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Is "hot foot" caused by an inefficient pedal stroke?

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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

Is "hot foot" caused by an inefficient pedal stroke?

Old 08-22-12, 07:18 AM
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xfimpg
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Is "hot foot" caused by an inefficient pedal stroke?

Hi

After about 2 hours on the bike, I begin to get "hot foot" in both feet, ball of the feet are totally numb.
After about 3 hours, it turns into excruciating pain on the outside of the foot up to the middle toe.

What I noticed about my pedal stroke is that the ball of my foot never leaves the sole of the shoe, like the ball of the foot never gets any relief.
I've researched the pedal stroke and there seems to be different schools of thought so I thought I would post here.
What I have noticed is that when I focus on spinning my tibias instead of my feet, my feet tend to come off the sole more often, or only touch lightly, and I'm actually a bit faster on climbs. I found this method visualization pretty effective, but tiring on the legs!

Has anyone resolved their "hot foot" issues by changing their pedal stroke?
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Old 08-22-12, 08:22 AM
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Namji
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What kind of pedals? I've read that the smaller platform pedals cause more hotspots than the bigger platform...
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Old 08-22-12, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Namji View Post
What kind of pedals? I've read that the smaller platform pedals cause more hotspots than the bigger platform...
Hi
I have the Speedplay Zero with a Shimano R087GS (wide) shoe.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:34 AM
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Clem von Jones
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Maybe your cleats are too far forward, insufficient saddle set-back?
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Old 08-22-12, 08:35 AM
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No, it's not an "inefficient" pedal stroke. Your shoe doesn't fit you right. The ball of my foot never loses contact with the shoe, but my feet don't bother me. Get fitted with shoes or at least footbeds that fit your feet right.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:36 AM
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Cleat placement is usually the first culprit. Try moving your cleats back.

Also, keep in mind that your feet are probably swelling after an hour or so. You may need to loosen your shoes.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:38 AM
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You should be unweighting your pedal on the upstroke. Try pulling up a little more on the upstroke.

Fall is coming which is a good time to go for longer easier rides and concentrate on improving your pedalling mechanics. Do some rides and stay in the little ring and keep your cadence up over 100RPM. Pedalling, without bouncing in the saddle, at 120RPM will smooth out your stroke.

edit: I used to have the problem you described, 4 yrs ago when I started back into cycling seriously. I no longer have any issues and haven't changed my shoes, cleats or position. I think I do have a smoother pedalling style though.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:42 AM
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It's caused by lack of circulation. If you have a softer insole it'll help immensely. If you're over-tightening the front of your shoes that will cause it also, no matter what kind of insole you have. "Over-tightening" is relative - it may feel too loose (it does for me) but any tighter than that and you start getting that hot foot syndrome (I do).

And, of course, unweighting your foot helps too. As a bonus you'll have more power in your pedal stroke. It may be tiring now but that's because it's not natural yet, and you only do it when you think about it. Make it natural and you'll have a much more efficient pedal stroke, more power, and hopefully you'll be riding faster/easier.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
Maybe your cleats are too far forward, insufficient saddle set-back?
I checked and my cleats could be moved back about 1.5mm before maxing out.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
Hi
I have the Speedplay Zero with a Shimano R087GS (wide) shoe.
That's almost the exact combination I use, and I don't get 'hot foot'.

Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
Hi
Is "hot foot" caused by an inefficient pedal stroke?
Similar issues happen in hiking and climbing. Based on that experience I'd suggest that (IMHO) - it could be caused by this, and/or many other things. Could be the stroke, the fit, the shoe, the cleat position (which is part of "fit"), the inner sole, or even something to do with the foot's circulation.

