Toes going numb?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Toes going numb?

    Anyone have this problem when riding single track hard? Its mainly on my left foot out side toes. The pinky to the middle toe are the problem areas. I have to unclip and kick out a few times then the blood starts flowing away the numbness.

    If my shoes are on tight or loose it doesnt matter. They fit well and it only happens when riding.

    Any suggestions? or is this normal?

    Shoes are shimano SH-M225

  2. #2
    Bodhisattva
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    Sounds like you're either constricting the blood vessels along the sole of your foot or possibly a Morton's neuroma.

    Nat's our resident podiatrist and perhaps could shed some more light on the situation.

    For what it's worth, I get terrible numbness in my toes when the temps drop below 55 degrees only when riding. Not when skiing or in hiking shoes. It's definitely a pressure thing for me but the problem is that I haven't figured out a way to solve it. Help me Nat....I need more cowbell.

  3. #3

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    It helped me to tighten all the straps and then slightly loosen the two most forward straps just a little. Allowed just a little more toe room.

    Sounds like you are pushing down with the outside of you left foot. Try to repostition your cleat in a way that equalizes the pedaling force across your foot. That may be hard to do, or it could be simple. If it was my problem, it probably would be hard as heck to fix.

  4. #4
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnychimpo
    Anyone have this problem when riding single track hard? Its mainly on my left foot out side toes. The pinky to the middle toe are the problem areas. I have to unclip and kick out a few times then the blood starts flowing away the numbness.

    If my shoes are on tight or loose it doesnt matter. They fit well and it only happens when riding.

    Any suggestions? or is this normal?

    Shoes are shimano SH-M225
    Holy cow dude, get to the ER! You're gonna die!!!

    It's not "normal" but I think it's common. It could be that when you're pedaling hard the three toes are pressing up against the inside of the shoe firmly and repeatedly enough to temporarily affect the micro- blood supply and the nerve endings. If you can alleviate the problem by unclipping then shaking your foot out a moment, then it's not likely to be anything more serious, especially if you don't notice it during any other activity.

    You might be rotating your foot outward with each downstroke, pressing the toes up against the toebox.

    You might be curling your toes against the insole. There's a heavy-duty biomechanical explanation of the following idea, but I won't bore everyone with it. If your cleat is too far forward, you will flex your toes really hard with each pedalstroke in an attempt to purchase the ground. You can try moving your cleat back towards your heel a few mm. to reduce the demand upon your toe flexors. This might help your problem too Squeak!

    Saving lives, one toe at a time...

  5. #5
    Bodhisattva
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    How about a metatarsal bar to alleviate some pressure? It's an idea I've been toying with.

  6. #6
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    How about a metatarsal bar to alleviate some pressure? It's an idea I've been toying with.
    I predict that a met bar would be pretty uncomfortable in a cycling application, but you could always give it a try and see how well you tolerate it and how well it takes care of your problem. Do you have a cheap source for one so you can give it a try?

    Met bars move the pressure from beneath the metheads and transfers it to the distal neck, which seems to work well for the elderly or folks with RA, but doesn't seem to go over too well in young and/or athletic people who need powerful propulsion.

    Oh yeah, requisite disclaimer for anyone who might be trying to fix a foot problem: any information pertaining to medical matters should not be considered medical advice, which can only be obtained via a personal consultation with a professional.

  7. #7

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    Change pedals

    Might want to try platform clipless pedals, like the Crank Bros Mallet. I suspect you suffer from the isolated pressure of small, clipless pedals.

  8. #8
    Franck
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    If it is a pressure problem may be getting a pedal that has a cage around the clip might help spreading the pressure. Just an Idea

    Presonaly even with this kind of pedals I notice my feet get numb faster than when I just walk when it is cold outside. So there is still some pressure even with these pedals.


  9. #9
    thats right living legend
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    My feet are now numb all the time, I thought "my shoes are too tight". I loosened them and forgot all about it. Then I got new shoes with a ratchet and found I needed to tighten them more to keep the tongue in place " don't ask me why I cared" and now thier numb again...or were they still numb all the time and I just started thinking about it again, if the former prob solved if the... stop wait thinking to MUCH!!

  10. #10

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    Happens to me a lot in cooler (Socal) weather, with hiking boots and standard platform pedals. My inner toes go numb on climbs. So it's not just a clipless thing.

  11. #11
    kAZ
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    I traced my toe numbness problem to my saddle. Something about how the saddle interacts with the sit bones; maybe some nerve running through the area. I tried a couple of different saddles and am now breaking in a Brooks Swift. With the Swift, my toe numbing problem is greatly reduced and my hunch is that it will continue to improve as I only have a little over 100 miles on the Swift so far and it's getting better and better.

