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SkeeterPee
09-12-2015, 19:10
The trekking pole thread got me thinking about a problem I have with my poles. When I hold the poles in the standard way, with hand coming up through the loop and holding pole and strap, I eventually have my hand start to go numb. I find it more comfortable to spin my hand once and let it fall to fall to the bottom of the strap. This allows a light hold lower on the pole and the strap is still holding all the weight on the blade side of the hand near the wrist. This configuration seems to be much more comfortable for me. I still try to hold it in the "correct" way, but switch back to the more comfortable position.

Any ideas on getting used to correct position? Or should I just stick with what seems to work?

BirdBrain
09-12-2015, 19:28
The "correct" way should not be too tight. In general, the straps are just kinda' there. They keep things in place as things are moving around and keep the hands from sliding down in case you move around too much. I suspect you are creating a death grip. Relax and loosen things up a bit. If you golf, there is an analogy that might help. When you hold you club, you hold it like a bird. You don't want to squish it or let it get away. Over gripping is a problem. The poles should feel like a natural part of you. After a while, you will forget you are even using them. It is sorta' like shoes. You don't think about them unless something is wrong.

That is my take. Now I await the real answer. :p

SkeeterPee
09-12-2015, 19:42
I certainly don't think I have a death grip on them. the straps are holding my weight not my hands on the pole. I might have had them too tight so I did loosen them up a bit halfway through a 13 mi hike today. Perhaps I could still be holding them more than I should. I'll try further loosening tomorrow.

Dochartaigh
09-12-2015, 20:20
In general, the straps are just kinda' there. They keep things in place as things are moving around and keep the hands from sliding down in case you move around too much.

Many trekking pole straps are actually there to help distribute the weight of your body as you use them. They are an integral part of the design, which is why there is a proper way to put your hand through them from the bottom, and why they're supposed to be a little bit tight (because if they were too loose you wouldn't be helping distribute the weight from your hands to your wrists as well).


To the OP, what kind of straps are they? Thin nylon (not designed to distribute as much weight)? Padded in certain areas (most likely the type specifically designed to distribute the weight)? Either way, I have a feeling they may be hitting a certain nerve or blood vessel causing your hand to go numb. Adjusting the grip like you've been doing might be the best answer for you (as well as - I hope - still having some of the weight distributed to your wrists).

SkeeterPee
09-12-2015, 20:36
Many trekking pole straps are actually there to help distribute the weight of your body as you use them. They are an integral part of the design, which is why there is a proper way to put your hand through them from the bottom, and why they're supposed to be a little bit tight (because if they were too loose you wouldn't be helping distribute the weight from your hands to your wrists as well).


To the OP, what kind of straps are they? Thin nylon (not designed to distribute as much weight)? Padded in certain areas (most likely the type specifically designed to distribute the weight)? Either way, I have a feeling they may be hitting a certain nerve or blood vessel causing your hand to go numb. Adjusting the grip like you've been doing might be the best answer for you (as well as - I hope - still having some of the weight distributed to your wrists).

The straps are nylon with some padding too. here is a link http://www.backcountry.com/black-diamond-trail-trekking-poles-1-pair?CMP_SKU=BLD000U&MER=0406&skid=BLD000U-FIRRD-ONESIZ&CMP_ID=PLA_GOc001&mv_pc=r101&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PLA&mr:trackingCode=D2DC8FD3-75ED-E211-92D4-BC305BF82376&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=c&mr:adType=plaonline&mr:ad=79303893757&mr:keyword&mr:match&mr:filter=148700320117&gclid=Cj0KEQjwms-vBRDlsM7utpaJ47ABEiQAIpKjTKEQl-DvLdFlmx3e7VoauHxMp2ESeb54_-yl88C-Q70aAmz78P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

I had them pretty tight when you come in from the bottom. So perhaps loosing them some is in order.

