I have a road bike and road clip on pedals. After I ride for more than 10-15 miles the toes and front of my feet start to go numb. At 20 miles it gets pretty painful. My shoes have velcro fasteners and they are not tight. The bike shop said maybe I had them too tight so I left them even looser on my last ride. It didn't help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I want to increase my distance but know I can't with this problem. the most I've gone is 45 miles and I had to unclip my feet and shake them out for a bit. Thanks!!
i am certainly no expert but I had the same problem in spinning class, the seat was tilted too far down in the front and tilting my body forward and putting pressure on the ends of my toes.
and i got headaches when I first started riding too, It felt like i was hyperventilating ?? sometimes i even got lightheaded... i dont know if that was the case or not but it did get better with time,
But you are way ahead of me anyway, if i rode 45 miles they would have to put me in a body bag, numb toes would be the least of my worries lol
What's your pedal stroke like? If you are pedaling with toes down then your toes tend to go numb. Do the shoes fit? I went through a similiar problem, lots of foot pain whenever I rode, especially after the 40 mile mark. Got's lots of advice, most of it not helpful. Changed shoes, tried sandals, switched from Shimano to road pedals (that actually helped a little bit) thinner socks, no socks. Finally got orthotic (sp?) inserts for my road shoes. Now, no pain. The plantar tendon flexes every pedal stroke if you don't have proper support. And every bike shoe I've seen has next to no arch support of any kind.
In my experience, almost every complaint of pain on a bike is due to fit. Make sure your bike fits properly. Most shops can do this for you. There are also a number of books and other resources that explain the fitting process.
It just could be the shoes. Can you borrow another pair to try on a ride or two? That was my problem once. To fix it, I only had to throw away a $225 pair of shoes and purchase another brand. Now that's an "Ouch!"
And take the following with a grain of salt, but it could be part of your problem. Aside from the above suggestion, be certain you are not unconsciously tensing your feet. Try very consciously relaxing them when riding. Only a suggestion, but I know I sometimes tense muscles for no apparent good reason.
One more thought: what sort of socks do you wear? Maybe you could try thicker or thinner socks.
You wear socks when you ride? I was told years ago, (when I first started riding) to go barefoot in the shoes. I think you get better power transfer through the shoes when you're not slipping out of the socks.
Sorry but that sounds like a silly myth. Better power transfer? I've never slipped out of my socks before, and not wearing socks can lead to blisters. Fit is important and can lead to lots of problems with sore muscles and pain in unexpected places. But "usually" if you are only having numb toes, then you are putting excess pressure on the toes, which "usually" means you are dropping the toes on the downstroke and putting too much pressure on them (mashing them into the front of the shoe). So, what is your pedal stroke like? You never replied. Have someone look at your pedal stroke.
I agree that fit is more important, but I still prefer no socks.
1. The heat gets to me. I like as little gear as possible in the summer.
2. It feels better and I have never had blisters from the shoes.
3. I do triathlons, so socks take more time in transition.
Also, you don't have to physically come out of your shoes to lose power transfer. If your heel slips upward in the shoes, you've lost a small amount of power. I find that bare skin sticks to the shoes better, but more importantly, I prefer the feel.
I am a first time visitor looking for feedback on this topic. My interest is as a podiatrist, not a cyclist. I have not been convinced that numb feet in cycling is as simple as pressure on the sole of the foot or compacting toes into the the toe box of the shoe. I may be wrong, but if you have any feedback to the following let me know please.
I have noticed that this complaint is also noted in gyms with the elliptical machines and with alpine skiers. This is not a common complaint with runners however - and who makes more repeated forefoot contact than a forefoot striking runner? While boot fit for skiing is the likely culprit I am formulating a novel approach (just for my own use - not a device for patents etc) that seems to address the disparities - but please play my devil's advocate.
The common thread seems to be stiff soled shoes with little of the normal heel - toe loading, and hence little pronation. Specifically I believe the problem may apply to whole foot loading but with incomplete relaxation of various muscle groups in the cyclic motion of these activities. In walking the calf muscle completely relaxes during swing phase for instance - not so in cycling to the best of my knowledge.
I envision a couple of mechanisms that make this problematic: 1: chronic muscle tension leads to pressure on the posterior tibial nerve - this happens in another condition known as peroneal spastic flatfoot, or 2) with constant tension the normal cyclical contraction of muscles is not available to "pump" the venous blood out of the small compartments in the foot and a form of compartment syndrome is occuring.
Thanks for ideas
Bought my orthotics at the "Good Feet Store" about $200. They are for normal shoes but will fit in dress shoes (I have to dress up for work). Took my cycling shoes into the store with me to make sure they would fit. You can go to a podiatrist and get a pair that are custom fitted but for a lot more. These come in a variety of sizes and stiffness.
Doc, you really must know your stuff, I could barely follow what you said. Yes, I've noticed that my feet do go numb on the elliptical trainer. That sensation is more like the whole foot going numb. As for just toes going numb, just my anecdotal experience and the person who originally posted never did reply, but if your pedal stroke isn't correct, and you are dipping your toes on the down stroke, then yes, your toes do slide to the front of the shoe. The pain I was experienceing could be described as someone pushing a red hot wire through the middle of my foot. Since I got the inserts, no more pain. I can now ride 50, 60, 75, and 100 miles okay. Before, at 40 miles or so, the pain would start in and even finishing 50 miles was pretty hard.
Well, my problem starts after 20 miles or so of riding. I have flat feet, and I noticed you mentioned something about that. I do not get numbness in my right foot or leg whatsoever. It is consistently in my left foot. It begins to go numb around the ball of the foot, feeling rather like it is "burning". However, while this did not happen on my ride today, the ride before that (about a week ago) the numbness trailed up my foot, calf, and stopped at my knee. It became very painful so that I had to stop and stretch. Once I stretched and walked around barefoot, I was able to finish my ride without any problems. I rode 4 or so miles after that.
When I rode today, we rode about 28 miles. However, this time wore thinner socks and I loosened the straps on my shoe on the left foot. That seemed to help a bit because the numbness and burning sensation was only mild. However, it's been a few hours since the ride but my arch on my left foot is feeling a bit numb and a bit sore.
I hope my input helps so you can maybe shed some light on the problem for us riders!