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Old 12-22-08, 09:01 PM   #1
JBHoren 
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Dropfoot and Cycling

To make a long story short, I had some severely damaged lumbar discs, back in the mid-1980s. They were mis-diagnosed, and I ended-up (prior-to and after) having surgery, with drop foot. The nerve damage is permanent, and I was left with a fully non-responsive left foot -- no muscle control to raise the foot or toes, when standing erect with feet flat on the floor; additionally, I have no feeling, or greatly diminished feeling, in my left toes and most of the foot. It's now 23 years later, and there's been no improvement.

My problem is pedaling. Specifically, positioning my foot correctly on the pedal, as well as keeping it there without slipping off. I'm riding a 1995 Cannondale M500 around town (Palm Springs, FL), going car-free at the end of January 2009. No plans for off-road or trail biking, but I do want to work my way up to 20-50 miles/day.

Any suggestions for a strategy geared (sorry) toward keeping me in the saddle and pedaling, without falling and/or tearing-up my left foot/shin?

TIA!

Jonathan
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Old 12-22-08, 09:06 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by JBHoren View Post
To make a long story short, I had some severely damaged lumbar discs, back in the mid-1980s. They were mis-diagnosed, and I ended-up (prior-to and after) having surgery, with drop foot. The nerve damage is permanent, and I was left with a fully non-responsive left foot -- no muscle control to raise the foot or toes, when standing erect with feet flat on the floor; additionally, I have no feeling, or greatly diminished feeling, in my left toes and most of the foot. It's now 23 years later, and there's been no improvement.

My problem is pedaling. Specifically, positioning my foot correctly on the pedal, as well as keeping it there without slipping off. I'm riding a 1995 Cannondale M500 around town (Palm Springs, FL), going car-free at the end of January 2009. No plans for off-road or trail biking, but I do want to work my way up to 20-50 miles/day.

Any suggestions for a strategy geared (sorry) toward keeping me in the saddle and pedaling, without falling and/or tearing-up my left foot/shin?

TIA!

Jonathan
Maybe talk to a physical therapist that specializes in sports medicine and not take medical advice from some anonymous person on the Bike Forums?
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Old 12-22-08, 09:27 PM   #3
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I'm thinking a recumbent. Maybe even a Trike. They can be a bit pricy but at least you won't fall. With clipless pedals you would be in business.
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Old 12-22-08, 09:56 PM   #4
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Jeez... just listen to you guys!

"Physical therapist"... "recumbent"... "trike"... Hell, I might as well buy a couple of cycling movies and call it a day!

I'll probably go with larger pedals on both sides, a toe-clip for my left foot, and leave the right foot "nekkid".
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Old 12-22-08, 11:42 PM   #5
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Toe clips, clipless pedals and properly cleated shoes, are the two things that comes to mind.

Toe clips come in a huge verity of styles, check out some called power grips, they work well with platform pedals and normal shoes.

Go with them on both pedals, you'll get used to them in a block and a half and love them by the end of two blocks. Being able to pull up on the pedals makes a difference.
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Old 12-22-08, 11:44 PM   #6
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I was thinking toe clip and strap on the left and clipless on the right as well
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Old 12-23-08, 12:25 AM   #7
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I was thinking toe clip and strap on the left and clipless on the right as well
The point of both is to attach your foot to the pedals. Why mix them? Pick one or the other and go with it.
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Old 12-23-08, 12:44 AM   #8
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Do you wear an orthotic brace? I think I would look at going clipless. A car wreck left me with a slightly mangled right leg and I'm using some Shimano mt-52 mountain bike shoes and spd clipless pedals. The shoes look like high top sneakers and give my bad foot a lot of support/stability. I just leave my right foot clipped in when stopping and put my left foot down. This is a new setup for me and so far I've not had any problems. Works better for me than using toe clips, YMMV.
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Old 12-23-08, 06:47 AM   #9
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I would definitely consider clipless and use them on both feet.
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Old 12-23-08, 08:34 AM   #10
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check out a brace called AFO used for foot drop/nerve damage made from carbon fiber.
Extremely light and comfortable

http://www.ossur.com/



called an AFO Dynamic
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Old 12-23-08, 10:48 AM   #11
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Maybe talk to a physical therapist that specializes in sports medicine and not take medical advice from some anonymous person on the Bike Forums?
Yes, I agree 200%. Many will post help in good faith but a pro is the way to go for you,mate.
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Old 12-23-08, 10:56 AM   #12
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Jeez... just listen to you guys!

"Physical therapist"... "recumbent"... "trike"... Hell, I might as well buy a couple of cycling movies and call it a day!

I'll probably go with larger pedals on both sides, a toe-clip for my left foot, and leave the right foot "nekkid".
I don't think it's out of line to discuss a physical problem with a therapist. I've done it with my scoliosis.
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Old 12-23-08, 11:04 AM   #13
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I am an incomplete quad who rides 100+ miles a week and I wear AFO braces which make it very easy to use clipless peddles. You just have to make sure that the tension isn't so tight that you cannot clip out in a hurry. Getting advice from this group is a GOOD thing but I would also recommend finding a PT who specializes in sports recovery as well. My AFO's are hand formed to my legs and feet and are the reason I can walk, ride, drive, fly planes, kayak, mtb bike, etc. If there is a will...there is a way. Good luck.
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Old 12-23-08, 03:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
Toe clips, clipless pedals and properly cleated shoes, are the two things that comes to mind.

Toe clips come in a huge verity of styles, check out some called power grips, they work well with platform pedals and normal shoes.

Go with them on both pedals, you'll get used to them in a block and a half and love them by the end of two blocks. Being able to pull up on the pedals makes a difference.
Thanks much, Allen! Power Grips™ certainly seem like the answer to my problem. I've ordered a set of the XL straps, through my LBS, and will attach them to a new pair of all-alloy pedals.