Cheapest / quickest thing to try fixing it:
Try moving the cleats around, and consider replacing the shoes' inner sole with something more specific to your foot.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:32 AM
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Check that your shoes aren't too narrow or snug. I prefer a small amount of looseness so my foot can move around slightly.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:35 AM
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I get the same thing with my shoes that are a bit too narrow. Keep your shoes loose, that may help too.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:36 AM
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Thanks guys for chiming in. I looked more closely at my insoles (I have bg blue, bg green, and superfeet green - I have a med-to-high arch and wide feet) and I noticed that my foot is wider than my insole! More specifically, my foot is wider exactly at the area on the outside of my foot where I get the pain, missing about a 1/2 inch of width. This has got to mean something.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Check that your shoes aren't too narrow or snug. I prefer a small amount of looseness so my foot can move around slightly.
Yup, agreed, I keep my shoes very loose. I scrunch up my toes and them set the straps every time.
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Old 08-22-12, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
Thanks guys for chiming in. I looked more closely at my insoles (I have bg blue, bg green, and superfeet green - I have a med-to-high arch and wide feet) and I noticed that my foot is wider than my insole! More specifically, my foot is wider exactly at the area on the outside of my foot where I get the pain, missing about a 1/2 inch of width. This has got to mean something.
Total silence... or is that a "Gong!" I hear in the background?
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Old 08-22-12, 12:13 PM
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I had the same problem but with my toes. Loosened up my shoes, problem solved.
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Old 08-22-12, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Gharp23 View Post
I had the same problem but with my toes. Loosened up my shoes, problem solved.
Interesting you and a few others mentionned this... I went for a 2-hour ride this afternoon, put on my shoes without scrunching my toes as I normally do and began getting hot feet after about 20 minutes. Loosened up the straps and the hot foot went away. What I did have for the remainder of the ride was numb feet, but easier to ride with than hot feet.
Making progress!
Still not sure about the width of the sole I mentionned previously, I will purchase wide insoles and see what happens.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:07 PM
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This is what I would do... 1 get a descent pair of socks. Somehow some socks are good to ride for weeks and others after 2 or 3 hours are a real PITA. I have a set of campagnolo ones that I cant ride more than 3 hours w/o having issues, meanwhile with a pair of RH+ i never had a single problem with them.

I doubt you need to shim because the pain is way after many hours, shim issues show up after 15 to 30 minutes of riding.

Another thing, that your feet has like a medium arch doesnt mean you need more support in the arches. Seat in a chair, lift one feet and look at the arch, I bet has more curve than when you put the feet in the floor. When you ride you ride with the arches in the air, not flat like in the floor. How do you fix the problem cheaply? Cut a piece of handlebar ribbon and put it under the insole in the arch area to make it stifffer... and test doing that. IMO you need tiny more support, thats why when you tight the straps the feet gets good support from the shoe and the pain is gone.

Just two things to try, try the second one because is the easier one to try. Spend in new socks can get you 10 to 25 bucks poorer.

Good luck.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
This is what I would do... 1 get a descent pair of socks. Somehow some socks are good to ride for weeks and others after 2 or 3 hours are a real PITA. I have a set of campagnolo ones that I cant ride more than 3 hours w/o having issues, meanwhile with a pair of RH+ i never had a single problem with them.

I doubt you need to shim because the pain is way after many hours, shim issues show up after 15 to 30 minutes of riding.

Another thing, that your feet has like a medium arch doesnt mean you need more support in the arches. Seat in a chair, lift one feet and look at the arch, I bet has more curve than when you put the feet in the floor. When you ride you ride with the arches in the air, not flat like in the floor. How do you fix the problem cheaply? Cut a piece of handlebar ribbon and put it under the insole in the arch area to make it stifffer... and test doing that. IMO you need tiny more support, thats why when you tight the straps the feet gets good support from the shoe and the pain is gone.

Just two things to try, try the second one because is the easier one to try. Spend in new socks can get you 10 to 25 bucks poorer.

Good luck.
Thanks Ultraman, I'll update the thread and maybe this could be useful to someone else someday.

I have tried different socks in the past, I used Craft cycling socks (poly-moly-chemical-something-or-other material) which gave me hot feet and then switched to thin wool socks, Defeet Wooleators. Get hot feet with those too.
Thanks for the shimming comment, i'm glad that takes that out of the equation. Tomorrow I'm driving to Boston to try on a bunch of wide shoes and will bring mine for comparison. I did notice today while riding that my pinky toes touch the inside of the shoe, will compare with other brands tomorrow.
I think I'm okay for the arches, I use Superfeet green. Tomorrow I will purchase these in a Wide, cut them to size, and see what happens.
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