Why do I get pain and numbness in my toes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jan 2012

    Why do I get pain and numbness in my toes?

    Been riding with the same Shimano SPD shoes for around 3 seasons now. Lately I've been getting major hot spots, pain in the balls of my feet and numbness in my toes. The pain is new and more in my right foot than left but both have the numbness issue. I can kinda feel the pedal through the bottom of the shoe after an hour+ of riding so I think that might be the problem. Am I due for new shoes or can I get carbon fiber insoles or something like that?

  2. #2
    BOOM goes the dynamite!
    Reputation: noapathy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    If you have good insurance I'd say the best thing would be to see a physician (preferably a podiatrist involved in sports medicine). Having said that, see below for anecdotal advice.

    Not sure if it's the same thing, but I had a very similar thing happen to me because I was wearing shoes with a toe box that was too narrow. I didn't go to a doc, but I think this is what was bothering me. Check if these symptoms sound like what you have experienced. Metatarsalgia ACFAOM

    The fix for me was a combo of advil, padded insoles, slightly larger shoes along with ice and elevating the foot at night (and sadly, not much riding for about a month). I also put a little pad between the two toes where the pain was concentrated. Whatever you do, don't ignore it because it could lead to permanent nerve damage. Since you said you can feel the pedal through the shoe, I think you're on the right track thinking stiffer sole and/or insoles. The ice/advil/elevation/rest is mostly to control the inflammation, reduce pain and speed healing.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2012
    Thanks for the reply. The symptoms of Metatarsalgia sounds a little extreme compared to what Im experiencing. The pain and numbness only comes on (and sometimes works itself out) during longer rides. There is no lingering pain afterwards. I did buy the next size up as per recommendation of the shop I got them from. As a heavier rider (220) I think the soles are just getting worn out. Are there other options other than new shoes? Do they make stiffer insoles?

  4. #4
    Village Newbie
    Reputation: SlickWilly8019's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    How stiff of a insole do you want, the ones I have in my running shoes are really hard but for my extreme high arches they feel like heaven, I use them for long rides as well. I normally have foot, knee and back pain if I wear the cheapest footwear known to man. I weigh around 225lbs these are harder than any insole I can purchase in any box store. My shoe size is 12.5L and 13R.

    I got mine off amazon Amazon.com: Orthaheel Full-Length Orthotic Insoles for Active Men and Women - Men's 11.5-13: Health & Personal Care

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RS VR6's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Have you tried moving the cleat farther back and do you scrunch your toes when you're riding?

    Having the cleat too far forward can put some extra pressure on the toes. Imagine walking up a flight of stairs with only your toes on the edge of the step vs putting the front half of your foot on the step. Wearing a pair of shoes that are too big can do that too. It can prevent you from getting the cleat far back enough. When I got fitted on my road bike, my fitter had me go down half a size on my shoes.

    The other thing people may do, but not realize it is scrunching of the toes when pedaling. That can put all kinds of extra pressure on the toes too.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: c8stom's Avatar
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    May 2015
    I've experienced similar numbness on long rides but learned it was my body telling me I needed to hydrate. After hydrating, the numbness subsides within minutes.

    As I now hydrate at regular intervals regardless of whether I think I need to, I've not had the problem even on long 3hr+ rides. It's just the way I am wired.

    It may or may not be that in your case ?

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BmoreKen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Google "hot foot cycling".

    When I first rode a new pair of Shimano XC-70's on a long, hilly ride, I suffered terrible hot foot. Had to stop several times. Replaced the stock insoles with A-line insoles which have a metatarsal pad that helps alleviate hot foot. Other insoles can/should have similar features.

    Some potential corrections:
    - loosen the shoe. If the shoe is worn too tight your foot won't be able to move around enough. I scrunch my toes when tightening the straps in order to avoid overtightening. Note that your foot expands during the ride, especially in the heat, so you may need to loosen during ride.
    - make sure the cleat isn't directly under the ball of your foot. It should be behind the ball of the foot. Moving it back can alleviate hot foot.
    - you may need insoles with a metatarsal pad that will address hot foot/numbness.

    It's a fairly common thing. Good luck!

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