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Old 10-04-07, 10:33 PM   #1
speedlever
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Foot problem

I don't know if it's coincidental or causal... but I'm having some left foot pain/numbness since I've started riding clipless. I rode 43 miles Tuesday and 49 miles Wednesday (took Thursday off) and my left foot is feeling kind of numb and tender after a while, towards the left center of the ball area.

I initially noticed a hot spot there when I would ride 30+ miles on platforms, but never noticed anything like numbness.

If I stop and rest the foot on the ground for a few minutes, I'm good to go for a while again. The right foot is fine, no pain or other issue.

Is this just a gettin' old issue.. or do I need to make some sort of adjustment to the cleat position? (I've been riding Shimano A520 pedals and MT-40 shoes).

I just put the Candy SLs back on and thought I'd try that tomorrow and see if I notice any difference.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:00 PM   #2
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Long rides, I have a little toe numbness also. I ride for enjoyment. I just get off the bike, walk around and enjoy the sights. When I get back on the bike I'm good for another 10 or 15 miles. BTW, I don't race, log my rides, keep my yearly mileage, track calories burned.......................but I used to. Riding became fun again when I got rid of all the measuring tools and started riding naked. I don't kill myself trying to ride one of my regular routes equal to or better than my best time. The freedom of riding one of the old routes without any measurements is immeasurable. Riding is fun again.
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Old 10-05-07, 04:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by card View Post
Long rides, I have a little toe numbness also. I ride for enjoyment. I just get off the bike, walk around and enjoy the sights. When I get back on the bike I'm good for another 10 or 15 miles. BTW, I don't race, log my rides, keep my yearly mileage, track calories burned.......................but I used to. Riding became fun again when I got rid of all the measuring tools and started riding naked. I don't kill myself trying to ride one of my regular routes equal to or better than my best time. The freedom of riding one of the old routes without any measurements is immeasurable. Riding is fun again.
This sounds like a good plan.
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Old 10-05-07, 05:21 AM   #4
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Well, I don't race, log my rides or any of that other stuff either. The only way I know how far I've gone is by looking at the odometer on the bike.

What I'm asking is if there's anything I can do OTHER than taking a short break? Could this be just a cleat positioning thing or is it just my foot and I have to live with it? I'll see if changing pedals does anything at all to relieve that when I ride today (unless I get rained out).

Card... your point is well taken about the tools and trying to beat times, etc. It is a little tough to not try to UP the average.
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Old 10-05-07, 05:31 AM   #5
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Could be cleat placement, but I'd also be suspect of the shoe itself. I'm not familiar with MT40 shoes. I know that a pair of off-road shoes I wasn't riding clipless were no problem until I went to clipless. Then I found that the sole just wasn't as stiff as it needed to be And, while it probably sounds counter-intutitive, I don't keep the closings (velcro) on my shoes as tight since riding clipless. Hope you can figure it out.

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Old 10-05-07, 05:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for that perspective. What I'm interested in is if others have found similar problems and were able to solve it with cleat placement or by adding some sort of liner to the shoe, etc.

Could be that by going to a road shoe and pedal, I might solve it too. But that would be a more expensive fix (assuming it works).
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Old 10-05-07, 06:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by speedlever View Post
I don't know if it's coincidental or causal... but I'm having some left foot pain/numbness since I've started riding clipless. I rode 43 miles Tuesday and 49 miles Wednesday (took Thursday off) and my left foot is feeling kind of numb and tender after a while, towards the left center of the ball area.

I initially noticed a hot spot there when I would ride 30+ miles on platforms, but never noticed anything like numbness.

If I stop and rest the foot on the ground for a few minutes, I'm good to go for a while again. The right foot is fine, no pain or other issue.

Is this just a gettin' old issue.. or do I need to make some sort of adjustment to the cleat position? (I've been riding Shimano A520 pedals and MT-40 shoes).

I just put the Candy SLs back on and thought I'd try that tomorrow and see if I notice any difference.
I have exactly the same problem; numbness in left foot only. My numbness started, like yours, when I went clipless. I bought my shoes about a year ago and rode a metric in them before installing the clipless pedals when I first experienced the problem. Go figure! After I attached the SPD;s the problem continued mainly on rides of 40 miles or more. The numbness seems to be less and less of a problem as I ride more with the clipless pedals. Maybe they just needed getting used to!

