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  1. #1
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    Dealing with sore feet

    On longer rides (long for me at least), I sometimes get very sore feet (probably swollen), sometimes to the point where I have to cut the ride short of my target distance. I'm not getting hot spots on the feet. Instead, they are (the both of them) just generally sore all over. If I loosen the straps on my shoes, it'll get better for a while, but eventually it worsens. I had to cut a first century attempt short this weekend because of my feet. The legs were strong enough, but my feet were killing me.

    Do y'all experience this when you ride? If so, are there common solutions/strategies for either avoiding or managing the pain?

    Thanks in advance.
    - Mark

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    sore footsies

    Quote Originally Posted by markewallace
    On longer rides (long for me at least), I sometimes get very sore feet (probably swollen), sometimes to the point where I have to cut the ride short of my target distance. I'm not getting hot spots on the feet. Instead, they are (the both of them) just generally sore all over. If I loosen the straps on my shoes, it'll get better for a while, but eventually it worsens. I had to cut a first century attempt short this weekend because of my feet. The legs were strong enough, but my feet were killing me.

    Do y'all experience this when you ride? If so, are there common solutions/strategies for either avoiding or managing the pain?

    Thanks in advance.
    I have had this problem especially in hot weather. Since then I have tried old school slotted cleat road shoes, SPD MTB shoes, Lake cycling sandals, sans cleats, skater shoes and finally Teva sandals with no foot retention at all. Finally, no more numb feet. I use 46x36x24 and 12-32 gearing on a 32mm 700c wheel hooked up to a 1983 Raleigh tour bike. I try to maintain a proper high cadence spin, hence the lower gearing overall.

  3. #3
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    You should also give Superfeet a try. They make a cycling specific insole, I ended up going with the orange insole in my riding shoes. Take you riding shoes with you, to see what insole works best for you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    If you don't correct your problems, I can predict that eventually you'll suffer nerve damage. After putting up with the pain for several hundred thousands miles, that's what happens.......

    Work on your stroke, use customize insoles......

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    Senior Member Goonster's Avatar
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    Many randonneurs upsize their shoes. I know of folks who get a pair of their "normal" shoes in the wide version andone full size larger. Wear thicker (or double) socks early in the ride, before your feet swell.

    I've also had good results with the blue superfeet insoles, which were a definite improvement over the flimsy things that came with my Sidis. I'd say that insoles are possibly the most underrated and neglected piece of cycling equipment. When you think about how much attention and money is spent on frames, fitting, saddles, clothing, etc. it's surprising that not more riders have custom insoles, especially when so many complain of foot pain.

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    different approach

    In fairness, I have never tried a modern expensive road shoe like the Sidi wide shoe but I suspect that your shoes are too small and your circulation is reduced. Does this happen more in hot weather and less when its cool? My approach is unorthodox, as I completely abandoned, modern clip in riding shoes and use sandals that allow "maximum float", room for my expanding foot, room for my toes (allows me to avoid toenail pain from them getting jammed in the toebox) and with the use of a wide platform pedal there is less psi on the bottoms of my feet, since the load is spread out over a large surface area instead of concentraiting all that force onto a tiny shoe cleat and mounting plate. I always felt the mounting plate through my shoe with SPD's. I've tried powergrips and toeclips and am riding now with no retention and a sole that grips the pedal and allows me to swipe back, push forward and of course, push down. I have yet to notice a measureable difference in speed but I don't get anal about that either. I have an electronic speedo and haven't noticed a drop in my average but my feet are comfortable. I may find some problems on really long rides but so far so good.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markewallace
    Do y'all experience this when you ride? If so, are there common solutions/strategies for either avoiding or managing the pain?
    Assuming you are using clipless pedals: the common solution is to move the cleats back a small amount.

  8. #8
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    I've moved to slightly larger shoes (also allows me to wear thicker socks in the winter!)

    Some of the best $$ I've spent in cycling was on a pro fit and custom insoles. (pro fit included bike fit, spin scan, cleat alignment, and custom orthotics)
    I used to get sore feet as well... after my insoles and fit the soreness disappeared.

    The nice thing about having insoles (and the fit) was that we corrected my forefoot varus (wobbling knee through the pedal stroke) with the insoles. Fixed 2 problems with 1 solution.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    If you don't correct your problems, I can predict that eventually you'll suffer nerve damage. After putting up with the pain for several hundred thousands miles, that's what happens.......

    Work on your stroke, use customize insoles......
    Something tells me that I'll have a whole different set of non bike-related ailments long before I reach hundreds of thousands of miles on my bike.

    But the point re: stroke and insoles is well-taken. My stroke is completely untrained, so I'm sure it could use some work.
    - Mark

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles vail
    Does this happen more in hot weather and less when its cool?
    I haven't been riding long enough to experience much heat yet, so I'm not sure. That said, it does mean that my feet start to hurt in cooler (Texas, so mid-high 80's so far) weather. Whether it gets worse in hot weather, I cannot yet say.

    On my last 50-miler (Wednesday), I tried arching my foot a bit first and just gently laid the velcro straps closed instead of trying to pull them snug. That seemed to help a bit, but I need to experiment a bit more. I'm planning 70 miles tomorrow, so we'll see what happens.

    I'm also kinda wondering if it's not just something like my feet aren't strong enough yet to handle that many miles and are getting fatigued beyond 50-60 miles. Is foot strength/endurance much of a factor in distance cycling? I'm still a little new to this.
    - Mark

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Assuming you are using clipless pedals: the common solution is to move the cleats back a small amount.
    Yeah, I've heard the same thing. I'll consider that if I can't find anything else that works. I definitely haven't ruled that out.
    - Mark

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    different things

    Quote Originally Posted by markewallace
    I haven't been riding long enough to experience much heat yet, so I'm not sure. That said, it does mean that my feet start to hurt in cooler (Texas, so mid-high 80's so far) weather. Whether it gets worse in hot weather, I cannot yet say.

    On my last 50-miler (Wednesday), I tried arching my foot a bit first and just gently laid the velcro straps closed instead of trying to pull them snug. That seemed to help a bit, but I need to experiment a bit more. I'm planning 70 miles tomorrow, so we'll see what happens.

    I'm also kinda wondering if it's not just something like my feet aren't strong enough yet to handle that many miles and are getting fatigued beyond 50-60 miles. Is foot strength/endurance much of a factor in distance cycling? I'm still a little new to this.
    It could be several things. It sounds like your shoes are too small and you may be pushing too high of a gear. Drop down one more cog than usual and spin at a higher rpm. Its difficult but just try to maintain spinning rather than mashing and see if it helps along with larger shoes to allow room for your feet to swell a little. You might even try riding platforms and regular sport shoes or sandals to give your feet room as an experiement. I went to using regular sandals but both Lake and Shimano make SPD compatable cycling sandals.

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