Foot Pain and Numbness- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Foot Pain and Numbness

    I ride pretty much every day of the week and take time off as my body tells me to. I endurance race so I definitely spend a lot of time on the bike. Almost all of my riding is on singletrack and much of that is technical trail. My pedal stroke consists of pushing and not much pull.

    My feet do not bother me much while I am riding however the balls of my feet hurt most of the time when I am off of the bike (walking or just sitting). My toes do not bother me while I am riding however my big toes are numb most of the time while not riding (like just sitting here now).

    I am wearing Specialized BG Comp shoes which fit great (plenty of room in the toe box and good length). I was using the red insoles and have experimented with the blue and even custom orthodics due to pronation. I am currently using a generic Dr. Sholes gel insert as it has a fair amount of cushion under the balls of the feet. I have also owned other shoes in the past which were not nearly as comfortable as my Specialized.

    I have played with cleat placement and currently have them set as far back as they will go.

    I can deal with the discomfort in my everyday life but I have a feeling (or lack there of) that I am doing permanent nerve damage and am not sure how much worse it may get. Does anyone else have this problem? If so do you just deal with it? Is there something that I have not considered? Thanks for your input... and gears are not an option!

  2. #2
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    Go see a doctor.
    "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

  3. #3
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    Yes, I have the same problem and IT SUCKS. I ride like you (almost everyday) and I use inserts, as well, and it doesn't help at all. The climbing is no problem, but technical or bumpy descends kill me.

    I'm not too jazzed to buy a $300+ pair of shoes as I'm afraid I'm going to spend that and it won't fix the problem. Anybody want to chime in re: high end shoes?

    My brother swears on Sidi's, but again... I'm wondering if that is the cure-all.

    BTW, a doctor will prescribe Iboprophen and tell you to ride less. Shine that noise.

  4. #4
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    I'm not too jazzed to buy a $300+ pair of shoes as I'm afraid I'm going to spend that and it won't fix the problem. Anybody want to chime in re: high end shoes?
    I'm going to try some shoes with carbon soles eventually but I too am not very excited about spending the $$. I don't think that they will help but I guess I should try because I am running out of ideas. The pain and numbness are a direct result of pressure on the foot from the cleat/pedal contact point so who knows... maybe a different sole will help out.

  5. #5
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    What type of pedals are you riding? I found that this one pair of pedals I tried as a cheap backup gave me a hotspot on my foot from having too little of a platform area for my shoe to bear on. Going back to my regular pedals that had a little more contact was all I needed.

  6. #6
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    What type of pedals are you riding?
    I'm using Shimano M-770 and agree that the small surface is part of the contributing factor. I am not willing to go with flats or clip-in flats so I don't know of any other options that would increase the surface area and still be a non-clunky light weight pedal.

  7. #7
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    Have you ever tried something like the Crank Bros Candy pedal? I've heard secondhand that those can help with the larger platform area, some of them are even lighter than your XTs. Never used them myself so I'm just tossing that out there for others to chime in on.

    If you are overtightening your laces that can also cause trouble by putting pressure on your arch and pinching off blood. Have you tried different socks?

    Also just to clarify, you said your feet don't "bother" you when you ride. Do they feel the same and you just don't pay attention to it or do they only hurt when you are off bike? If they only hurt/numb off bike, then maybe it's your everyday shoes...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by knightscape
    Have you ever tried something like the Crank Bros Candy pedal? I've heard secondhand that those can help with the larger platform area, some of them are even lighter than your XTs. Never used them myself so I'm just tossing that out there for others to chime in on.

    If you are overtightening your laces that can also cause trouble by putting pressure on your arch and pinching off blood. Have you tried different socks?

    Also just to clarify, you said your feet don't "bother" you when you ride. Do they feel the same and you just don't pay attention to it or do they only hurt when you are off bike? If they only hurt/numb off bike, then maybe it's your everyday shoes...
    Loosening the straps on my shoes definetely help.

  9. #9
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    I'll get foot pain from time to time but it generally from my lower back...

  10. #10
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    I had this problem. Ended up with orthotics in my regular shoes and a rear der. on my bike. Foot doc. said I broke a bone in the front of foot.