Thanks to everyone else who replied to my initial post:
  1. Half-calf (or knee-high) braces are not the answer; the VAMC already tried to fit me for a carbon-fiber brace, but my left foot has, over the years, progressively deformed, so a brace just won't fit.
  2. Clips and/or "regular" straps are unwieldy; and cleats are a non-starter.
I appreciate the time each of you took to post.

Season's Greetings!
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Old 12-23-08, 05:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JBHoren View Post
My problem is pedaling. Specifically, positioning my foot correctly on the pedal, as well as keeping it there without slipping off. I'm riding a 1995 Cannondale M500 around town (Palm Springs, FL), going car-free at the end of January 2009. No plans for off-road or trail biking, but I do want to work my way up to 20-50 miles/day.

Any suggestions for a strategy geared (sorry) toward keeping me in the saddle and pedaling, without falling and/or tearing-up my left foot/shin?

TIA!

Jonathan
I can understand you not liking my first response, but maybe if I read you post again I can understand why you took offense.

You said: I ended-up (prior-to and after) having surgery, with drop foot. The nerve damage is permanent, and I was left with a fully (1) non-responsive left foot --(2) no muscle control to raise the foot or toes, when standing erect with feet flat on the floor; additionally, I have (3) no feeling, or greatly diminished feeling, in my left toes and most of the foot. It's now 23 years later, and there's been no improvement.

My problem is pedaling. Specifically, (4) positioning my foot correctly on the pedal, as well as keeping it there without slipping off. I'm riding a 1995 Cannondale M500 around town (Palm Springs, FL), going car-free at the end of January 2009. No plans for off-road or trail biking, but I do want to work my way up to 20-50 miles/day.

Any suggestions for a strategy geared (sorry) toward keeping me in the saddle and pedaling, (5) without falling and/or tearing-up my left foot/shin?

TIA!

Jonathan[/QUOTE]


I took that to mean you would have a hard time feeling a Caged Pedal to flip it and get your foot in it. Without feeling or response, first underlined point, that would be I believe a natural conclusion. I discounted clipless because without control, point two underlined, it might be difficult to twist and unclip, if you also had, underlined point 3.

Lastly I assumed you were concerned with your foot slipping off of the pedal, underlined point 4, and you were worried about falling, Underlined point 5. And of course you said "any suggestions" rather than suggestion you have already considered. Since I have a good friend with parkensons and he rides a performance trike 8 to 10 thousand miles a year I thought it would be a good suggestion for anyone considering going car free. With the qualification that they could be expensive. I guess I should not have assumed.
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Old 12-23-08, 06:16 PM   #16
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Don't knoch the recumbent trike idea until you've tried it. The Catrike 700 is fun and fast:
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Old 12-23-08, 07:38 PM   #17
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Don't knoch the recumbent trike idea until you've tried it. The Catrike 700 is fun and fast:
I agree, and if you are going to be car free some of the Recumbent Trikes can carry a lot more than a typical DF. Like I said they can be pricy and they are harder to transport than most DFs. I have a revive simi-recumbent with 20 inch wheels and with a trailer I use for grocery shopping and quick trips in town and it takes up more room than my Road bike or my MTB. Car feee means you need to think about doing a lot more than going from point A to point B.
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Old 12-23-08, 07:43 PM   #18
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I can understand you not liking my first response, but maybe if I read you post again I can understand why you took offense.
No offense taken -- neither to your post, nor to anyone else's. I can see that I need to make greater use of smileys

Again, thanks for everyone's input!
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Old 12-23-08, 07:59 PM   #19
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The point of both is to attach your foot to the pedals. Why mix them? Pick one or the other and go with it.
It sounds like one foot is not all that functional so you might want a way to attach that doesent rely on any foot strength or mobility, hence the toe clip, and use a clipless pedal for the functional foot as toe clips are not all that great.
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Old 01-19-15, 06:24 PM   #20
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11 years with foot drop and wanting to cycle again!!!

OK I AM A BIT CRAZY!!!
I am planning a trip from New Delhi to Goa on a bicycle. I have not been on a bike seriously for may years, but I did go all the way around Europe 30 years ago.
I am 6´5¨ and (now) WAY overweight.
11 years ago I had a fourth back operation on the L3-L4 S1 vertebra. The Doctor recommended a fixation with 6 titanium screws and two adjoining bars. I have been pain free ever since... however I have a fairly severe case of drop foot on the right side. For the first few years I used a brace, and I slowly decided not to use it anymore. I can more or less walk without any problems, but have to be very careful about uneven surfaces: Very easy to twist my ankle if I don´t REALLY look where I am going.
I have been trying to get back on my bike,and I find that after about half an hour, my foot just cannot stay on the pedal or within the straps, and standing up while pedaling is just impossible.
I recently tried a "NEW REVOLUTIONARY" brace support... cost me a lot of money and after two weeks ended up in a drawer at home.... completely totally f...ing useless.

Now I really want to embark on this mission to cycle form New Delhi to Goa, and I ask EVERYONE OUT THERE for advice.
I am not a virgin to adventure: I sailed around the world in 1992-1995 with my father on a small sailboat... there were hellish storms when we looked at each other and contemplated the life-raft...

Anybody out there?
G
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Old 01-19-15, 06:43 PM   #21
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I know nothing about the New Delhi-Goa route or what's appropriate there.
That being said, I would suggest looking into recumbent tricycles of various kinds. The advantage being you can come to a full stop, put your foot into/out of a clipless pedal, pedal with strap, or whatever it takes to hold your foot in place while you're riding.
There is an "adaptive cycling" subforum, you might check there also, and if the idea has any merit, check into the recumbent subforum.
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