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Foot numbness

Old 05-31-10, 08:45 PM
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logix
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Foot numbness

As a new 65yr old rider, I am finding that both of my feet become numb about 5 miles into my 15 mile ride. I am wearing regular New Balance xtraining shoes and using cages on my flat pedals. My LBS says that the shoes flex too much and that is what is causing the numbness. They say this can be corrected with bike shoes which aren't as flexible and clip style pedals. After spending the money for a new road bike, helmet, gloves and pump, there isn't any money left for shoes and pedals. My question is "is there any sort of very stiff insole that is available to make my current shoes stiffer and hopefully alleviate some of the numbness"?
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Old 05-31-10, 08:48 PM
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I would think your shoes might be too tight.
I now have 30,000 miles with walking shoes and toe clips, No Straps. Never numb.
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Old 05-31-10, 09:08 PM
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Yes. Loosen your shoelaces.
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Old 05-31-10, 09:14 PM
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Arch Molds insoles(Blue model) have a fairly stiff sole if you do not put them in the oven to mold to your foot. Can be found in running specialty stores. Not cheap at $40+ a set. I use them in my cycling shoes without heating and they work pretty well. Have Mortons Nueuroma on one foot and need a stiff insole.

You may be better off saving up for a pair of road shoes.

I would agree that if you have numbness that soon you need to loosen something. Maybe the toe cages are binding your foot.
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Old 05-31-10, 11:39 PM
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If you watch old videos of Eddy Merckx racing, you might have caught a scene of him pouring water over his feet during a hot race. None of us is immune from some foot discomfort. Back in the days of toe clips/straps, we would buy shoes that fit our feet perfectly, or were maybe a quarter-size small, and we'd let the letter stretch over our feet. The idea was to get the right position over the pedal without having to pack the cliips out with spacers due to dead space in front of the toes. When clipless pedals arrived, we could start to buy comfortable shoes. When I rode with clips, I used size 43 Detto Pietros, or size 42 2/3 Adidas. Now that I'm on clipless, I'm wearimg size 44 Adidas. They are way more comfortable.

As far as the discomfort from not wearing cycling shoes, I don't think you'll find any improvement from wearing real cycling shoes. You will likely get discomfort from pressure on the sides of your soles from having too stiff a sole that you are not used to. You should be able to ride in almost anything. The stiff soles are for deliverying more power (which you are not really concerned with, I suspect), and for protecting your feet from the pedals (if you try riding barefoot, or in slippers, you'll know what I mean). As long as the soles have some stiffness (which x-trainers should have), there shouldn't be a problem. I think you just need to find a more comfortable shoe. Try different brands. Don't worry about getting cycling shoes, unless you want to start doing centuries or something. Then I would suggest you get some Shimano SPD MTB pedals and Shimano touring shoes (or even sandals!) that take SPD cleats so you can still walk around. My stoker's favorite cycling shoes are Nashbar SPD sandals. We've done 80-mile rides in really hot conditions and her feet have been quite happy. That would be my suggestion.

Luis
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Old 06-01-10, 12:47 AM
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You don't say what size your feet are. Mine are large, and if I ride in trainers, which are bulky, there isn't enough room in the cages to allow me to get my foot onto the pedal in the correct position, so I can't ride far without discomfort. Try a less bulky shoe for a change and see if that makes a difference?
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Old 06-01-10, 02:55 AM
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I have been experiencing some numbness or pins and needles in my toes, mostly on the right foot. But I've discovered that the source of it is nowhere near my feet! The saddle I was using managed to press on the inside of my sitbone in just the right spot to put my foot to sleep. Changing to a saddle with a more rounded-off shape helped some. Then I got a new mountain bike that came with a much narrower saddle, and that made an even bigger difference.

But I also noticed that the numbness would completely disappear for a few days after I'd done a weekend backpacking trip, and wondered if all that hiking might have loosened up tight muscles or joints, perhaps they were impinging a nerve slightly or something. I've been experimenting with stretching exercises for my hips and hamstrings, and have noticed an improvement. So...maybe look beyond the immediate area and see if you can identify any other less obvious factors that could be contributing to your troubles.
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Old 06-01-10, 07:22 AM
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I would agree with Denver that making sure the shoes are not too tight - especially in the toebox area- is important. Also, since feet are not all proportioned identically, your toe clips may be locating the pressure points too far to the front of your foot... causing the nerves to go dead. Distance cyclists often locate their cleats toward the back of the shoe, away from the ball of the foot.

I am fighting this myself with some success. Do a search on "hotfoot". There is a thread in the road forum that is highly informative.
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Old 06-02-10, 08:54 AM
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I started riding last year and had foot numbness also. Tried different shoes until i put my tire tread sandals and socks and no more numbness. My feet were cooler also.
After a while also tried one pair of dress shoes that worked well also, they were leather with a stiff sole. As i improved bought clipless pedals and shoes, use two pair of socks and am good to go. Happy peddling.
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Old 06-02-10, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by LAriverRat View Post
I started riding last year and had foot numbness also. Tried different shoes until i put my tire tread sandals and socks and no more numbness. My feet were cooler also.
After a while also tried one pair of dress shoes that worked well also, they were leather with a stiff sole. As i improved bought clipless pedals and shoes, use two pair of socks and am good to go. Happy peddling.
Yes - all I ride in now are riding sandals. I have hot feet, anyway, and the riding sandals are SO MUCH nicer.
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Old 06-02-10, 08:11 PM
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Sandals? Maybe, but I have doubts. Cycling sandals may help but it will likely be not because they provide ventilation but because they are stiff. Why should this numbness happen only five miles into a ride? Foot numbness is more likely to be caused by nerve pressure than by heat and if you are getting this so early in a ride you should take it seriously. I'm guessing stiffer soles and possibly an arch support are what you need. Also, make sure you are not mashing too tall a gear and putting unnecessary pressure on the ball of your foot.

To my knowledge there is no insert or insole that will provide the stiffness you probably need. That has to come from the shoe and it still may not solve the problem if the arch support in the shoe isn't sufficient.

Do a BF search on "neuroma" and you will find interesting reading. Here is one of the better posts on it:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=neuroma
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Old 06-06-10, 10:41 AM
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Thanks for all the helpful information. Yesterday was my first time to ride since my original post. Loosening my shoelaces made a BIG difference in the numbness. Today I plan to remove the straps and see if that helps even more for my size 10.5 W feet. I am using extra length cages instead of the regular sized ones that came with the pedals on my Specialized bike.
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