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I need some advice with my feet falling asleep !!!!

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DY Cycles

Joined: 15 Sep 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:15 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: I need some advice with my feet falling asleep !!!! Reply with quote

This is painful...I've had so many tell me so many different things this could be, SPD's vs. LOOK, Not the right shoes, bike fit....on and on..
The last time I asked a Bike Barn professional, I was told it was probably because when you clip in to the pedals, it straightens out your feet and perhaps your feet are not straight to begin with...OK, so now what?

Anyway..I'm good for the first 50 miles of a road ride...but then I can feel the tingle and it gets down right painful. It's only my left foot and its the 3 smaller toes...I've tried to think of what was the cause...and i'm clueless.

Bike Doc, Do you have any idea what is causing this and how I can fix it..

Thank you,
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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1398
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:35 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the pain just being in one foot and involving three smaller toes makes me think of something locally going on in the foot. You may be developing a neuroma, a fibrous enlargement to the nerve that goes to those three toes. The bicycling may be causing some compression to the foot bones (the tarsals) on either side of the neuroma; add some swelling to the feet that usually develop with longer rides and you have compression of the neuroma and the resultant tingling and pain to the toes.

Other possible trigger includes soles to the shoes that are not firm enough causing undue local compression of the area of the foot under those toes but, this is less likely as both feet would likely be giving you problems if this were the case.

You may also have a left foot that is slightly larger than the right and the left shoe is just a tad tight. Add some swelling to the feet with a long ride and the left foot gets nailed due to it being slightly larger than the right. The solution for this problem is to have your feet measured with the old fashion foot sizer device that gives you your foot length in size and in width. It is hard to find these any more but an old fashion shoe store may have them. Then buy your shoes to fit your larger foot and wear an extra sock on the smaller foot. If the difference is more than one half size US, then you would be best off buy two pairs of shoes, one pair sized for the larger foot, the other pair sized for the smaller foot. You could go to the even higher expense of getting custom shoes made. I have posted here on the forum a similar discussion on shoe sizes; see this posting for more details:

Another thing I think about is simple miss alignment of the cleats to the shoes. If your left foot natural position is more outwardly rotatied than the right, and you have both cleats set up so the foot position is identical, the stage is set for causing undue lateral compression to the left foot that squeezes the nerves to the three small toes. Do the following simple test: with bare feet, wet the bottom of your feet and walk across some concrete so you can see the natural position your feet assume when you walk, revealed by the wet foot prints you leave behind. Next take your bike shoes and clip just the shoes into the pedals (no feet in the shoes) and see how they are positioned on the pedal relative to your natural foot position. Adjust the cleat position to allow your feet go to their natural position. Remember when adjusting the cleats from the bottom of the shoe, everything is upside down and backwards in the direction you wish to go; so when you adjust the cleat rotate the cleat position on the shoe in the opposite direction you want to move the shoe. It will take a few trial and errors to get the position just right but it is well worth the effort. I do this whenever I set up a new set of clippless shoes for my bicycle riding.

Now if the issue is due to a neuroma or other structural problem to the foot, then a visit with a Podiatrist is in order. Bring your bike shoes and bicycle along for the Podiatrist to evaluate. He or she may be able to manage the problem with you without surgical intervention. Some neuromas or serious foot bone abnormalities that are causing nerve compression may require surgery. The Podiatrist will give you a thorough evaluation and help you sort out the problem and offer appropriate interventions, often times without requiring surgery. I hope this helps.

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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