Numb big toes days after my tour

jimcameron Posts: 199
edited July 2009 in Road beginners
Hi guys,

I've just been on an epic tour across the balkans. 1200km in about 9 days. However i have weird numb feeling in the end of my big toes and have done for the last three or four days since being off the bike. Has anybody had this before and could they tell me how to prevent it next time? I bought new shoes before i left and they have carbon reinforced sole so a bit sturdier than the last pair.



  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Were your toes hitting against the front of your shoes? I sometimes get this when I'm climbing hills out of the saddle if my shoes are a little bit loose.
    More problems but still living....
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Could it be your shoes were too tight? Were your feet getting cold for long periods? I know it's now July, but It sounds a bit like mild frostbite.
  • Meds1962
    Meds1962 Posts: 391
    Have you been to the doctor??
    O na bawn i fel LA
  • dixon1e
    dixon1e Posts: 4

    I recent;y completed 8 days in the Rocky Mountains, 400 Miles, and have had the exact same problem. Both big toes have numb patches on the bottom, about the size of a quarter. The problem does not seem to go away by itself. Of course, I've heard everything on the subject. Also, I have been previously been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, though have since controlled well through diet and exercise.

    I will post insights here, and would like to hear same. The Doctor I just saw recommend ice and aspirin and we'll see how that goes.

  • kayakerchris
    kayakerchris Posts: 361
    Hi, I suspect that you have bruised, compressed the terminal branches of the medial plantar nerve. The digital nerve to the Big toe runs across the sole of the foot originating from medial plantar and would quite probably be bruised in such riding. Likelihood of sensation returning is probably good (not so good if diabetic). Even if it doesn't return probably not a big handicap.

    You may want to reassess your clip position for your SPDs as this may be part of the cause.

  • dixon1e
    dixon1e Posts: 4
    This is very, very helpful information. Thank you. I go to see my main GP tomorrow and will take this information with me for discussion. Will update with his prognosis.

    I've heard the SPDs are problems here. I will replace them with the LOOK clips that I have, they seem to have a much bigger area to absorb the forces. Any comments on this are welcome too.


  • I used to suffer from "numb big toe" and discovered that my shoes were simply too tight! So I went a size up, am careful about doing them up too tight and all is fine now....
  • dixon1e
    dixon1e Posts: 4
    If you look at a nerve diagram the medial plantar runs along the outside, where people often have bunions. It turns out the problem of the skinny shoe and fat foot (i use a EE size) is all there is to it. So a wider shoe was the Dr's orders. It's simple mechanical, repetitive trauma.

    He described the nerves as a bundle of fibers, like a cable. With slight pressure over time, the outer layers of the bundle are affected. More pressure over longer time and deeper injury occurs. With extensive pressure over time, the entire nerve bundle can be traumatized.

    In my case, 8 days of hard mountain riding on a road bike is the lesser kind of pressure. Just a small, quarter size patch of Big Toe is "out layer" trauma and he says to expect 6 weeks for feeling to return. There were no circulatory problems or indications in my case, so I am very lucky there. Outside waiting time is 12 weeks due to diabetes, but not very likely at all. He mentioned that consistent vibration can also produce this effect, as often happens with people who operate machinery, like a chainsaw.

    So there you have it. Wider shoes.
  • dixon1e
    dixon1e Posts: 4
    ...and Kayakerchris is on target, thanks. The clip position was also recommended as a point to evaluate. So between the bruising of the nerve from skinny toebox and the possible poor clip position, I just have to find a way to make the shoe stop hurting me when I ride. In other words:

    PATIENT: "Doctor, Doctor! It hurts when I do this!"
    DOCTOR: "Then stop doing that!"

    Cheers to all