Author Topic: Raynaud's Syndrome?  (Read 7567 times)


Raynaud's Syndrome?
« on: December 15, 2009, 08:21:50 pm »
Does anyone else suffer with this?

It was freezing and wet last night on the ride home and I had to stop twice in the space of 15 minutes to get my fingers working again, it hurt enough that it felt like someone had stamped on my fingers.

When it passed everything was ok, it doesn't always happen but exposure to wet cold seems to set it off from time to time. Even with winter gloes on it almost seems like the cold wind on my face is setting off a reaction everywhere else.

I found a touch of frost nip on a toe a month or so back after a wet ride, it blistered after I had a hot shower, it went away but it is a worry. :-\

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2009, 08:34:21 pm »
More when I was younger. Hands would go white, purple and then eventually a weird orange colour when cold.

Giving up smoking probably helped the most, don't seem to get it so much these days, and never with any pain.
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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2009, 08:39:04 pm »
I suffer from cold hands when the temperature drops to about 10c. I've tried all
sorts of gloves over the years and have not found anything suitable. I've used
neoprene, ski gloves and the Assos triple system without success. Silk or merino
wool liners fail too. I've also tried sheepskin gloves inside of Sealskin waterproof gloves.

I'm now trying a pair of Colombia ski gloves with some Chiba windproof gloves as
an inside pair. There's room for my fingers to move but it's quite bulky. Time will tell
as to whether this combination proves to be a solution. I've discounted using lobster
gloves at the moment because I want the dexterity to use get items out of my rear
pocket on the fly and also to change gears without too much difficulty.

So long as I've got overshoes on I don't have problems with my feet.

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2009, 08:46:17 pm »
Yup. Not when I'm out riding so much - more when I stop. White/Blue numb hands. And PAIN!


Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2009, 08:48:28 pm »
I have suffered since I was in my teens, my aunties have it as well, it's a simple cold reaction - nothing under lying, I have found the gloves don't seem to make a real difference but the actual temp that your body senses as a whole.

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2009, 08:51:30 pm »
I remember suffering badly as a paperboy, much pain, but now fingers, mainly middle right, go white these days with no pain.  Keep arms warm and the blood to the hand stays warmer.


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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2009, 09:07:34 pm »
I suffer a bit with painful, numb, white fingers when the temp drops.

For me, the following:-

Keep arms warm and the blood to the hand stays warmer.

is absolutely key.  If I do that (and to a lesser extent if I make sure my neck is warm) then I don't find myself having issues.

If anything I over insulate my arms in winter (e.g. take the list you have in the "cold commute" thread except add arm warmers over the LS base layer) even though that makes my arms a bit too warm, since it seems to keep my fingers from dropping off.
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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2009, 11:59:00 pm »

about an hour after finishing the ride.
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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2009, 12:29:43 am »
I can do fingers and toes like Ja ded's. Mine don't hurt. Only started within the past decade. If I'm cold in myself, I only need to get a (glass) pint of milk from the fridge.

I think this is Raynaud's phenomenon, not Raynaud's syndrome as I don't have any associated features.

I had chilblains as a kid (mostly outgrown at 14) and then again a few years ago.

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2009, 02:11:46 pm »
Welcome to a painful club. I get this too, and I think it more associated with change in temp rather than just cold ( it can happen at any time year), it's worse in winter as the changes are greater. Better gloves make little difference.
1. Get a bar bag! ride with the hands on the tops behind the bag, this slows the temp drop quite a bit, often enough to avoid the purple/white pain thing, and you just get cold as normal.
2. Just let it happen, and then at the pain stage stop for while, take off your gloves, reheat thoroughly (armits, crotch, wiggling etc.) till good and pink. I then find I can then go for several hours before repeating.

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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2009, 02:23:21 pm »

about an hour after finishing the ride.

It's important to change out of cycling clothes the moment you get home, they are usually a bit damp and the efficient wicking cools the body, the more 'technical' the clothes, the more this happens, putting a sweater on will help. I agree that the wrists and ankles lose a lot of heat, I wear two sets of arm warmers, so there's no gap between them and the gloves. I use a chainsaw while working so there's no escape, the important thing is not to grip the bars tightly and to keep the hands uncurled if possible. You also have to accept being over-dressed and unable to work at maximum power because of it. You can then simply speed up to heat the whole body, The real killer is when it stops raining, the evaporation chills you, and of course downhill where the effort is minimal.



