Numb/ sore feet

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Numb/ sore feet

Postby tallgirl » 12 Oct 2014, 1:42pm

Hi guys, hoping for some help with a foot question.
I am experiencing problems with my feet, in that after about 10Km they start to tingle, and then progress to painful and numb. I know they shouldn't be able to be painful and numb at the same time, but there you are, maybe I'm weird :?
Is this something I'm just going to have to put up with? It happens on my (brand new baby :D ) road bike with Shimano A520 pedals, the tourer with A324s, and on the spinning bike in the gym, and on the normal bike in the gym. What's occurring?

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby andrewk » 12 Oct 2014, 3:41pm

At a guess your shoes have insufficiently rigid soles.

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby Dave W » 12 Oct 2014, 3:49pm

Shoes too tight?

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby Vorpal » 12 Oct 2014, 4:07pm

If it's only your feet, it's probably your shoes, and/or position. Do you wear the same shoes for all of these bikes?

If you use clipless, you could try using flats for a couple of rides, and see if that helps. Sometimes shoe inserts help with this type of problem. Cycling shoes, though are notoriously narrow, and if you have wide feet, you may have trouble getting a good fit.

If you feel it in the whole leg, it could be due to the saddles being set too high, and/or being too narrow.

There are several bundles of nerves running through the pelvic area, and two of them can easily affect the feeling in your legs and feet. The most likely culprit in this case is the sciatic nerve. Make certain that your hips don't rock, or trying lowering your saddles by a cm or two.
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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby Psamathe » 12 Oct 2014, 4:25pm

For a few months I experienced a numb big toe on one foot. It started whilst cycling (generally after a variable time riding) but later became numb the much of the time. But there was no pain and it was only/always the same big toe.

I suspect it was caused by an issue round mu sacroiliac and I was also experiencing discomfort in that area when lying an many positions in bed. I'm unsure of the cause in my own case as I never saw anybody about it.

I doubt what you are suffering is the same as me (your situation sounds far worse) but it may be that the problem might be further up your leg.

Above is my personal experience and not a suggestion/not advice. As with all medical related things, the internet is not always the best place to have your symptoms diagnosed and treatment prescribed. So if you are concerned, do seek professional advice. I was surprised to find how cheap it was to have a single private appointment with a physiotherapist (generally around the £35 around me) and they seem to be able to give appointments pretty quickly.


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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby tallgirl » 12 Oct 2014, 6:27pm

I use the clipless pedals on the tourer and road bike, but I only started using them recently, before that I was using flat pedals and trainers, same effect. It's just the soles of my feet, nothing extending up my legs thank goodness!
I can try loosening the laces a bit, the shoes are a little narrow, my feet are fairly average in width, but they are snug. I'm loathe to mess with the height of the saddle because I've been fitted for the bike and I don't want to try to solve one problem and cause myself some others by being in the wrong position, I had some knee pain at one time and found the saddle was a little low for example.
Thanks for your thoughts, I'll have a play with the laces on the shoes. Someone else suggested I play with the position of the cleat relative to the bottom of my feet, might try that too.

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby cotswolds » 12 Oct 2014, 6:33pm

Tingling/numbness is a symptom of a neuropathic problem, probably pressure on a nerve somewhere. I would suspect shoes rather than pedaling as such. Has the problem come on slowly or suddenly? Have you changed your shoes recently? Do you wear the same shoes for all your rides? Do you tend to choose tight shoes (which are more likely to squash the foot and put pressure on a nerve).

For foot pain a podiatrist is a better bet than a physio, the cost should be about the same. (It's possible you might need some sort of orthotic for your shoe, which a physio wouldn't be able to do). However, I'd experiment with different shoes first, particularly looser shoes, to see if that makes a difference.

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby jamesofyorkshire » 14 Oct 2014, 6:42am

I have exactly the same problem....and have had for years. Keeping my shoes loose helps, but only partially. Colder weather makes it worse. The hotter it is, the less the problem. If it's like over doesn't affect's not over 25c too often in Yorkshire.

