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Orthotics in Cycling Shoes - for knee pain

fastmonkeyfastmonkey Posts: 67
edited November 2015 in Road general
I've just been assessed for an ongoing knee injury in my right knee from the inside of quad muscle round the side and under the knee cap. I've been told that I need orthotic insoles in all my shoes as my arch/foot is collapsing and putting strain on the knee in the area described. It was a very informative assessment and she showed me the problem whilst performing squats and I could see how this translated to the motion of cycling in a way.

So my question is, is this a common problem for a 41 yr man who loves his cycling and what are peoples experience with using othortic insoles in their cycling shoes ?


  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    Very many professional and other cyclists use custom footbeds/orthotics to ensure an ideal foot/pedal relationship.

    I would recommend getting them made by someone who has a cycling background as you are having knee trouble. Adrian Timmis comes to mind.
  • Thanks I'll look into him, I've just ordered some Scholl ones for now ........
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    They can make a big difference I have no doubt. I have some minor corrections made with wedges, that made a huge difference to comfort.

    If you're in southern UK, I can only say good things about The Bike Whisperer - Scherrit there will spend a LOT of time on your feet during any bike fitting. He's fitted me on a couple of my long-distance machines and I'm good for quite long days in the saddle on them.
  • andy9964andy9964 Posts: 930
    I use orthotics, like you, for fallen arches and the resulting knee pain. I use them in all my shoes, but my physio (not the orthotic person) said they weren't really necessary in my SPD shoes.
    I assume it's because of the way pressure is applied to the foot when pedalling instead of walking, but I use them anyway as I have a half mile walk from the bike sheds to my work department.
    I still get a slight pain in my knees, but nowhere near as bad as it was
  • sungodsungod Posts: 15,092
    it's not as simple as fitting 'any' orthotic, you need ones that give the right level of support for cycling, which may not be what you'd want for walking or running

    i've tried umpteen, i need a lot of support, different each foot, the best for me have been the e-soles efit, but i'm not sure they are still available, the g8 ones are nearly as good, i found the custom moulded ones (marketed under many brands) were no use at all, they couldn't give enough support and over time they sagged

    off the shelf, the specialzed bg footbeds are widely available, if you don't need a lot of support i suggest try those first, they're pretty good
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,990
    They transformed my riding when I went to see Adrian Timmis in 2010. I was getting a lot of knee pain following a bad injury. No issues since.
    Insta: ATEnduranceCoaching
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,992
    Another for Adrian at Cadence, sorted me out when he did my bike fit. The two things that made the biggest difference where insoles and cleat position, pain free ever since.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • i had a lot of success using 1 degree cleat wedges. @ ~£5 far cheaper than custom footbeds
    (although i also use Specialized footbeds).

    For pronation/collapsing arches - put the thicker side twoards the inside edge.

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,992
    I supposedly had fallen arches causing me the issue, got various wedge inserts as suggested by the bloody quack and nearly crippled myself in the process. Got the foot beds and threw the wedges away and not looked back. Yes there expensive but part of the bikefit anyway, well worth it either way as transformed my riding comfort all round.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • I have these in my cycling shoes and since they've been fitted my feet feel fully supported.

    Would recommend them for anyone that has fallen or collapsed arches etc
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,163
    I have the inserts from Adrian Timmis which are good.

    Bear in mind though that these are quite different from orthotics to correct a problem - you would need to see a podiatrist for these.
  • Thanks for all the replies, sounds like a minefield ! But good to hear some positive stories out there. I've really got into my road riding this year and will be gutted if this makes it a problem so fully committed to getting it sorted.

    I am based in Byfleet in Surrey so any more local recommendations for a bike fit specialist ?
  • sungodsungod Posts: 15,092
    if you can get into london i suggest a physio there was the one who resolved my knee problems - footbeds, wedges and a shim
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 2,145
    As you live in Surrey, I'm not sure how useful this will be to you but The University of Northampton School of Podiatry is, in my experience, fantastic and, compared to other suppliers of bespoke orthotics, secpnd to none in terms of value.

