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Numb toes
#1
Hello everyone,

I finally did it: I went for a ride using my clipless pedals. I'd practiced a bit at a nearby school, where I figured that if I fell over, I'd at least land on the grass, but I found clipping in and out a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Anyway, two friends and I went for a ride yesterday, and after about 15 miles, the toes on my right foot went numb and then painful, as if the blood was starting to circulate. We stopped for water and the numbness went away. While riding, I tried lifting my foot on the up-stroke, to see if that would help and it may have (I didn't have long to try it before we stopped).

Any suggestions? Do I need to adjust the cleat or tie my shoes less tight, do you think? I saw the other discussion on this point, btw. Interestingly, it was just my right foot and not the left, if it matters.

Thanks,
Patty
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#2
Make sure to keep your muscles relaxed and do not tense up. Especially the calf. Concentrate on this, keep loose. Do your shoes fit well? Not too tight?

Use ice after the ride to relive the tightness. I use small bags of frozen peas. Works great.You can make up small packs using baggies of different size. Helped me tremendously with toe and instep pain.
Does not leak like ice.

Nice kitty cat :-)))
Never Give Up!!!
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#3
(07-22-2010, 04:53 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Make sure to keep your muscles relaxed and do not tense up. Especially the calf. Concentrate on this, keep loose. Do your shoes fit well? Not too tight?

Use ice after the ride to relive the tightness. I use small bags of frozen peas. Works great.You can make up small packs using baggies of different size. Helped me tremendously with toe and instep pain.
Does not leak like ice.

Nice kitty cat :-)))

The shoes fit well, but I'm thinking I'll wear lighter socks when I ride this afternoon. I'd wondered if the ones I wore last time were too thick. I make a conscious effort to stay relaxed, especially climbing hills (and it's plenty hilly here!), but I'll keep that in mind as well.

The kitty is Ellie, and she's a sweetheart. A bit shy, as you can see from the picture.

Thanks,
Patty
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#4
One thing to explore is the proper placement of the cleat on the shoe. Most shoes have a wide range of positions here, so you'll need to find the best position for your posture on the bike.

Not having the cleat in the right position can lead to all sorts of leg/foot problems.

I only have general advice on how to check this, but going from memory (since I'm at work), if the foot is on the pedal, you want the ball of the foot to line up with the pedal stem that goes into the crank. Or very close to that.
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#5
10-4 , see if that helps. It would also help to do some stretches before and after the ride and anytime. One good exercise for the feet is to stand with your feet on a step and drop your heels down to stretch the calf and foot .

Another is to do toe lifts with a weight on your shoulders or if your gym has a toe lift machine. Helped me tremendously.
Never Give Up!!!
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#6
(07-22-2010, 05:55 PM)AndrewB Wrote:  Not having the cleat in the right position can lead to all sorts of leg/foot problems.

I'll second that, I'm still messing about with mine, can't seem to get the left foot right. It's not helped by the fact that my left foot is about half a UK size smaller than my right, which means that with all my shoes, one always fits better than the other. :S
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#7
Well, on tonight's ride, I wore thinner socks and had only slight numbness which went away when I pulled up with that foot and took some pressure off. But I'm almost sure that I need to adjust the cleat on that side, because toward the end of my ride, my foot was really uncomfortable clipped in. I wanted to turn my heel in a bit and my toes out, and I ended up riding unclipped to do it. I'm not sure how to adjust the cleat to get that change in position. There's a pretty good LBS close by here, so I may ride over there and see what they say. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Patty
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#8
(07-23-2010, 03:07 AM)BikeCrazyAgain Wrote:  I'm not sure how to adjust the cleat to get that change in position.

What type of shoes are they, Shimano SPD?

If they are, theres two allen key screws on each cleat. They way I adjust them is to loosen the screws on the cleat just enough to be able move them with some force. Next, slacken off the pedal clips, so that you can clip in and out without too much effort. Then sit on the bike and move your foot around into a position that feels comfortable. Then try and remove your foot from the clip without moving the cleat on the shoe. When you have them roughly right, tighten the cleat screws and re adjust the pedal clips back to their usual tension. Then go for a ride and keep the allen key handy in your pocket as you will probably need to fine tune them a bit.
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#9
Also a possible source: if the soles of the shoes are too flimsy, the pressure is not distributed over the sole of you foot but rather on a point. This can lead to numb toes. (At least that is what I think is the cause with one pair of my cycling shoes)
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#10
(07-23-2010, 03:07 AM)BikeCrazyAgain Wrote:  Well, on tonight's ride, I wore thinner socks and had only slight numbness which went away when I pulled up with that foot and took some pressure off. But I'm almost sure that I need to adjust the cleat on that side, because toward the end of my ride, my foot was really uncomfortable clipped in. I wanted to turn my heel in a bit and my toes out, and I ended up riding unclipped to do it. I'm not sure how to adjust the cleat to get that change in position. There's a pretty good LBS close by here, so I may ride over there and see what they say. Any suggestions?


Like xerces asked, what type of shoe do you have, and I'll add, what type of cleat do you have?

Shimano SPD cleats are pretty easy to move in 360 degrees. Look/Keo may not be as much or as easy.

But if you do go to your LBS, ride over there. They might be able to match the shoe position to the cleat to the pedal in a good way.

Also, if you work on the cleat yourself, make sure it's tight, but not so tight it cracks the shoe. If the cleat isn't too tight, you risk it coming loose and not being able to pull out of the pedal. Happened to me on a ride - I had to remove my foot from the shoe to get off of the bike after one of my SPD cleat screws fell out.
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#11
How's the going, You probably read some of the posts I left on this topic already as I suffered from this problem for a long time but finally overcame it after a lot of grief with it. I know there's a lot of advice out there and it can really confuse you, but definitely start with the cheapest issues first ie. stretching- numb toes is caused from blood being cut off to the foot either by tight muscles at the backside or the calf (stretch these for 3 sets of 30 secs two times a day for a couple of weeks), or by pressure on the top of the foot or on the metatarsals at the ball of the foot. Does your right foot feel as if it is lifting off the pedal during the stroke? If so stretching will solve this as this contributes to numb feet.

If you set your cleat back to it's furthest position and u still get numb then no cleat position will solve your problem.

If all this fails then you need to move on to the more expensive solutions. You could start with a pair of orthotic's which are custom made insoles to help your foot operate properly, make sure u get custom one's as there's a lot of cheap ones u can buy over a counter which are useless and a waste of money, then move onto speedplay pedals and cleats as they give your foot more room to move on the pedals and finally you could buy sidi genius 5 pro cycling shoes which finally solved my problem as they have a soft tongue which improves circulation at the top of the foot. It's a process of elimination be patient with it. good luck!
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#12
I have SPD shoes. The pedals are Shimano M-324, if that matters. I've been out of town, so I haven't had time to try adjusting the cleat yet. I'm considering riding over to a nearby LBS to see what they say, but I suspect that adjusting the cleat is a good idea. I'm sure it'll take some experimenting, but that's okay.

Patty
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#13
SPD cleats - good. Depending on the shoe, the cleat can turn left or right (which will change your foot position, namely if your foot points inward or outward or straight), as well as moving up and down.

Once you get that ideal position, try using a Sharpie and circle the cleat so that you mark the position on the shoe. I had a guy who did a professional fitting for me do this - very helpful!
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