  12. #12
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    I tried moving my shoes clip in cleets back about 1/8" today and it seems to feel better but the numbness/lack of blood to the toes is more what its like still came in half way thru a 6 mile trail. some progress though..

  13. #13

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    position of foot on pedal surface

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnychimpo
    I tried moving my shoes clip in cleets back about 1/8" today and it seems to feel better but the numbness/lack of blood to the toes is more what its like still came in half way thru a 6 mile trail. some progress though..
    I had a bike shop guy make a pretty convincing case to me that this can be the result of the exact placement of your foot on the surface transferring all the pressure to the pedal. He suggested I try different positions of my shoe on the pedal (adjusting the cleat for SPDs): toe-in/out and front-to-back.. this did the trick for me. It sounds like you've seen at least some relief from this kind of adjustment. The other posts about saddle position could possibly be helping in a similar way --> you're essentially moving the unique spot/angle that your foot is pushing the pedal with.. trying to get the pressure off of whereever your foot nerve happens to be located. One other thing I've tried on cold winter rides to fight numbness is to stand and pull up on the pedals.. this seems to also help relieve pressure.

    The bike shop guy I talked to told me that if all the adjustments don't fix the problem, it might be time to try a different pair of shoes since the geometry of inner-soles varies by brand and you might find one that doesn't tend to cause a pressure point for you.. kind of like the same logic with saddles where you can get love/hate reviews from people on the same saddle because everybody's body is different.. just a matter of finding the one that fits you.

  14. #14
    Hairy man
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    Quote Originally Posted by kAZ
    I traced my toe numbness problem to my saddle. Something about how the saddle interacts with the sit bones; maybe some nerve running through the area. I tried a couple of different saddles and am now breaking in a Brooks Swift. With the Swift, my toe numbing problem is greatly reduced and my hunch is that it will continue to improve as I only have a little over 100 miles on the Swift so far and it's getting better and better.
    I had numbness in my big toes that went away with a change of saddle. Then I had pain in my big toes that goes away as long as I do pelvic tilts regularly. The OT who recommended the pelvic tilts said it would be better if I got into an upright position while biking. Some people just don't understand biking.
    We all get it in the end.

  15. #15
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    Well it seems reguardless of cleet position my foot still goes asleep. Just have to kick it out every now and then to make it go away.

    I think numb is the wrong discription of the feeling. Its more like when you lay on your arm in bed and it just needs the blood to flow.

  16. #16
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    You never mentioned your shoe size. I used to have the same problem and found it was because I have paddle feet.(10 EEE) Most shoes are made for narrower feet and leave the outside of the foot unsupported. I had to go to wide downhill style pedals to distribute the pressure accross the entire width of my feet.

  17. #17
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    My shimano SH-M225 size i have are 8.5 US size. I wear 7 1/2 W Combat boots and my damn running shoes are aasics 9
    Im sure i have wide paddle feet too. mabye thats it....damn i cant stomach chucking a 165$ pair of shoes cus they dont agree with my feet!!! ARGH!!!

  18. #18
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    I have numb feet problems too, although I have narrow feet with very high arches not "paddle" feet". I've gone through shimano shoes, sidi and specialized. The sidi seemed to be the best, but I thought I'd try something different this time and went with spcialized. They are worse, I think the carbon sole keeps my foot too planted in one position, the fit is fine I have lots of room in the toe box and the length is adequate. I've also tried heel inserts (I have narrow high arches) and other cheapo gel inserts that made it worse! I also have tried 3 types of pedals (all clipless) and about 5 different saddles on 3 different bikes. So I'm convinced it's not so much about the gear, as it is positioning of the cleat, saddle height, fore aft saddle position and pedaling technique. If my saddle is too far back and tilted too far forward then it makes it worse for sure. I have some of those Superfeet inserts coming from Performance and some lewedges from lemondfitness. I'll repost if any of those products seems to help.

    *note: during the middle of race season in the summer I did not suffer much from numbness, so that's why I'm sure that pedaling technique is part of the problem since I was in better shape then and spun more circles than parallelograms .....
    You can't test courage cautiously.

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  19. #19
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    Read This..

    Go to www.cyclingnews.com, they have a sectioin on biking problems. Look for post from Steve Hogg. I think his info will help. Just because many people suffer the same ailment doesn't mean they should. Riding a bike should not be painful.

  20. #20
    life is a barrel o'fun
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    I get mystery foot numbness while on the elliptical thing at the gym. Always one foot, not both. Very strange.
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

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