    The initial consultation is with podiatry students who go through your problems, watch you walk, squat, stand etc etc and make a recommendation. EVERYTHING is then checked and double checked and you are assessed by a consultant podiatrist - he will talk to you about where and when you feel any pain, look at your shoes, cycling shoes (in my case rugby boots too) - basically going through the whole assessment again with the consultant. They will make you up some temporary orthotics which you will go away with and use and then return back to them with any comments and for another assessment. They will alter the orthotic as many times as they need to, making minute adjustments until you are happy before they make your bespoke orthotics (it is incredible what a difference raising a toe by 3mm makes!).

    I have a pair for my everyday shoes, a pair for my rugby boots, a pair for my running shoes and a pair for my cycling shoes and, at the age of 50, I don't think I could run, play Rugby or cycle without them.

    Consultation £20
    Bespoke orthotics £30 per pair.

    I know its a bit of a slog from Surrey but I cannot recommend them highly enough.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • Those G8 ones look trick, I like the way you can move the arches around.

    I do think a proper bike fit first is the right place to start, the bike whisperer in Newbury is closest so far, central London isn't ideal as I need to get 2 bikes done........

    Any one used Pure Motion Cycles in West Byfleet or Sigma Sport in Kingston/Hampton as they are my nearest Pro shops.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    I just use the Specialized BG high arch insoles and they are enough for me. Those G8 ones look really trick though.
  • The G8's are great - adjustable, comfortable and not as obtrusive as you may think when you look at them.

    I don't think I would use them without getting a proper bike fit first as I think it could make things worse but definitely worth considering.
  • I just use the Specialized BG high arch insoles and they are enough for me. Those G8 ones look really trick though.

    How did you know which of the 3 specialized ones to go for ?
  • sungodsungod Posts: 15,092
    the original bg ones came in three grades...

    the basic '+' was 'normal', what you'd get in their shoes

    the medium '++' gave extra support

    the high '+++' one gave even more, but i found the position wasn't correct (it's individual, others may be fine with them)

    if you want to try them, unless you know you need a lot of support, i suggest get the ++ ones, they also come with some wedged shims, there was a guide to usage on their website

    if you do need a lot of support, i'd look at the e-soles efit, or the g8 ones, in both cases you can adjust them yourself, with each foot different if necessary
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Thanks for the info sungod very useful. The physio has put be on a 2 week cycling ban :cry: so the plan is to keep doing my strengthening exercises and I'm now wearing the scholl sports orthotics in my trainers and have ordered some heel type ones for my work shoes. The scholl ones will go in my cycling shoes for now and I'll get a bike fit organized and then take their recommendation on what cycling specific set up to go for.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    I just use the Specialized BG high arch insoles and they are enough for me. Those G8 ones look really trick though.

    How did you know which of the 3 specialized ones to go for ?
    If you have a Specialized dealer (doesn't have to be a concept store) anywhere near you they have a template you stand on and can tell you which type you need :)
  • Hi there...
    Here is my experience on the subject...
    Previously -talking 4-5 years ago went to Adrian Timmis - as mentioned previously for bike fit and foot beds.
    This included cleat adjustment. Great service and improved my riding and comfort no end...

    I "used" to do a lot of running and found out I had arthritis is one of my toes. I kept getting injured running until I visited podiatrist and had custom orthotics made. This cost just under £200 for 2 pairs ( light rubber and supposed to last 10 years ) which I have to wear in all my shoes all the time. Once fitted I was back running and injury free... He told me to wear these also in my cycling shoes !!!

    Without having to go get more cycling specific footbeds made, I now just use the original insoles that come fitted in the cycling shoe and my everyday orthotics on top.

    I think you can end up spending an absolute fortune if you have to go get cycling specific and everyday ones and of course if you change cycling shoes/brands custom footbeds may no longer fit...

    Basically its a question of how deep are your pockets !!!
    2013 Kinesis Racelight TK3
    2011 Cannondale SuperSix
    2008 Specialized Allez Elite
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