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Big toe is a tad numb from cycling

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Big toe is a tad numb from cycling

Old 09-10-18, 01:30 PM
  #1  
SurlyRoadRider
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Big toe is a tad numb from cycling

I'm 66 but a very young 66 and generally in good shape. I'm 5'11" and weigh 160 pounds. I recently retired and have been riding my bike frequently now for the past couple months. I got a new road bike- Surly Midnight Special and am really enjoying it. The bike shop fine tuned the fit for me and it feels comfortable. A few weeks ago I put a new Brooks saddle on and am very happy with it.

I had done almost daily 20-40 minute rides around my neighborhood to build up stamina and get my muscles toned up, since I hadn't ridden much at all for the past several years. The other day I did a 90 minute ride, more than half of it into the wind. I felt good after getting back but the next day noticed my big toe felt a little numb. It's not too bothersome but it's stayed that way for about 4 days now. I've ridden the bike since with little to no discomfort; I just don't want the numbness to get worse or cause any nerve damage.

I think the issue might be that I'm wearing tennis shoes on the bike, and since they have some flex to them, maybe the pressure on my foot/toe has caused the numbness. My peddles are the somewhat wide type that have pegs sticking up for the rubber of the shoe to sink into. They're comfortable and the bike in general feels comfortable. My leg doesn't show any symptoms, just the toe. So do I maybe need to use a harder shoe or bike shoes with a clip type peddle? If so what should I look for?

Last edited by SurlyRoadRider; 09-10-18 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 09-10-18, 02:07 PM
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fietsbob
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shoes too tight?

I rode multi month tours , toe clip pedals, loose fitting shoes

with arch supporting insoles they usually add stiffeners..





....

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-10-18 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 09-10-18, 03:33 PM
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Maybe go see a podiatrist, especially one who works with athletes.

Anyway, in my limited experience I wouldn't think that shoes that are too flexy would cause toe problems. I'd expect to see an issue in the arch (which is the problem I have with flexy shoes)

You might as well try a different pair of shoes - that's your cheapest, easiest option. Thinner socks? Don't lace the shoes too tight? I've seen people riding in sandals too, you can always give that a whirl to see if it addresses your numbness.

If you're saying your numb toes persist 4 days after riding then definitely get a doc to look at them.
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Old 09-10-18, 03:44 PM
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I would think part of the problem is the tennis shoes, using some shoes that have a very stiff sole may distribute the pressure from the pedals more evenly around the feet. But for your toes to be numb for 4 days thats unusual, maybe you should the doctor about this.
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Old 09-10-18, 04:04 PM
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It's just the one (big) toe, and no, the shoes aren't too tight or laced too tight. They're shoes I wear every day for most of the time I have shoes on. Cyclist2000 says what I'm thinking- a stiff sole might be better to distribute the pressure on the foot. I have some hard sole Red Wing shoes I use for gardening, maybe I should try them.
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Old 09-10-18, 07:12 PM
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Stiffer shoes. If you ride with toe clips and straps your foot is probably in the correct pedaling position, and if no clips be sure you're pedaling with the ball of your foot and not the arch. This also affects your pedaling efficiency. I'd recommend stiffer soles, like a low trekker instead of a sneaker. A cycling-specific shoe of any type might not be in your plans but would almost certainly be stiffer than what you're using now.
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Old 09-10-18, 07:34 PM
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I would first say that you should have stiff sole shoes such as Shimano or Pearl Izumi mountain bike shoes. Sooner or later you're going to change to Shimano SpD pedals so you might as well be prepared.

The toe numbness is usually from shoes a little too small but at your age I'm sure that you know what size your feet are. Therefore the alternative is that you are tying the shoes improperly so that your foot can slip back and forth and that is hidden from you from the pedaling action.
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Old 09-11-18, 09:28 AM
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For riding with flats the most comfortable shoe/pedal combination I've found is...

Five Ten Freerider Flat Mountain Bike Shoes:
https://www.adidasoutdoor.com/FT07.html

DMR Vault Pedals:
https://www.dmrbikes.com/Catalogue/P...lt-2/Vault-NEW

The shoes are very grippy on the pedal. They're not particularly stiff. The pedal is a very large platform (which supports the foot well) with a slight curve which I've found from experience is very comfortable. They're so comfortable I'm actually slightly more comfortable on the bike than I am walking around in any of my shoes.

That's what I suggest to everyone because it's what works very well for me. (I've tried several shoes, several pedals, etc).
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Old 09-11-18, 11:10 AM
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Happy feet usually requires 1) a slightly-large toebox in the shoe, 2) a seriously stiff shoe (best: carbon outsole). If you're buying shoes, don't "cheap out' on your feet, get good shoes for your next two thousand hours of riding. Also, find a dealer with free returns, buy your size and one size bigger, try them out on the living room carpet and buy the ones that "err on the big-ish side."
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Old 09-11-18, 11:51 AM
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Made a Neurologist appointment yet?
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Old 09-18-18, 09:02 AM
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The tennis shoes are too flexible. I started off riding in walking and running shoes. Same problem, big toe hurt for days after. Switched to Freerider flat MB shoes. Problem gone.
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Old 09-18-18, 09:11 AM
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Stiffer shoe, it don't need to be a clipless system just a stiffer bottom. and feet swell a lot when cycling, so a bigger toe box is good!
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Old 09-18-18, 09:46 AM
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I use New Balance trainer shoes--flat soled, somewhat stiff--on Raceface Chester platform pedals. Rode 200 miles a weekend for the last several weeks without numbness. I have had numbness before, but that's because I was using shoes that weren't flat soled. For me, that's the key.

Every foot is different, however, so it usually comes down to trial and error.

I will say I've never owned a pair of Five Tens, but I've never seen anyone say they regretted buying them.
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Old 09-18-18, 10:01 AM
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Clem von Jones
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Give up coffee. You're too old to drink it because it's a vasoconstrictor which is why your hands and feet feel cold after drinking it. It also causes high blood pressure.

Your saddle is likely too far forward, Brooks require extra setback using an offset seatpost.
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Old 09-18-18, 10:23 AM
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livedarklions
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
Give up coffee. You're too old to drink it because it's a vasoconstrictor which is why your hands and feet feel cold after drinking it. It also causes high blood pressure.

Your saddle is likely too far forward, Brooks require extra setback using an offset seatpost.
Any other facts not in evidence you want to assume?

Coffee doesn't make my hands and feet cold unless I ice it and soak my hands and feet in it. That almost certainly has nothing to do with the problem--it's not a strong enough vasoconstrictor to likely cause numbness.
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Old 09-23-18, 08:54 PM
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The slight numbness went away a week or two ago now. I tried riding with a pair of Red Wing shoes I have, but they rubbed against the front tire a couple times. Went on another almost 2 hour ride with the tennis shoes and no problems this time.

Thanks everyone, I'll keep this thread for reference if the problem reoccurs.

btw, Clem, I don't drink coffee so no worry on that one! : )
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