Oh My Toes! – Diagnostic Tips & Quick Fixes (Part 3)

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Throughout my bike fitting career, I can say that having toe numbness is the most common issue that cyclists complain about when they came in for a bikefit. This can happen to both flat pedal and cleat pedal cyclists. Having toes numbness is extremely annoying and greatly affects cycling experience.

In this article we’ll take a look at the common remedies that one can try to reduce or eliminate toe numbness.

 

SHOES WITH NARROW TOE BOX

 

Different shoe manufacturers utilizes different foot shape as basis for their shoe’s design. This doesn’t mean one brand is better than the other, but rather it’s more about getting a pair that fits your foot profile more comfortably. When you find a particular shoe brand which toe box is too narrow for your liking even though the size is correct, it is recommended to test a pair from another brand.

 

OVER TENSIONING OF STRAPS

 

Tightening laces or straps too much will restrict blood flow to toes. Straps should be tensioned just enough that the foot is stable when pedaling, at the same time being comfortable without the uppers pressuring against the foot.

 

IMPROPER CLEAT PLACEMENT

 

Cleat positioning is crucial. Too often when one experiences toe numbness or pain at the phalanges joints, most probably the cleat is placed in the wrong position. This causes body weight to be concentrated at the forward part of the toes. Move the cleat towards the metatarsal area where the foot is stronger.

 

BAD HABIT OF DRAWING CIRCLES WITH TOES

A very common technique issue among cleat cyclists is to direct the pedals using the toes. This causes excessive lock up at the phalanges joints. Focus pedaling force on the metatarsal area instead, this will utilize the stronger part of the foot and increases efficiency in load transfer from the foot towards the pedal.

 


Chuah 
Little Rock BikeFit Studio

As the first bike fitter in Malaysia to be certified by BikeFit.com & VelogicFit system, as well as classically trained as electrical engineer, his pragmatic approach in getting the best possible comfort out of a bicycle has allowed many customers to cycle further, better, faster and stronger. Not believing in standardized fitments to suit all cyclists,
he constantly researches and revises on methods of new and old to ensure customers get the best performance from their rides.

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