Cycling Related Foot Pain
Some bike fit considerations for those experiencing Foot Pain caused by riding your bike.
Foot pain while cycling can be very frustrating as it is difficult to relieve while you are out on the road. Unlike saddle or hand issues where you can stand up to relieve the saddle discomfort, or change your hand position to relieve your hand discomfort, with your feet you always have a certain amount of pressure going through them.
The first thing you should do if you are having significant foot pain is to esnure your shoe is the correct size and style for your foot, and that your cleats are in the right position. Check out our guide for shoe selection and cleat placement.
As always, start by ensuring your position on the bike is neutral to begin with by checking it with the MyVeloFit software. If your position isn’t neutral to begin with, start by getting a neutral position. If your position was drastically off to begin with that could be what was leading to the pain.
From a fit perspective there are three things that often lead to foot discomfort. Two originate with the saddle and one with the cleats.
A saddle that is too high can lead to excess “toeing” - technically called plantar flexion - which is when you pedal with your heel too high almost like you are in high-heel shoes. A saddle that is generally uncomfortable will lead you to not rest enough of your weight on the saddle adding to excess pressure on your feet.
Foot pain is one of the most common and annoying issues on the bike. It can often be difficult to diagnose where the foot pain is coming from so a multifaceted approach is best.
Having you cleats too far forward can lead to foot pain as well and is typically expressed as numbness and or burning in the toes. Cleats that are too far forward can also lead to excess “toeing.”
With the above in mind if you have checked your fit and it's "neutral" and your shoes/insoles are correct for you, the next steps would be to go slightly lower with the saddle (~2mm) and experiment with moving the cleats back slightly (1-2mm).
Athletes from around the world use MyVeloFit to improve their cycling position. Whether you are a veteran or new to the sport MyVeloFit can help you improve your position.
About the Author
Jesse Jarjour has been fitting bicycles to people for over a decade. He holds certifications from Retul, Trek Precision Fit, and has a level 2 certification from the International Bike Fitting Institute.
Jesse has fit over 3000 individuals of all sorts of athletic backgrounds. He is just as happy fitting National Champions as he is first time riders.
Jesse embraces technology in bike fitting. His Studio in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is one of the most technologically advanced fit studios in Canada. He uses the MyVeloFit technology alongside technology from industry leaders such as Gebiomized, Retul, and Dartfish. He uses MyVeloFit to to take a baseline of his clients and give them visual reports of how the measurements work while they are in the studio and as a "pre fit" tool to ensure the clients are in a relatively sound position before coming in.
If you have a question you'd like asked in the Fit Academy, please email us here.