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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2009, 03:26:08 pm »
I have made hand cowlings out of cutout PET pop bottles. These have been simply fantastic as they cut the chilling wind out and create a little pocket of warm air on the bars.  I have not seen anything similar in the bike shops though.
The cowls are so good I have been able to remove my gloves after a while on even frosty audax rides.

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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2009, 03:38:33 pm »

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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2009, 03:45:31 pm »
I'm like Jaded. It happens *after* I've stopped riding.

I can race into home, get changed even have a hot shower. Bloodflow to fingers still shuts down. I have to be dead careful with sharp things, as I can't feel a thing. Reckon I could slice a finger off and it wouldn't hurt.
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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2009, 04:18:04 pm »
Can cyclists get vibration/white finger?

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2009, 08:06:39 pm »
Damon's picture is typical VWF which can be caused by chainsaws which are not adequately vibration damped and also by doing lots of miles on a bike.I have it in my middle fingers ,I guess from over 500,000 miles on a bike and virtually no industrial manual work as I am an occupational physician.

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2009, 12:43:30 pm »
It suffer from this as well and its a pain.  It'd ef' RS - It happens at any time e.g. using a computer, driving, cycling and its a real pain, you just have to pain for it to stop.


Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2009, 03:57:12 pm »
Mrs Pcolbeck suffers from this. It's a problem with the small capillaries at the extremities (fingers etc). It's not just cold that sets it off though cold does bring it on badly. A heavy carrier bag for example will set it off for her even in 30 deg C heat. No real treatment so far as I know bar keeping the hands (and feet if it affects those too) warm and avoiding too much coffee (which can make it worse) or anything that restricts blood flow to the hands or feet. Smoking as noted above also makes it worse.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2019, 08:05:43 am »
I'm like Jaded. It happens *after* I've stopped riding.

I can race into home, get changed even have a hot shower. Bloodflow to fingers still shuts down. I have to be dead careful with sharp things, as I can't feel a thing. Reckon I could slice a finger off and it wouldn't hurt.

Interesting to search on Raynaud's and find this.

I almost certainly have "raynaud's phenomenon". Much worse now than before, it happens during exercise now and is triggered by changes in temperature. Going from cold to warm can cause a shutdown in circulation to my fingers.

When paddling, unless I wear pogies, it is normal for my fingers to go dead white, no circulation. Rest of me might be boiling hot and sweating, pink palms; fingers will be absolutely dead.

I can warm up afterwards, get circulation going to fingers, get them pink again. Set off on my bike, 5 minutes later they are dead again. Toes ditto. They will be blue and white later. Or look normal when I get off bike, step in a shower, they go white as circulation shuts off.
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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2019, 09:25:24 am »
I was diagnosed with it a few years ago.  The test is fun - it involves sitting with your feet in a bucket of iced water while they measure the levels of blood flow in your ankles.  If it drops sharply when you get cold, it is Reynauds. 

My symptoms are that, if I once get cold, my blood supply to my feet will shut off and will not re-open until I am properly warm again.  I expect there may be other variants but I've not heard of heat or vibration being a trigger.

If it is is bad, there are drugs you can take for it (calcium channel blockers).  However, I don't know how well they work.  By coincidence, I had to take them for a few weeks after an unrelated operation last summer.  I was amused to note, one chilly August evening, that my feet went numb regardless!  It may have been that my dosage was different than would be given for Reynauds - but I wouldn't want any higher as what I was on stopped my heart rate getting up on climbs.  Essentially, on my evidence, I don't think they would be a good solution for an active cyclist.

Without drugs, the way to manage it is to avoid ever getting cold.  In practice this means wearing an extra layer for the first ten minutes of a ride before I've warmed up, taking extra layers to the start of a time trial and avoiding stops where I would cool down as much as possible (eg riding up and down the road when waiting for clubmates at the start of a ride rather than standing around chatting).  In the cold of winter, this simply can't be done so the choice is often either do 90% of a ride with numb feet or not at all. 

If there is one thing I've learned about it, it would be that combating it is not about keeping my extremities warm with better gloves and socks, but keeping my core temperature from dropping.

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2019, 09:43:29 am »
I've suffered with Reynauds for many years (so did my Mum). 