Ned
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Old 10-05-07, 06:27 AM   #8
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I had the same problem with my right foot. I was riding CB Candys with a Shimano MTB shoe. I switched to Sidi Dominators and the problem went away. Not cheap but worth every penny.
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Old 10-05-07, 06:27 AM   #9
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Ned,

Do you use SPDs or SPD-SLs? Road or MTB shoe? Like you, I find the problem surfaces after say, 30 miles or more.

Maybe I just need to ride more!
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Old 10-05-07, 06:29 AM   #10
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Tim,

I just put the Candys on to see if that will make a difference. But it sounds like the more expensive option you chose may be in my future.

Do the CB cleats fit the Sidi shoe or did you change to a road pedal?
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Old 10-05-07, 07:39 AM   #11
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I have heard of many of these "hot spot," numbness and even pain when people ride "road" distances with mountain bike clipless pedals and shoes. A stiffer sole, like on a road shoe, and a wider platform on your pedal, like on a road pedal, will help. When the Shimano road SPD pedals initally came out lots of my friends bought them. The platform was quite small and some number of my friends had problems with those, too. A combination of stiffer soles and bigger platforms is the key, in my experience.

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Old 10-05-07, 08:59 AM   #12
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Tim,

I just put the Candys on to see if that will make a difference. But it sounds like the more expensive option you chose may be in my future.

Do the CB cleats fit the Sidi shoe or did you change to a road pedal?
Nope, the Dominators are a MTB shoe but alot stiffer than the Shimanos I was previously wearing. Alot more adjustable too. I love the ratchet mecahism on the Sidis. If a shoe starts to feel tight (probably because you foot has swollen in the heat a bit) you just reach down, tap the red button and the shoe loosens one notch for every tap. I still have the Candys on all my bikes. I did use the little plastic shim on the Sidis.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:47 AM   #13
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If you are getting numbness check to make sure the shoe is not too tight and are your feet relaxed when you ride or do you tense your toes. I find that at the end of log rides if I am tired my form starts getting bad and I find myself clenching my toes which can cause numbness. Usually cleat position will create hot spots where numbness is generally a result of some type of nerve compression.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:43 AM   #14
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There's a number of things to try. I have a similar issue when I do a long ride (like a century) with my right foot.

As I understand it, the pain/numbness comes from compressing the nerve in the ball of your foot. The first thing to try is moving your cleats back (so your foot moves forward), but only by a few mm. This really helped me at first when I had numbness in both feet after less miles.

There are liners that have "metatarsal buttons" (e.g., Specialized footbeds). The idea of these are that they spread things out to lessen the compression.

Too-tight (as in too-narrow) shoes (or tightening them too much) has been a known cause of this as well.

As always, YMMV, but don't accept pain.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:19 AM   #15
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Ned,

Do you use SPDs or SPD-SLs? Road or MTB shoe? Like you, I find the problem surfaces after say, 30 miles or more.

Maybe I just need to ride more!
I ride my Lemond Reno with Shimano Mtn. Bike shoes and SPD's. What was strange about my situation is that I had the numbness when I wore the shoes without the cleats. It would make it appear to be a shoe problem but then why not both feet? The shoes appear to fit fine!! Maybe the problem is diminishing because the shoes are getting broken in.

Ned
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Old 10-05-07, 11:23 AM   #16
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I get a bit of pain and "hot foot" in my left foot after a number of miles. I never get pain in my right foot.

I have heard that this kind of pain is a neural thing sort of like pain and numbness in the hands.

That seems to make sense. I unclick with my right foot. So my right foot gets "breaks" and different positions whilst I am waiting at a light resting on my right foot. I have found that getting off of the bike and walking around for a minute or two or even unclicking with both feet and standing at a light relieves the symptoms.

I have read that some people get relief by putting inserts into their shoes. I have not bothered to try.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:25 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the suggestions. It is probably a combination of things... cleat position, bad form, you name it. Yeah, I'm sure I clench my toes from time to time. First thing I'll try is moving the cleats back a bit.

BTW, 47 miler today and it didn't seem as bad with the Candy pedals.
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