Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

At wits' end with feet falling asleep. Help?

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

At wits' end with feet falling asleep. Help?

Old 04-29-15, 10:45 PM
  #1  
onesmalldrop 
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 37
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At wits' end with feet falling asleep. Help?

So I ride a road bike with platform pedals, and a few months ago, out of the blue, my feet started falling asleep with a vengeance after way too little time in the saddle. The only thing that had changed about my bike set-up was that I switched from an 80mm stem to a 90, and am using different brake levers. Other than that, everything was the same: same shoes, same pedals, same saddle. Since this started happening, I've tried moving my saddle up, down, back, and forwards, and tried two different new pairs of supposedly platform pedal-specific shoes: Chrome Truks and Five-Ten Freeriders, and none of this helped. (Thank God for REI's unreasonably generous return policy, or I'd be deep in the hole right now.) I'm open to trying new pedals, I guess, but the ones I use--MKS Grip Kings, the crazy battle-axe looking ones--have served me well for years and I can't imagine a more comfortable platform pedal.

Anyway, I'm getting really demoralized. Cycling is becoming a lot less fun, and that sucks. Any help or advice (besides "go clipless") would be much appreciated.
onesmalldrop is offline  
Old 04-29-15, 10:55 PM
  #2  
SevenTwentyNine
Senior Member
 
SevenTwentyNine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 415

Bikes: Wheelbarrow

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by onesmalldrop View Post
So I ride a road bike with platform pedals, and a few months ago, out of the blue, my feet started falling asleep with a vengeance after way too little time in the saddle. The only thing that had changed about my bike set-up was that I switched from an 80mm stem to a 90, and am using different brake levers. Other than that, everything was the same: same shoes, same pedals, same saddle. Since this started happening, I've tried moving my saddle up, down, back, and forwards, and tried two different new pairs of supposedly platform pedal-specific shoes: Chrome Truks and Five-Ten Freeriders, and none of this helped. (Thank God for REI's unreasonably generous return policy, or I'd be deep in the hole right now.) I'm open to trying new pedals, I guess, but the ones I use--MKS Grip Kings, the crazy battle-axe looking ones--have served me well for years and I can't imagine a more comfortable platform pedal.

Anyway, I'm getting really demoralized. Cycling is becoming a lot less fun, and that sucks. Any help or advice (besides "go clipless") would be much appreciated.
Go clipless - yeah yeah I know you said xyz about it but there is a reason we keep egging it on you. Also get out of the saddle more, vary between pointing your toes up and down to activate different muscles - a lot easier to do if.... you ..... go ...... clipless. The other two besides going clipless might help, or might not .... but seriously go clipless.
SevenTwentyNine is offline  
Old 04-29-15, 11:16 PM
  #3  
onesmalldrop 
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 37
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Platforms are simply my personal preference. I've done centuries, tours, huge mountain rides, you name it, and never had any issues until recently. The platforms aren't the problem. (From what I've researched, the feet falling asleep issue seems to affect clipless riders pretty often as well).

I've tried getting out of the saddle and changing my foot angle, and it sometimes helps a little, temporarily, but this isn't something that's starting to happen to me at the 20, 30 mile mark or whatever–after like ten minutes on the bike, my toes are already tingling. I'm thinking I might try metatarsal inserts.
onesmalldrop is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 02:54 AM
  #4  
K.Katso
Gold Member
 
K.Katso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Haarlem, Netherlands
Posts: 1,313

Bikes: Pinarello Dogma F8, Pinarello Bolide, Argon 18 E-118, Bianchi Oltre, Cervelo S1, Wilier Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you put the original stem and brake levers on, does the problem go away?
K.Katso is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 07:15 AM
  #5  
Burnette
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 138
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Comfortably Numb

Barring some medical condition (a trip to the doc isn't a bad idea), the reason for numb toes is usually caused by clenching your feet, balling up your toes like you ball up your hand into a fist.
Doesn't take long before blood circulation is restricted and feet go numb. Happens with platform and clipless systems in kind, both users can have this issue.
Why is it happening now? You say you changed your stem. A fit issue and a change in ride behavoir might be factors.
If you pitch yourself farther forward with that stem and you don't have the core strength to hold your upper body off the bars, your torso is straining to keep you up and back and your legs are tensed against this motion, ending in the feet being clenched in an effort to push up against your falling upper body.
Another fit issue, a seat set too high causes your leg muscles to contract on every pedal downstroke to counter act the motion of over extention. Pedaling with legs over extended is very destructive and can cause your symptoms and do knee damage.
A change in pace and intensity will cause clenched toes too. Push faster and harder with tensed legs and you may be balling up your toes in your shoes.
If you are just cruising along and get numb toes quickly I would say it has more to do with your placement on the bike and your foots reaction to it. Easy enough to discount this yourself. Pay attention to your toes as you ride. Are your feet realxed?
If so, again, a trip to a physician would be prudent just to rule any medical condition out.
And check out all your contact points of your bike fit again. It all started with a stem change, start there.
Burnette is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 07:43 AM
  #6  
PiLigand
Climbing: Ropes or Wheels
 
PiLigand's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Unied States, Maine
Posts: 385

Bikes: 2012 Scott Foil 30, Homebrew Windsor Fens Build, 2015 Fuji Touring, 1980 Univega

