elbow pain bike riding


Just you, your bike and the open road.

It doesn’t get much better than that – right?

But what if your bike riding trips as of late have been getting shorter and shorter due to elbow pain?

If this has been happening to you recently, I want to share with you 2 simple adjustments and tips that you can implement so you spend more time riding your bike and less time at home.

These tips also work well for individuals who ride a stationary bike at home or in the gym.

For the obvious reason, the longer you spend on your bike, the greater your chances of developing not only elbow injuries but your risk of falling off your bike and having an accident increases.

This post will focus on how riding your bike can cause pain in your elbows.

Old injuries to your wrist or even you shoulder can have an impact on your elbows.

Most people are not aware of this.

The fact is that all of the muscles and tendons in your wrist and from your shoulders down connect at your elbows.

An old injury to any one of the muscles or tendons along the way can eventually cause pain and discomfort in either your outer or inner elbows when on the road.

If you are suffering from outer elbow pain, check out these 5 steps to erase it fast.

Injuries such as carpal tunnel, torn forearm or bicep muscle, rotator cuff problems can eventually have an impact on your elbows – yet most bike riders hardly ever consider this.

But if this is not the case for you, then here are 2 tips that you can consider and possibly try to help wipe out your elbow pain when riding your bike:

1) Hand, Wrist and Elbow Position 

Straight handlebars are your enemy which means drops are best.

If you are able to place your hands in various positions on your handlebars, then this will help you immensely.

Here’s the thing:

Being able to freely move the position of your hands from time to time allows you to take pressure away from your hand/wrist/elbow tendons, muscles, tendons and joint.

For people who are simply not flexible in the wrists or elbows, or who have has previous injuries, having different areas to place your hands on your handlebars is even more important because these restrictions don’t allow you to hold certain positions for as long as others.

Another thing that is overlooked with regards to your handlebars is the height and distance away from your body.

In 99.9% of the cases where bike riders have elbow pain, this is the likely source!

To secure the most efficient and correct position, you must be able to easily use all hand positions on your handlebars allowing a comfortable bend of your elbows, which takes stress off your elbow joint.

Maintaining an ever so slight bend at your elbows when riding is the way to go.

If you are locking out your elbows, this means that all of the bumps and shocks in the road get transmitted up the bike frame and into your hands, wrists and elbows.

Which all translates into elbow pain!

Here is a great article and video on the optimal handlebar setup.

Maintaing this slight elbow bend ensures that the bumps in the road are neutralized and absorbed by your elbows, just like shock absorbers.

Also it is best practice to keep your elbows in close to your body and not outside of your bike perimeter.

Flailing arms are an accident waiting to happen as you could catch the side mirror of a car or road sign sending you to the ground or even worse to hospital.

If you are used to locking out your elbows, it is pertinent that you take the time to adjust to bent elbows.

Allow yourself some time to adjust to this position because the benefits to your elbows will be huge plus you’ll pain free and you’ll be able to ride for much further distances.

As for wrist position, you should grip the top of your brakes with the handshake position.

This keeps your wrists in a neutral position – no extension or flexion of the wrist!

As for the neutral torso position, your back/torso should be at a 45 degree angle.

This will allow your arms and torso to be at a 90 degree angle.

For those who really want to pick up speed, go down deep on your drops so your back is flat and your forearms and upper arm is at a 90 degree angle.

This allows for maximum power transfer to your legs and less drag.

Below is a video that addresses sore elbows when bike riding:


2) Bike Frame Size

There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to road bikes.

Here is a great road bike frame size calculator that will give you the perfect fit.

Ensuring that your bike is the right size for you will help decrease your chances of injuries such as elbow pain.

Individuals who are riding bikes which are too big for them, will really have to reach and stretch their arms to properly grip and hold the handlebars.

What this does is that it forces you to lock out your elbows when riding.

And we now know that locked elbows is the quick route to pain and discomfort.

You should also know that riding a bike to big for you will force you up off your seat, or what some refer to as the saddle.

This forces you to stand and automatically puts your elbows in a locked out position.

Remaining in this locked arm position, your elbow joints take a beating as there is no way for them to absorb the bumps in the road.

Simply stay agile and flexible on your bike so your joints absorb as much of the impact as possible.

This will allow for a more comfortable ride and less stress on your elbow.

What if you have tried these 2 tips and are still suffering with elbow pain?

This could mean that the damage has already been done and that you really have an injury to your elbow.

But here is some good news in light of your misery.

If the pain in your elbow is on the outer side, so away from your bike when you are riding, then it’s likely that you have an injury known as tennis elbow.

You probably didn’t develop it from riding.

It’s more likely that you got it from doing repetitive tasks over a long period of time.

When you ride your bike, you probably notice it more – correct?

Fortunately, there are some very simple and straightforward steps you can take to heal tennis elbow

And you don’t even have to give up bike riding.

I’m talking about a couple of easy-to-follow techniques that you perform while sitting in a chair watching TV.

Sounds simple right?

Well it is.

Watch this instructional video where you will get 5 steps to ease your elbow pain so you can continue hitting the road with you bike.


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