the two.

    Have you ever tried an elbow brace? I've tried wrapping it in an ace bandage while on the trainer but didn't notice any benefit.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    12
    I only used it to compress swelling after hockey games my senior year of College. I have gotten used to it but it will flare up pretty bad after a long ride 50+ miles so I will pop some Tylenol and Ice it. I don't want to go through the surgery again, I did loose feeling in my ring and pinky finger on my right hand thus the surgery. My left is getting worse but will put off.

    I would jsut ice after rides when it hurts and Tylenol. Trainer is always worse for me more pressure on my hands.

  5. #5
    Bike Enthusiast
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    730
    Not to sound silly but have been riding a lot of miles lately? Have you taken a long break? I get some soreness in the arms and wrist for the first couple of weeks when starting the riding season. It just takes some time to get the muscles re-acquainted. Not sure if this is the issue or not, just thought I would throw it out there.
    2013 Specialized Allez Compact
    2014 Specialized Hard Rock Sport Disc 29
    2012 Specialized Crux Skittles
    2013 Fuji Finest 1.1C (Wife's)

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tarwheel2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,847
    I started having bad elbow pains a couple of summers ago. Initially I thought it was from kayaking because I was doing a lot of that then. However, the pain persisted in the fall after I had quit paddling. Then it finally dawned on me that it could be due to cycling. I checked all of the measurements on my bikes and realized that the saddle on my main bike for long weekend rides was about 1-2 cm farther back than the saddles on my other bikes. Also, I got a new frame about that time and the LBS measured my knee-over-pedal position and all of my saddles were farther back than ideal. Long story short, I moved all of my saddles closer to the handlebars and the elbow pain went away almost immediately.

  7. #7
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,124
    Quote Originally Posted by smoothie7 View Post
    Not to sound silly but have been riding a lot of miles lately? Have you taken a long break?
    Definitely not that. This started last summer. I haven't rode all winter. At least 3-4 months off. I've only started back on the trainer about a month ago. But the pain was still there.

    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel2 View Post
    Then it finally dawned on me that it could be due to cycling. I checked all of the measurements on my bikes and realized that the saddle on my main bike for long weekend rides was about 1-2 cm farther back than the saddles on my other bikes.
    I got rid of my bike from last year and got a new one for this season. Same problem. Both of them were set up as similar as I could to my MTB (which causes no problems) but it didn't help.
    I had initially thought it was a saddle position problem. I did move it a little closer but made no difference.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    6

    Unhappy

    Hi there. Sorry to resurrect an old thread like this, but I just wondered if you'd had any joy with your elbow pain?

    I have exactly the same thing and have had it off-and-on for many years.

    I normally ride a mountain bike and when I first got a road bike years ago the pain started. After 6 months I gave up and got rid of the road bike but I would still get the pain now and again mostly when riding my motorbike, but almost never on the mountain bike.

    Fast forward many years and and I just took the plunge and bought another road bike, Giant Defy 1 as it's more upright and hopefully will be less likely to cause pain. Well, I've only ridden it once and already I can feel the familiar twinge in my ulnar nerve.

    I'm going to see Steve Hogg (renowned bike fitter) and get a professional fitting in the hope that will help but I'm already fearing the worst.


    So back to my original question. Have you have any luck treating yours?


    Cheers for now....

    Al.

  9. #9
    I should be riding.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    30
    I got a similar pain when I decided to slam my handlebars on my hybrid and rode with a locked arem (no bend) 27 miles. Been 3 months or so and still hurts.
    PATRICK
    '12 Bianchi Infinito
    '12 Trek FX 7.2

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    800
    I currently have golfing elbow on my right arm. My chiropractor started using a laser treatment to see if we can solve the problem in the offseason. If not, i'm going to get surgery. This is the one reason I recently moved to a shorter stem, the stretch was killing me during rides.