I have tried every possible combination of gloves/mitts, to no useful result.   
Gloves are no use at all as they isolate your fingers. 
The only solution I've found is to use pogies (bar mitts).  They create a warm microclimate without restricting what little circulation I have.  I wear very floppy thin mitts as well so I can put my disposable hand warmers actually on my fingers inside them. The best pogies are made in Nottingham from the sort of material Carradice use for saddlebags, called Hotpogs!
I regard them as suitable only for flat bars.  I purchased some of another brand that are designed for drop bars, but because they sit vertically they make the bike uncontrollable in even the lightest wind.  I need flat bars anyway because I now find it difficult to use drop bar shifters and brakes.
Mine are bright red - it aids visibility! And there's actually room to stash flapjack etc in them. The mid range £60 version - a mere fraction of what I have spent on gloves over the years. 
Yes, they do look "distinctive", yes they are a bit clumsy.  But it does mean I can trundle round the North Pennines all year round, and that is worth the trade-off.
Avoid neoprene - it does not work for me - or anyone else I know who has Reynaulds.
I also avoid waterproof gloves, which tend to make my hands sweaty, then very cold. 

Other advice as above - keep your whole body warm, especially wrists and ankles and neck, where your blood is close to the surface.
Put on warm clothes immediately you stop - I really can't do mid-ride stops in winter any more.
Your GP can prescribe meds, which some folks find very effective, but I want to avoid that route as long as possible

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2019, 09:58:05 am »
My post crossed with Franks....

One reason I'm resisting meds for Reynaulds is that the GP said it works by lowering blood pressure.  Which ties in with Frank's experience.
My BP is already pretty low, and I really don't want to mess around with it.
The trick is to not let your hands ever even start to get cold, as it is so difficult to get them back again, and can be v. painful

Off the bike, these HotRox are great.  Charge up like a mobile phone, switch on and off as required. I will use these to walk to the village shop, help at events etc - cheaper than starting a pack of disposables every time. 
I keep them by the back door and use them every day.

I take it we all know about  Reynaulds UK?

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2019, 11:40:22 am »
I couldn't take drugs to lower my BP. It is already low, I have micro-faints anyway (sight goes purple, pass out for second or two). Omron BP machine confirms my resting BP is mid90s/low60s

thanks for the info, Flite and Frank.  I use paddling pogies now and they make a huge difference.

Vibration is a notorious trigger and cause - chainsaw 'white finger' can kill a forester's career.
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Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2019, 08:56:42 pm »
A few more tips for anyone new to this problem:

Hands:  Try to start out with warm hands.
If you are not at home, hand dryers in the toilets can be useful (but put an elbow under first to warm it up)  You can fill your gloves/mitts with warm air too.
Never, never, ever put your gloves/mitts down on the ground - stick them up your jacket.
If possible, bring your bike into a warm room to avoid the shock of cold bars/grips.
Don't wait to see if your hands will warm up - accept that they won't, so get some external heat source on them first.

Feet: I have to use winter cycling boots most of the year. 
If I'm not starting from home, I put them in the footwell of the car with the heater on.
Sometimes I put my handwarmers in the boots to warm them up before I put them on.
You can get disposable foot warmers, but they are difficult to control in boots.
Buy a pair of boots at least one or perhaps two sizes larger than normal to allow for one or two pairs of good woollen socks.  Currently my favourite socks are Defeet wooly boolies.  It is not well advertised, but they come in two cuff lengths - get the longer 6inch cuff, it makes a big difference.
Avoid gaps between your tights and the top of your boots or overshoes, and keep your ankles warm.

Body:  Layers, so you can adjust to changing weather.  Try to get that magic balance of not getting too hot or too cold.

Food and drink - take a flask with a warm drink, just water will do.  I got a posh (expensive) new Coloral bike flask for winter, but an ordinary small SS flask jammed into a cut down standard plastic bike bottle will go in the bottlecage OK. 
Eat plenty - if I'm hungry I get cold more easily. But eat on the move or a quick stop, or you will get cold.
If you plan to stop, take extra layers.

It really is a case of lots of little things add up to make a difference. 

Any one got any more tips?

Re: Raynaud's Syndrome?
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2019, 08:24:48 am »
Thank you for this. Very helpful.

Hot hands from Halfords got me through November RRTY. Only the hand version though. They were a dream in my gloves. The foot version was rubbish.

I did a 300km on Saturday and really suffered in 0 degrees for the first three hours. I'm going to buy some better winter tights and a merino base layer to see if that helps. I was heavily layered with winter boots, woolie boolie socks, double gloves, snood, hat, helmet, winter tights, four layers around my body. Still suffered like a dog. Had tea and a sausage sandwich at the first control and was fine after that.

Has anyone any recommendations on merino base layers and rapha winter tights? Women or men version, I don't care as long as they keep me warm(er).