Solutions for shifter thumb problems?

I’m developing tendinitis (I think) on my right shifter thumb and am trying to think of ways I can give it a chance to heal or at least ride without pain.

I currently have a 1x10 Shimano setup…

Is it possible to get a left hand rear shifter?

Is this a common problem?

Di2 was considered but looks to be way too much money.

I also considered a grip shifter like SRAM Gx-11 but would need to change derailleur and cassette with it.


Cheaper XT Di2 Once you get to the point of it locking extended or contracted, you are in trouble (probably in trouble now). That was my right thumb last year. Also this… Don’t know what I am gonna have to do if I get a recurrence this year. Fixie…gearbox???

Years ago working in the kitchen I splashed melted sugar (ooh, creme caramel…yum) all over my right thumb. I installed a thumbshifter for part of the summer to get me through race season. This might work for you.


I don’t think that left hand rear shifters are available. Is it a common problem? I don’t know, I haven’t experienced it.

You could go with a 10-speed SRAM grip shifter- that would let you keep your cassette but you would need a SRAM derailleur.

Have you tried repositioning your existing shifter? If you have a Shimano clutch derailleur, turn the clutch off- that will reduce the effort required to shift slightly.


This sound about right? Break out the splint. Had one on for a lot of last fall too.

Some good discussion and possible solutions here:

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Nice to know…I never even thought of that one. May use it for most my general riding around this year as a preventative measure and switch on for the mountain.

I’ve never had locking up of thumb.

Only ring finger when eating chicken wings afterwards, but that wont affect my riding, lol.

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It is progressive…I never had that until maybe a couple months in without trying to resolve it. Severely painful and usually in the morning after sleeping. It would loosen through the day to where it was semi-usable.

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Are you 100% sure it’s caused by shifting gears? I used to get a bit of thumb pain from riding. For me it turned out to be my brake lever angle. I tipped them up (a bit closer to flat) and my thumb pain went away. Have you already tried that?

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I’ll give it a try.

I should also add that at the time I was braking with two fingers. I cut that habit and forced myself to only use my index finger at the same time as adjusting my brake levers. That might have reduced the thumb pain as well.

I’m not sure if modern sram shifters are the same, but my sram X7 (maybe X9) shifter on the Norco is way easier to push than a SLX or XT shifter. Might be worth looking into.

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If you were running 9-speed you could use a Shimano Dual Control shifter/brake on the right hand side. My buddy has those on his bike- I find them a little strange but they work great for him.


weird and lame. worst shifter idea ever.

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Yeah, I find them pretty weird too… but he likes them and they don’t seem to slow him down any.

I wonder if the reason he likes them is because he has thumb problems… I’ll have to ask him.

Years ago, I went over the bars while trying to brake for another rider who didn’t know WTF they were doing, and landed on the tip of my left index finger. It swelled up like crazy and never really went down, causing major one finger braking issues. That was, until I started playing guitar again and it started to get lots of little micro stretches. After a few months of that, my finger was back to normal with full range of motion.

I’d suggest finding a stretching routine and begin icing it on the regular (i’m horrible at the latter), especially after riding.

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Does icing really pay off?

It feels like you are just getting the skin cold. Never under stood that. Maybe I’ll experiment.

Ice reduces inflammation and swelling. Using a heat/ice contrast can improve blood circulation which aids in healing.