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Toe numbness

Old 10-26-09, 12:43 PM
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AcornMan
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Toe numbness

About 30 minutes into my rides, the toes on my right foot start going numb, followed shortly by the toes on my left foot. I've tried standing for a while as I ride or dangling my legs from time to time, but it doesn't seem to help much, if at all. Shortly after my rides, I regain feeling in my toes as I walk around. The same thing happens regardless of the shoes I'm wearing and regardless of whether I'm using platform pedals, toe clips, or clipless pedals. It also doesn't matter whether I'm riding my mountain bike or road bike. Any idea what the problem is? I'm guessing the saddle, but the saddles on those two bikes are very different.
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Old 10-26-09, 12:46 PM
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making
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Well, I am no fit expert but my right toes kept going numb after about 30 miles or so on my road bike. I put the seat up about 2 cm and have never had the problem since. That was on the advice of someone on BF.
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Old 10-26-09, 12:48 PM
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My first thought is that all of your shoes are too tight...especially if you have just begun wearing thicker socks because the weather is getting colder.

Has this always been the case, or has it just started?
If it has just started, can you think of what may have changed just prior to when the numbness started?
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Old 10-26-09, 12:48 PM
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Are you mashing or spinning?
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Old 10-27-09, 11:01 AM
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2dois2b
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I don't want to be alarmist but I used to have a similar problem. I talked to a doctor about it once but he didn't think it was a big deal and we attributed it to an old frostbite injury. Some years went by and it it turned out I had a degenerating disk in my neck (c5-c6) that may have been contributing. The herniated disk was a serious problem requiring immediate surgery and I have some permanent spinal damage. It might have helped to get the MRI sooner.

Anyway, if it seems like your body is doing something weird get it checked. Neurology problems can be hard to diagnose.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 2dois2b View Post
I don't want to be alarmist but I used to have a similar problem. I talked to a doctor about it once but he didn't think it was a big deal and we attributed it to an old frostbite injury. Some years went by and it it turned out I had a degenerating disk in my neck (c5-c6) that may have been contributing. The herniated disk was a serious problem requiring immediate surgery and I have some permanent spinal damage. It might have helped to get the MRI sooner.

Anyway, if it seems like your body is doing something weird get it checked. Neurology problems can be hard to diagnose.
Relax, maybe it is just his seat or shoes. Try those before running to the Neurologist.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:28 PM
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I had the same problem for a while but only on the right side. Started about the same timeframe, too. Switched from a wide seat to a narrow seat, properly positioned it, and then repositioned my foot so that the shaft of the pedal passed under the back of the ball of my foot. (Previously I had been riding with the shaft of the pedal passing under the front or middle.) The numbness stopped immediately and hasn't returned. It sounds uber simple but could it be something as minor as where your foot is positioned on the pedal?
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Old 10-28-09, 09:41 AM
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I have struggled with the same issue for some time now, and only recently decided to get to the bottom of it once and for all. In my research I've found that the suspected causes and remedies vary widely. Some of the more common ones I've found (in no particular order) are cited in the list below. I don't purport to have any expertise or strong opinion about any of these, but felt that it would be helpful to begin compiling a list in an effort to resolve the problem. Hope this helps.

Seat Positioning/Height
Problem: An issue related to blood flow that starts higher in the leg and effects the extremities
Solution: Raise Height - Some recommend that the leg have only a 5 to 7 degree bend when fully extended. // Change Position - A few millimeters forward, backward, or to either side can sometimes make a big difference.

Seat Type/Brand
Problem: Seat type/construction/materials/width constricts blood flow or creates pressure points.
Solution: Experiment with different seats. Try to find a shop that will let you "try before you buy" or return if necessary.

Pedaling Technique
Problem: Too much constant pressure on the toes
Solution: Focus on good pedal stroke technique; spinning at a good cadence (90+), and getting out of the saddle more often.
Reference: The Perfect Pedal Stroke: http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6...5647-1,00.html

Slow Cadence/Heavy Gears
Problem: Slower cadence in heavier gears creates constant pressure on feet/toes.
Solution: Easier gears and higher cadence. Try to spin no slower than 90 RPM; ideally closer to 100. This will reduce the pressure on your feet caused during the downstroke in heavier gears, and will create a lighter, more circular pedal stroke.

Shoe Fit
Problem: Shoes are too tight, restricting blood flow to toes. Insole is not well suited to your foot and creating pressure in the wrong areas.
Solutions:
- Feet can swell up to 1/2 size during rides. Try loosening straps for the first 30+ minutes, then tighten a little bit later on if desired.
- Try new insoles with more/less arch support depending on your foot type. Some even recommend custom orthotics.
- Try a different model or brand of shoe. ex. Specialized sells Body Geometry shoes with insoles of varying firmness. You can also buy the insoles separately.
Reference: http://www.bicycling.com/article/1,6...4655-1,00.html

Pedal System Brand/Type
Problem: Pedal construction/cleat type sometimes not suited to foot
Solution: Try a different pedal system. Another completely personal preference. Some swear that changing from Speedplay to Shimano fixed the issue, while others argue for the opposite direction or a different brand altogether.

Cleat Positioning
Problem: Cleats may be in the wrong position; usually too far forward, thereby creating undue pressure on toes.
Solution: Experiment with moving cleats back a few millimeters to see if this shifts pressure more evenly to the ball of the foot, rather than the toes.

Links referencing some or all of the above...
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in...p/t-11224.html
http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/di...23521&posts=17
http://bikenoob.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/numb-toes/
http://www.mapmyride.com/community/d...umb-toes-feet/
Lots of other posts here on bikeforums.net

Last edited by bmunroe; 10-28-09 at 10:01 AM.
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