  11. #11
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,124
    Quote Originally Posted by alrsv1 View Post
    So back to my original question. Have you have any luck treating yours?
    It's a lot better. I'd say 90%. Bothers me once in a while but it's more a stiffness feeling than a pain feeling.
    The only thing I did was concentrate on not sleeping with my elbow bent and keeping my arms bent while riding. I don't know if that's what made it better or if it just got better on it's own.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Tspeters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    112
    I am also experiencing the same pain in my elbow. I have a Jamis Coda hybrid. I originally chose the hybrid for the flat bar to minimize wrist pain from a reoccurring tendinitis. I ended up rotating the bars so the ergonomic grips were pointed more forward. That helped my wrist but then I started feeling elbow pain. I would catch myself locking my elbows so I try to focus on relaxing my arms and also moved my seat forward. If I focus on relaxing my arms it seems to help. Now I am test riding road bikes looking for more hand positions to ease my wrist pain but noticed on at least one ride that the road bike also left me with some elbow pain. The wrist doesn't seem to be as much a problem now as the elbow. I'm not use to the drops on a road bike (first ride) and wasn't fitted on the test rides at the LBS other than seat height so I am hoping to move to a road bike and definitely correct the wrist issue and continue to work on the elbow issue. Any other thoughts on the elbow pain would be appreciated.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tspeters; 10-26-2012 at 05:38 AM.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: 9W9W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    833
    I had a bad case of this exact problem (left elbow) when I first started riding... on an ill fitted bike. Post adjustments everything is OK, though when I experimented with bar reach/height what I found replicated the problem was angling the bars/hoods towards you and not parallel with the ground. The angle of the wrists tends to either load up the elbow with forces or pass them through to the body.

    It goes without saying but locked elbows and riding with straight arms will also cause your elbows to hurt.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    52

    similar elbow pain

    Mine is not quite as you've described. More of a tightness above the elbow on both sides now. I have to continuously flick my arms out to relieve the pressure. I've been riding the same bikes without any adjustment for quite awhile without any problems until recently. Seems to dissipate some after riding for awhile. Probably just another ache that I'll have to learn to live with.

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: roadworthy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,142
    Barring any real physical deficiencies, I would say that 90% of all pain cycling is due to set up. Not only do many road bike cyclists not know how to contact the handlebar but their posture and position on the bike places much too much weight on their hands.
    Before I learned the nuances of riding both off and on road did my hands heal. I have a pretty acute tennis elbow injury caused by tennis and also aggravated by golf. I cycle long distance virtually pain free. This isn't without exhaustive trial and error in fit. A simple theorem to live by is...if you have pain...stop and change or further injury is probable. If you ride a beach cruiser with all your weight on your saddle and not the handlebar, your arms and hands will likely recover. From an extreme upright position, you need to incrementally move toward a conventional road bike position aka a 45 deg torso angle in profile on the hoods. The greater the incline of the torso, the more saddle set back you need to balance your weight.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by roadworthy View Post
    Barring any real physical deficiencies, I would say that 90% of all pain cycling is due to set up.

    I am counting on you being right!

    I had the bike fitting with Steve Hogg in Sydney last week. He found a few issues with my hips/posture and foot size discrepancy which resulted in me having an 8mm shim fitted under my right cleat and some arch support being installed in my cycling shoes, also the right cleat had to be re-drilled so it could be moved further back than the left.

    Its impossible to say if my bike setup was badly out as it was a brand new bike I was being fitted for and I had never ridden it, or any other road bike for that matter for about 7 years.

    I've been told to take it easy for 2 weeks or so and not go above 70% effort to allow the muscles to get used to the different position etc and so far I've only had one ride but it felt pretty good. I didn't feel any pain but I was being really conscious about using my core to keep the weight of my arms, so who knows what it will be like if I relax a bit. Time will tell I guess.

  17. #17
    Slippery Old Devil
    Reputation: oily666's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2,640

    I had the same pain in my right elbow

    I traced it to the fact I was holding more weight with my right arm because I was favoring my left shoulder which was f-ed up all of 2010. Even though the shoulder injury was healed by 2011, I was still leaning on the right arm because of muscle memory. In addition to the extra weight, I was also holding my right elbow in a tensed mode to maintain balance.

    That said, I'd still look at set up in your case.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Tspeters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    112
    Still riding my hybrid but based on some advice from my LBS adjusted my seat forward a little bit. First adjustment did not make much difference so I adjusted it a few more mm forward again before my last ride and adjusted the tilt upward just a hair. After 25 mile ride this weekend no pain at all! I'm thinking by rotating the handle bars forward earlier to compensate for my wrist I had created a longer reach to the bars and adjusting the seat forward now offset the increased distance. Surprising what difference a few mm can make.

  19. #19
    other
    Reputation: CHARLES M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    36
    Loads of issues are not bike related...

    The Ulnar nerve problem is one of em. Lots of times people that spend a lot of computer time resting their arms on desk edges get it. Another has to do with repetitive things that keep the arm bent for long periods.

    At that point you hop on a bike and because you rest your hands in line with the hoods a lot and put your weight on your arms and hands that way, it focuses the pain.

    PT lots of times takes care of it. I use foam pads at the PC to relieve it too...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Sea Otter Classic

Hot Deals

Contest


Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook