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Numb toes

JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
edited July 2015 in Road beginners
I wear trainers and have cages on my pedals, but quickly get numb toes which I don't believe is because they get cold.... I suspect it is down to pressure on the ball of my foot. I have read on other threads where this is a problem, but in most cases the sufferer wears proper cycling shoes, not trainers.

I am very new to road cycling and not a confident or skilled rider and very reluctant to go into clipless shoes/pedals (I can fall off easily enough without them!), but I wonder whether wearing clipless shoes with cages could help? Would the hard sole distribute the pressure across the sole of my foot? Or is it more likely that it will make the problem worse because the rigid sole makes it hard to move/flex the feet and toes? Also, is the clipless shoe/cage even workable? I know the only way to find out is to try it out, but those shoes are expensive. Has anyone else been in a similar situation and can offer any advice?

I'm not a competitive cyclist, I just want to go out and enjoy the ride.

Thanks

Jane

Posts

  • CygnusCygnus Posts: 1,879
    Do you find that your fingers get cold as well? I wear proper cycling shoes but suffer from Raynard's Syndrome which mean my fingers and feet get cold even in summer, I wear wool socks when the temperature is a little bit cool which seems to help a bit.
  • bronco016bronco016 Posts: 39
    Have you had your bike set up checked my an expert, say someone in a bike shop? It could be that your saddle is not positioned correctly (too far back or too far forward). If so repeatedly pedalling with your legs in the wrong position could lead to niggles. Usually the knee, but maybe your foot as well. I'm no expert at all but it might be worth considering getting it looked at
    http://www.mallorcacyclinghotels.co.uk
    Cycling friendly accommodation in Mallorca
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    It's quite easy to get your shoes too tight, which would lead to numb toes. Stiff-soled cycling shoes would help alleviate any high contact pressure related problems you might be getting.

    The only way to get comfortable with clipless pedal systems is to use them! They are miles more convenient than toeclips if that's any incentive. MTB SPDs are a good place to start, you can pick up a pair of Shimano's bottom end pedals for <£20.
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
    Do you find that your fingers get cold as well? I wear proper cycling shoes but suffer from Raynard's Syndrome which mean my fingers and feet get cold even in summer, I wear wool socks when the temperature is a little bit cool which seems to help a bit.

    I'm a women - I'm usually cold! Seriously, no my hands don't seem affected. My feet can be warm, just numb.
  • CygnusCygnus Posts: 1,879
    Do you find that your fingers get cold as well? I wear proper cycling shoes but suffer from Raynard's Syndrome which mean my fingers and feet get cold even in summer, I wear wool socks when the temperature is a little bit cool which seems to help a bit.

    I'm a women - I'm usually cold! Seriously, no my hands don't seem affected. My feet can be warm, just numb.
    In that case it could possibly be something to do with your bike set up, or maybe as others have said, your shoes are too tight.
  • JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
    Have you had your bike set up checked my an expert, say someone in a bike shop? It could be that your saddle is not positioned correctly (too far back or too far forward). If so repeatedly pedalling with your legs in the wrong position could lead to niggles. Usually the knee, but maybe your foot as well. I'm no expert at all but it might be worth considering getting it looked at

    I guess it's worth another look, but I have had the bike set up done when I bought the bike. Sometimes I can alleviate the pressure by moving my feet back on the pedals, but that just means having stiffer toes, which is not sustainable. Ball of the foot seems to be the problem area.
  • JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
    It's quite easy to get your shoes too tight, which would lead to numb toes. Stiff-soled cycling shoes would help alleviate any high contact pressure related problems you might be getting.

    The only way to get comfortable with clipless pedal systems is to use them! They are miles more convenient than toeclips if that's any incentive. MTB SPDs are a good place to start, you can pick up a pair of Shimano's bottom end pedals for <£20.

    Thanks DesWeller.....I know my shoes aren't too tight, I keep them loose. Pedals may be cheap, but have you seen the price of cycling shoes! I may just see if I can get some secondhand ones and try them...
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    I guess that kind of depends on your budget, my pair were about £60 from memory (Specialized road SPD compatible).
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • gimplgimpl Posts: 268
    I have the same problem !

    I've had a Retul fit at the Retul 'University' in Milton Keynes and I wear very stiff soled shoes which I bought specifically to see if it would alleviate this problem. I have also dropped the saddle 5mm and changed the angle too and nothing has made a difference yet.

    After about 20 miles I almost completely lose the feeling in my biggest two toes on each foot. If I stop for a minute or two the feeling comes back but I would like to be able to solve the issue if anyone has any other pointers please.

    Thanks
  • izzaizza Posts: 1,561
    If it starts straight away then I would look at fit, if it starts after a bit then look at footbeds to allevaiate pressure on the nerves.
  • JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
    I get numbness quite quickly, depending on the terrain; if it is more uphill and therefore more pressure on the pedals it can come on within minutes. I have suffered with numb toes with ski boots and sometimes when running. Whilst the ski boots are tight, my shoes are not. I'm fairly sure it is the pressure on the ball of my foot and if I adjust the position of my feet so pressure is more on my toes, it is less of a problem - but that becomes hard work for the toes! Anyway, I have just bought some secondhand shoes and will try them first with the cages, then maybe try clipless pedals - if I survive that experience I will report back on whether a stiff sole makes a difference.
    Jane
  • gimplgimpl Posts: 268
    If it starts straight away then I would look at fit, if it starts after a bit then look at footbeds to allevaiate pressure on the nerves.

    Hadn't thought of that - thank you.
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    A hard soled SPD shoe might help a bit but you'd have to select it carefully, they're generally designed just with SPD pedals and walking in mind so might not be great in caged pedals (e.g. if they have a plasticky sole they'll slip in a caged flat pedal).
    I'd really recommend biting the bullet and going clipless, it doesn't take long to get used to them. Otherwise look at a decent footbed as has already been suggested, the Specialized BG footbed have a metatarsal button (or something like that) to spread the toes a bit more and alleviates the nerves getting compressed which can cause numbness & hotspots.
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,750
    If all of the above fails, why not get it looked at by people who know what they're talking about:

    http://www.northampton.ac.uk/about-us/services-and-facilities/podiatry-clinic
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • gimplgimpl Posts: 268
    Ok - so just happening to be in London today and not far from a Specialized concept store (and owning Specialized shoes) I went in and stood on their thingymagig that measures your arch etc and have come away with a blue one with more support. Hoping to get out for a ride later so will report back but for £20 thought it would be worth a go.
  • gimplgimpl Posts: 268
    Ok so a few rides trial with the Specialized BG foot beds in blue.

    Not a complete cure but a definite improvement on before. Felt a bit weird to start, almost like you've got something in the shoe that shouldn't be there and my instep felt a bit tender after the first ride but soon got used to it. Still get some numbness after an hour but not nearly as bad and can mitigate it somewhat by pedalling toes down for a short period.

    Overall happy and worth a punt at £20 if you're having similar issues.
  • JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
    Ok so a few rides trial with the Specialized BG foot beds in blue.

    Not a complete cure but a definite improvement on before. Felt a bit weird to start, almost like you've got something in the shoe that shouldn't be there and my instep felt a bit tender after the first ride but soon got used to it. Still get some numbness after an hour but not nearly as bad and can mitigate it somewhat by pedalling toes down for a short period.

    Overall happy and worth a punt at £20 if you're having similar issues.
    That's something to consider, thanks for the feedback. I ended up buying some cycling shoes secondhand (mint condition but cheaper than brand new! :D ). But they do not work well with the cages on the pedals. So I've bought pedals and cleats, though they've yet to arrive. I just hope they improve the problem - and that I don't fall off! :shock:
  • JafaremrafJafaremraf Posts: 26
    So having firmly decided I was quite happy wearing trainers with cages on the pedals, apart from the numb toes problem, I ended up buying secondhand shoes and clipless pedals off eBay..... All mint condition :D

    Have just returned from a quick ride and left foot - no numbness, right foot - very very slight tingle, which is probably because the shoe is a slightly tighter fit, but I think it will bed down a bit.

    Foot is easier to clip in than trying to get it into the cage on my old pedals too, so added bonus.

    The really good tip hubby gave me before I pedalled off was to remember to keep pedalling with one leg if I don't get the other foot clipped in straight away - that came in useful a couple of times.

    So it seems I have been converted......thanks folks for the advice and the nudge in the clipless pedal direction! :)
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