MuddyWaters
09-12-2015, 20:36
Many trekking pole straps are actually there to help distribute the weight of your body as you use them. They are an integral part of the design, which is why there is a proper way to put your hand through them from the bottom, and why they're supposed to be a little bit tight (because if they were too loose you wouldn't be helping distribute the weight from your hands to your wrists as well).



+

I barely grip me poles at all , the straps support the hand and weight, not any grip. Straps are an integral part of poles. Some choose not to use them due to weight, ignorance, or injury potential in a fall.

squeezebox
09-12-2015, 20:42
If you decide to try gloves with them use full fingered gloves. I tried short fingered bicycle gloves and they did not work right because of the finger length.

Dochartaigh
09-12-2015, 21:14
I had them pretty tight when you come in from the bottom. So perhaps loosing them some is in order.

I'm no expert, but I can tell you how I like mine: I like them tight enough that I only feel pressure from the straps as my hand is gripping the pole. As soon as my hand leaves the pole, the pressure from the straps is barely there any more. I feel this is a good way to tell that when you're gripping the pole and using them, and as your hand is putting pressure on the grip, AND you feel the straps are putting just a little bit of pressure on your wrist, that's the key point when the pressure is equally distributed all across your hand and wrist.

Odd Man Out
09-12-2015, 21:14
I have BD alpine ergo corks. They have very nice straps. They are well padded and they are chiral that is right and left handed so the really fit your hand nicely. I was ambivalent about pole straps until I got these.

BirdBrain
09-12-2015, 21:40
I will leave this debate with a couple of thoughts. Your shoes hold you up. However, if they are too tight you will have problems. Perhaps my description above is a bit unclear. I thought the golf club example would give a proper parallel. The net is littered with stories of what happens when your body weight is distributed to the poles. The poles bend, collapse, or break. The straps help the poles to do their function. Holding the weight of your body is not a normal function of the pole. I challenge people to put their poles on a household scale and push down as you would in a normal step as if you were on the trail. Exaggerate if you like. Push down hard. Put a realistic lateral stress on the pole. Bad things happen when the poles carry a large amount of weight with the lateral stresses that accompany such an event. The normal amount of downward force placed on a trekking pole is somewhere around 25lbs. At least that is what it is on my gait. Yes, this OCD nut has measured it. My straps help distribute that moderate downward force created during normal usage. The straps do not have to be overly tight to accomplish that no more than your shoes have to be overly tight to accomplish their function. Having said all this, each person will have their own comfort zone. Personally, I have my straps tight enough that my hands don't slide around, but not tight enough to pinch. Okay, I am out. My intent is not to tell anyone they are doing it wrong. My intent is to be understood and hopefully be helpful to the OP.

Edit: When I get a chance, I will upload some pictures of hand placement as it relates to the straps. When you are not gripping the pole, there should be some space between your hand and the pole. This is hard to describe. Place you hand in the straps and grip the pole with the pole touching the ground. Let go of the pole and let the pole swing away from your hand. There should be some space between your hand and the pole after you let go. When you grip the pole, your hand should swing down on a 45 angle or so. That motion should align your hands to the proper spot on the grips. Tighten or loosen until that motion aligns things properly. At that point, nothing should pinch, but things should feel secure. Again, that is just me. I find then very comfortable and functional like that. They provide the proper support that way without being too tight. Things stay put with no discomfort. If you notice them, they are either too tight or too loose.

Vegan Packer
09-13-2015, 04:08
One of the reasons that your hands go up through the bottom of the strap is so that your poles fall away from your hands while still remaining attached to you. This is less likely to result in hand injury, in the event of a fall. Be careful not to twist yourself into a position that keeps this from happening.

misprof
09-13-2015, 06:41
This may seem like an idiot question but do you have your poles too high? You mentioned you grip lower down and the hands feel better.

Malto
09-13-2015, 06:59
Another alternative. I use very lightweight poles, no straps holding them the wrong way according to some of previous posters. I use the poles shorter with the tops of the grip in the palm of my hand. So when hiking the hiking palm of my hands are straight up. Basically they become an extension of my arms especially on downhills. Another advantage to this is that the poles are then shorter which is how they would be used "correctly" while going on uphill struggle where you could then switch to a standard grip.