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby 531colin » 14 Oct 2014, 12:30pm

I'll join the chorus of "shoes too tight/too narrow, soles too flexible".
Its never a bad idea to wriggle your toes or try to arch your feet periodically when riding all day, and if you push your toes down each time you push the pedal down your feet keep a lot warmer in winter.
My latest cycling shoes have a ratchet fastening (like a ski boot) and I don't think they did me any good, its possible to exert a lot of pressure on your foot if you are out all day.....OK for the "final sprint", I guess. I deliberately leave them loose now.
There is a thread here about foot pain, collapsing arches and pronation, which you may find interesting. I don't see that doing the exercise against arch collapse can do any harm.
In these days of digital photography, I don't think it should be a problem to try a different saddle height.....just measure and photograph where your saddle is now.
I would also photograph the cleat before you move it. Classically setting a bike up, the pedal spindle should be "under the ball of your foot", which is also where your foot expects to carry your weight (stiff soles notwithstanding). Moving your foot back on the pedal means your calf muscles do more work (just to support the load....not propelling the bike directly), and maybe also stops you pedalling "toe down". Moving your foot forward puts the load further back (towards the instep) and might stop "heel dropping"....but in my experience, heel dropping is a lot less common than toe down pedalling.
cleat position....
general interest...
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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby bogmyrtle » 15 Oct 2014, 7:23pm

I had the same problem. I believed people who insisted that rigid soles were essential but had a feeling the soles were the cause of the problem because I have a broad flat forefoot. I haven't had a problem since I swapped my cycling shoes for a pair of cheap Karrimore outdoor type shoes. I use open toe clips on my commuting bike and the flats on the half and half pedals on my tourer. Pain free at last.
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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby tallgirl » 18 Oct 2014, 9:20am

Thanks everyone. My shoes are quite tight, although I had just thought of them as 'snug', so maybe this needs looking at. I think the cleats are just about in the right place under the ball of my foot, so that's probably OK. As far as rigidity goes, if I hold them in my hands it's a hard job for me to flex them in any direction, so other than being completely solid, that seems quite rigid :? to me. My OH and I have booked ourselves a proper fitting session in Plymouth in a few weeks time, so I'll take this issue to that and see what they come up with.
It has done nothing but rain, blow, thunder and lightning here this week, so I haven't actually got out on the bike to try the looser fastening/ toe wriggling method, but I hopefully this weekend... :D

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby tallgirl » 18 Oct 2014, 5:28pm

Sorry, but at the risk of being boring.... on the spur of the moment my OH an I decided to get out for a while this afternoon, daring the rain to come back :twisted: I left my shoes very loose, so they were only just staying on while I was walking the bike up the drive. I made sure I did loads of toe wiggling at intervals and big, big improvement :D I still got the problem, but much reduced, and it didn't come on until I'd done nearly 20km. We only did 26 in total, but the pain only became really troublesome towards the end, so I think that certainly was the main cause. Thanks everyone, it's not perfect but it'll do for a start :D

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Re: Numb/ sore feet

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 20 Oct 2014, 1:26am

Too tight shoes are probably the biggest reason for foot discomfort.
Adjust the fit so that walk on flat ground your heel is just starting to come out, no tightness across the foot or cramped toes.
As in walking (hiking with boots), crunch your toes and hold whilst you do up shoes.

2ND bad thing is ball of foot over the pedal spindle, follow 531colin's links for stevehogg..........I am guessing you are no club racer.........

I see men in trainers, foot (sole) "S" shaped, down at heel :?
Women like they are wearing glass stilletos on road bikes :?

Swapping shoes and bikes gym etc, is going to complicate things a lot.............

Bike fitters....unless they analise your feet with emphasis on the action or lack of foot / ankle action then waste of time.
Tunning in your saddle height can only come after you sort out your feet.
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