Foot Pain Cycling – Causes and Solutions
Foot pain cycling is one of the most commonly reported problems among cyclists. This can be partially accredited to the pressure placed on your feet from the bike’s pedals, but more likely it has to do with your choice of cycling shoe and foot positioning on the bike.
Injuries and Treatment
Choosing The Perfect Shoe
Shoe selection should be just as important to you as the bike that you choose to ride. The foot itself is equivalent to the engine that powers your car, and requires proper care and maintenance to operate.
When you pedal, you are creating friction within the shoe which generates heat. This heat and constant rubbing will result in blisters and swelling of the feat. As your feet swell they’ll be pushing up against the walls of the shoes, resulting in pressure on the nerves, restricting blood flow, and causing a burning sensation in the foot. This feeling is often referred to as “hot foot.”
The longer that you ride at high intensity, the greater your risk for experiencing foot pain and aches. Alleviate these common compression injuries by selecting a looser fitting shoe with ample ventilation to release the pent up heat while you ride.
Pay close attention to the width of the front of your shoe when you are shopping around as this will be the part of the foot that experiences the most pressure. Purchase a shoe that holds your feet snug, but leaves room on the sides and front for expansion.
Test: Take the insole out of the shoe, place it on the ground and put your foot on top of the insole. If any part of your foot is outside of the insole you need a wider shoe.
Fasten the straps and lean forward slightly to position the foot like you would if you were pedaling the bicycle. Make sure that the tongue of the shoe doesn’t fold over or bend significantly as this could cause additional pressure. How does this feel?
Choosing The Perfect Sock
Choosing the proper sock for cycling goes a long way to keeping your feet cool. If you get foot pain cycling then make sure to purchase high-tech cycling socks that wick away sweat. Also try the socks on with your cycling shoes to make sure they feel good before you buy them.
Altering the Pedals
Small pedals installed on road bikes concentrate pressure on a single location, increasing your risk for hot foot and foot problems. You might also try moving the cleats backwards to disperse pressure throughout the foot, or even lowering the seat can help.
Numbness in the foot is usually caused by an impingement in the nerves in your foot which causes the numbness, sharp shooting pain, tingling or burning. Mostly, this is caused by too tight of shoes, try loosening the straps or laces. If that does not work it is likely time to buy new shoes.
Though uncommon in weekend warriors, achilles tendinitis does occur and is generally caused by improper pedaling, saddle height, overtraining or no warm up. If you have achilles tendinitis then you should rest it, ice it and consider anti-inflammatory medication.
Pain in the ball of your foot? You may benefit from orthotics or purchasing a shoe that fits properly.
Improper Foot Positioning
If none of the recommendations help and you can’t find shoes that can alleviate your foot pain, you might consider investing in custom orthotics and a professional bike fit to help alleviate pain and make your ride a more enjoyable experience.