BirdBrain
09-13-2015, 15:08
Here is an excellent video that keeps the information as simple as possible. I prefer my straps ever so slightly looser than what s demonstrated by this video. After rereading my first post, I can see why I was taken to task. I was trying to emphasize that you likely have your straps too tight. My description came across like the straps are just a safety backup. They are not. When you grip the pole, that downward and forward motion tightens the straps around your wrist and creates a snug and comfortable connection to the hand grip. It should be comfortable, not constrictive. I am likely making it complex again. So, watch the video for clearer instructions. I hope this helps.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOQFPL2lpMY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOQFPL2lpMY

One other note. Do your hands go numb any other time? Do they go numb while working, or typing, or carrying heavy items? Is it possible you have a carpel tunnel issue? I have had 3 surgeries on my hands. The left hand was really messed through abuse at work and required 2 surgeries. It is worth the surgery if that is the issue. Just a stab in the dark.

Traveler
09-13-2015, 17:51
This may seem like an idiot question but do you have your poles too high? You mentioned you grip lower down and the hands feel better.

Dang.. not an idiot question at all, I just assumed the poles were set right for their height. Good question!

SkeeterPee
09-13-2015, 19:41
Thanks for all the comments. Taking all of these suggestion into play I made some adjustments. lengthened the strap a little. Reduced pole height by 5cm. I probably was high by 2.5 cm. tried that then 5.cm less. I also changed to a very light grip. And I tried to put less jarring force on the poles. I did 6 miles walking on asphalt roads with a 25lb back. I don't normally use the poles on asphalt as I think it is more jarring. But I did find with these changes I was able to use the straps in the correct position. There might have been some beginning numbness, but certainly better than before. And I think on dirt trails it would less vibration.

On thing I notice is that the strap does not cross at the base of the palm like it does for the lady in the video. it crosses higher on my thumb perhaps pinching something.

squeezebox
09-13-2015, 21:39
So what is the right height for poles?
I went with the pole pushed into the ground up to the cup, and then adjusted the length so the bottom of the grip is even with my elbow. That makes my forearm level with level ground.

changed
09-13-2015, 21:45
Sounds like you need to adjust the strap tightness.

Like others said: I use the strap around my wrist and sometimes don't even hold onto the grip. I've never had any discomfort with this method, and never had slippage of the strap, etc... even with cheap Komperdell poles.

MuddyWaters
09-13-2015, 22:10
So what is the right height for poles?
I went with the pole pushed into the ground up to the cup, and then adjusted the length so the bottom of the grip is even with my elbow. That makes my forearm level with level ground.

Its really not that critical. You need shorter going uphill, and longer going down.

Mine usually stay adjusted to the length my tarp uses.

BirdBrain
09-13-2015, 23:02
So what is the right height for poles?
I went with the pole pushed into the ground up to the cup, and then adjusted the length so the bottom of the grip is even with my elbow. That makes my forearm level with level ground.

MuddyWaters gives the correct answer. After a while, you will be able to just look at the poles and tell by the wear patterns where the adjustment belongs. He is also correct with the different lengths for ups and downs. I never measure anything anymore. I can tell by just looking at them or how they feel as I walk if something is out of adjustment. The method you are using currently will suffice until you get some miles on them.

There is one problem though. Lose the baskets. The baskets are useless and actually create problems. They do not stop the poles from sinking into the mud. They act like suction cups when you try to pull them out of the mud. The collect leaves. They make it harder to see exactly where you are tapping while looking for hidden rocks in muck. They make for harder packing when they are not in use. But most importantly, you will lose them somewhere on the trail eventually anyways. It is better to put trash in a trash can than on the trail.

