Cycling Related Foot Pain

by Jesse Jarjour

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.

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.

Photo of author

Jesse Jarjour

Co-Founder, CEO, Lead Fitter

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).


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