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  1. #1
    Living 'n Dying in ¾-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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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

  2. #2
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote 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?
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  3. #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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    Living 'n Dying in ¾-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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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".

  5. #5
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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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.

  6. #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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    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonestr View Post
    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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    Senior Member cyclefreaksix's Avatar
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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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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I would definitely consider clipless and use them on both feet.

  10. #10
    Semper Fidelis
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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
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  11. #11
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    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.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  12. #12
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBHoren View Post
    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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    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.

  14. #14
    Living 'n Dying in ¾-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote 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!

  15. #15
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    Quote 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.

  16. #16
    Share The Road bent eagle's Avatar
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    Don't knoch the recumbent trike idea until you've tried it. The Catrike 700 is fun and fast:
    Steve W

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    Quote Originally Posted by bent eagle View Post
    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.

  18. #18
    Living 'n Dying in ¾-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    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!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    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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