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've found that over-tightening the laces or buckles on the tops of my shoes (nearest the ankle) can be really easy and cause my feet to fall asleep sometimes. Try loosening your laces/buckles just a smidge perhaps?
PiLigand is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 07:47 AM
  #7  
Bunyanderman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: California
Posts: 1,300

Bikes: NeilPryde Alize Raleigh Misceo 2.0

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
One guy at the bike shop said that once you start riding, your feet will swell a little causing it to be uncomfortable. I will often un-clip and raise my foot back and up for a couple of seconds and some shakes and it will solve all my numbness.
Bunyanderman is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 08:15 AM
  #8  
carpediemracing 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Posts: 15,173

Bikes: Tsunami Bikes

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 16 Posts
One thing about numb feet is that it's because your circulation is getting cut off somewhere, usually on a pressure point. With platform pedals you only have one real pressure point, the pedal. With clipless you can pull up and unweight the sole of your shoe, allowing circulation briefly. This is one huge benefit of clipless pedals, and if you're not into the style of the road pedals you can get a mountain bike style one, or even one with a platform pedal.

A slightly less extreme way of hopefully doing the same thing while using your current platform pedals is to use good quality cycling shoes with a full rigid sole, one that doesn't bend near the heel (aka not one advertised to be good for walking around). The reason this can help is that instead of focusing all the pressure just in the pedal area, the sole will distribute the pressure across the whole sole. This way you have less peak pressure around the pedal area.
__________________
"...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson
carpediemracing is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 08:16 AM
  #9  
dvdslw
Senior Member
 
dvdslw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Apopka, Florida
Posts: 1,422

Bikes: Trek Domane SLR

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 170 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by PiLigand View Post
I've found that over-tightening the laces or buckles on the tops of my shoes (nearest the ankle) can be really easy and cause my feet to fall asleep sometimes. Try loosening your laces/buckles just a smidge perhaps?
This^ If my shoes are buckled too tight my feet fall asleep every time.
dvdslw is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 08:32 AM
  #10  
PiLigand
Climbing: Ropes or Wheels
 
PiLigand's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Unied States, Maine
Posts: 385

Bikes: 2012 Scott Foil 30, Homebrew Windsor Fens Build, 2015 Fuji Touring, 1980 Univega

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
OH! another idea. My feet tend to fall asleep while running on an elliptical. I imagine that since the platform stays with my feet and the pressure is never totally relieved, blood flow is consistently restricted.
Since its a similar motion with pedaling platforms, if you're never not putting any pressure on a platform (which may have been affected when you started leaning forward more due to your new stem; you're keeping more weight on your toes) then you're getting the same effects of consistent pressure without relief.
Putting your old stem on might help. Also, think about letting off some of the downward pressure on your upstroke. Do you use cages at least?
Lastly, clipless, but I know you didn't want to hear that. It would help relieve the pressure on the bottom of your feet.
PiLigand is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 12:51 PM
  #11  
onesmalldrop 
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 37
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for all the replies! Lots of food for thought.

To all of those asking if I've tried going back to the old stem: fair point. I'm skeptical that this is the cause, because I've tried moving the seat forward to negate the distance, and experimented with moving my hands backwards on the bars just to see if that helps, but I realize bike geometry is a little more complicated than that.

I think the next step for me will be to try metatarsal inserts—like carpediemracing said, I think I'm having some kind of pinched pressure point on the balls of my feet, and now that super keyed into my feet, I'm noticing even off the bike that I feel like I could use some more support in that area. Maybe it's something I've always needed but it hasn't manifested until now.
onesmalldrop is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 05:39 PM
  #12  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,884

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3114 Post(s)
Liked 333 Times in 214 Posts
Do your shoes have stiff soles? If your shoes are flex-y, you might be putting pressure on a certain part of your foot, but if they are stiff there should be less pressure.

Are your shoes tight?

Do you wear socks? Are the socks quite tight?

How have your other joints been feeling lately ... knee, hip, lower back?

Do you stretch while riding? Do you stand up and do a couple calf raises ... take your foot off the pedal and flex it in a circle ...
Machka is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 06:22 PM
  #13  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,147

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 464 Post(s)
Liked 197 Times in 147 Posts
Originally Posted by onesmalldrop View Post
So I ride a road bike with platform pedals, and a few months ago, out of the blue, my feet started falling asleep with a vengeance after way too little time in the saddle.
Since breaking my leg and stretching a nerve my right toes go to sleep when I wear thin cycling socks, often after 45 minutes. Laces tight or loose don't eliminate the problem. Thick socks are fine.

I ride flexible Shimano touring shoes, and have no clue if stiffer ones work with thin socks.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 04-30-15 at 06:26 PM.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 04-30-15, 06:27 PM
  #14  
nkfrench 
Senior Member
 
nkfrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 1,846

Bikes: 2006 Specialized Ruby Pro aka "Rhubarb" / and a backup road bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 4 Posts
You don't need to go with clipless pedals to wear a stiff-soled shoe while riding. My mountain bike shoes have an inset that must be removed to attach the cleat.
Are your feet swelling more than usual?

I've had trouble with numb feet when the shoe was too tight, or riding a semi-recumbant bike at the gym (my feet were too high in the air). Both caused insufficient blood flow to the feet.
nkfrench is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
onesmalldrop
Fitting Your Bike
3
05-02-15 08:45 AM
tahoe_girl
Hybrid Bicycles
2
07-16-12 01:03 AM
Cujo2811
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
10
06-12-11 08:36 AM
quester
Touring
18
03-13-10 09:57 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.