  11. #11
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    "My feet do not bother me much while I am riding however the balls of my feet hurt most of the time when I am off of the bike (walking or just sitting). My toes do not bother me while I am riding however my big toes are numb most of the time while not riding (like just sitting here now)".

    Am I missing something here, or are you telling us that you have no symptoms while on the bike and typically have symptoms while NOT on the bike?

    If this be the case, why are you trying to change things with your bike? My guess that your symptoms have nothing to due with cycling at all and may be more spine/neural or circulation in nature. Any history of Diabetes?

    These are the areas I would look at first.
    BoiseBoy

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pop_martian
    Go see a doctor.
    X2 and most of what everybody else said. Good to make sure something serious is not going on. Going to stiffer shoes and Crank Bros Candys helped me, was riding large flats and some hiking shoes. Using Spec shoes with thier green insoles (the metatarsal button and good arch support helps me lots! Going to CB Acid pedals next for a lil more platform for when I'm not clipped on them and more support under ball of feet.
    Get off the couch and ride!

  13. #13
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    I just bought new shoes today. I had some cheapo Pearl Izumi MTB shoes and they were starting to come apart. I got some Specialized Comp shoes which seem a little wider and have a ratcheting strap. Let's see if this helps.

  14. #14
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    Good shoes are worth the $$.
    Sidi dominators work well for me. I tried cutting corners using Brand X shoes because of the cost, but they didn't fit right and I went through 3 pairs in the amount of time I had been getting out of my Sidis. Good bye cost savings.
    Sole stiffness is a contributor here. The pedal contact area matters less and less the stiffer your sole is. For instance, in the CB Candy example above, the candy's have that pedal body around the main eggbeater mechanism. When clipped in my shoes never even touched that pedal body deal and the only contact was between the cleat and the pedal, which makes sense: There can be no interference between the cleat and the pedal. No matter how wide your pedals appear, that extra platform really only matters in thse situations where you are not engaged in the pedals.
    Get yourself some good shoes. Figure out which have the stiffest soles you can afford. Experiment with different cleat placement or go to a high-end (read: respectable, professsional) shop or university with a sports medicine program and see if they will do a bike fit for you. I know you probably feel comfortable with your current fit, but small changes can make big differences.
    And as to the cost to all this. Consider the shoes to be a high-end bicycle component, which they are instead of a piece of apparrel.
    And the bike fit.... check with your doc and insurance company (if applicable). Insurance will sometimes pay for bike fitting if prescribed for a medical condition.

  15. #15
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    Am I missing something here, or are you telling us that you have no symptoms while on the bike and typically have symptoms while NOT on the bike?
    I do have symptoms on the bike but my mind is elsewhere so they don't stand out as much.

    I have been to a podiatrist when I used to run and had a couple sets of orthodics made up to wear for everyday use and also for running/bikingdue to pronation. I went to him for knee and ankle problems due to running, not anything biking related.

    The question is not whether or not I have something going on out side of riding. My foot issues that I have right now are directly related to riding and the amount of pressure that is put on my foot while mashing. I can go to a geared bike and ride for a couple of weeks and my symptoms will tone down some.

    I chose my shoes based on fit, not cost. I have had a pair of Sidis and a pair of Diadora but the toe box shape on both of those do not work well with the shape of my foot. I had severe numbness due to my toes being bunched up in those toe boxes. The Specialized shoes that I have been using for over a year fit great and I have no issues with fit with those. I am thinking that I will try the same shoes that I have been wearing but with a carbon sole.

    I have experimented with cleat position many times and have found that it is most comfortable to run them all the way back on my Specialized shoes.

    I just wanted to see if this was a common problem with SS or if I was the only one with this problem. It's looking like it is not as common as I would have thought. Thanks for all of your replies. I am going to keep looking into this issue and hopefully come up with something that works for me.

  16. #16
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    You should certainly take this injury seriously and carefully consider whether you're doing yourself any long term damage.

    Issues of fit/equipment and riding mechanics will play a role towards contributing to a condition such as yours.

    You should probably take a break from riding until you heal. What you don't want is for the injury to become chronic and perhaps permanently debilitating.

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