Another Kevin
09-14-2015, 09:26
Hikers' opinions on trekking pole baskets vary wildly. I insist on snow baskets (NOT mud baskets) with snowshoes. I'm lukewarm about mud baskets in the summer, for most of the reasons BirdBrain mentioned. I use them, because I find that they help some on scree, but they're definitely overrated on mud. I don't have a problem with packing the poles with baskets on. The baskets catch nicely in an ice axe loop on my pack.

I can't take MuddyWaters's suggestion to leave the poles adjusted to the length my tent uses. It probably works better with a tarp, but my tent needs a specific angle of pitch and the pole length that gets that angle is wrong for me to walk with.

BirdBrain
09-14-2015, 09:56
One other note. Do your hands go numb any other time? Do they go numb while working, or typing, or carrying heavy items? Is it possible you have a carpel tunnel issue? I have had 3 surgeries on my hands. The left hand was really messed through abuse at work and required 2 surgeries. It is worth the surgery if that is the issue. Just a stab in the dark.



Thanks for all the comments. Taking all of these suggestion into play I made some adjustments. lengthened the strap a little. Reduced pole height by 5cm. I probably was high by 2.5 cm. tried that then 5.cm less. I also changed to a very light grip. And I tried to put less jarring force on the poles. I did 6 miles walking on asphalt roads with a 25lb back. I don't normally use the poles on asphalt as I think it is more jarring. But I did find with these changes I was able to use the straps in the correct position. There might have been some beginning numbness, but certainly better than before. And I think on dirt trails it would less vibration.

On thing I notice is that the strap does not cross at the base of the palm like it does for the lady in the video. it crosses higher on my thumb perhaps pinching something.

As a person who has had carpal tunnel surgeries on both hands, those sentences concern me. Please reread and answer my questions above... at least to yourself. Be honest with yourself. If you have a carpal tunnel issue, you are making a huge mistake ignoring it. The surgery does help. Ignoring it long enough will mean permanent damage. I waited too long. I have loss some use. None of this is my business. You are not answerable to me. However, please be honest with yourself. I am not a doctor and am not saying you have it. I am saying that the highlighted sentences concern me. The fact that you associate vibration with numbness tells me that you might already be thinking about carpal tunnel issues. If so, don't ignore it. It not, please forgive my presumptuousness.

SkeeterPee
09-14-2015, 11:15
As a person who has had carpal tunnel surgeries on both hands, those sentences concern me. Please reread and answer my questions above... at least to yourself. Be honest with yourself. If you have a carpal tunnel issue, you are making a huge mistake ignoring it. The surgery does help. Ignoring it long enough will mean permanent damage. I waited too long. I have loss some use. None of this is my business. You are not answerable to me. However, please be honest with yourself. I am not a doctor and am not saying you have it. I am saying that the highlighted sentences concern me. The fact that you associate vibration with numbness tells me that you might already be thinking about carpal tunnel issues. If so, don't ignore it. It not, please forgive my presumptuousness.

My day job involves typing on computer all day so I have experienced issues in the past, but they were more tendonitis in the forearm and not carpal tunnel. I was sleeping with a night brace for a while to relieve this, but have not needed it in a few years. It could be the trekking poles are bringing this back as my forearms are aching a bit today.

BirdBrain
09-14-2015, 11:46
My day job involves typing on computer all day so I have experienced issues in the past, but they were more tendonitis in the forearm and not carpal tunnel. I was sleeping with a night brace for a while to relieve this, but have not needed it in a few years. It could be the trekking poles are bringing this back as my forearms are aching a bit today.

There is a very easy test that will confirm or eliminate the presence of a carpal tunnel issue. It is called nerve conduction velocity test. A normal reading is zero. 6 is extreme damage. The higher the number, the greater the damage and/or restriction. My numbers were 4.7 on my right hand and 5.1 on my left. My hands are doing much much better now. Damage was done, but I am able to function fairly well now. It is an easy test. If you are having any numbness in your hands, I would have the test done.... soon. Okay.... I will stop bugging you on this.