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Numb Toe and Cycling Shoes

Hi,

Quick query...

Been cycling for 15months now and for some reason I started getting a numb (middle) toe on my left foot. I also Run a fair bit but I only get this after I've been on the bike.

This started approximately 3 months ago and generally shows after about 50km-60km.

My shoes are Shimano RP1's and I wear proper cycling socks (Cube branded). I changed Cleats (Yellow to Blue) last month as I thought there was possibly too much float but this has made no difference. Other than that, nothing has changed in my setup.

My query is - has anyone had a similar experience and did you ever find out what was causing it?

I did wonder if the Shoes flex, and maybe over time they flex a little too much, so maybe my foot is possibly moving? Maybe I just need some better socks? I'm a bit stumped really. Any advice welcome!

Thankyou.

Posts

  • i.bhamrai.bhamra Posts: 175
    Warm weather can have a big impact particularly when riding for more than a couple of hours, feet swell, shoes get tighter and circulation is reduced. If cleat position hasn't changed then I would say this is most likely what it is. Can you do the closure system on your shoes up so it's not as tight? Other than that maybe thinner socks or new shoes with a little more room in them and/or more adjustable closure.
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 2,009
    Warmer weather and swelling feet was my first thought as well as it seems to be one of the few things that has changed.
  • Thanks.

    I hadn't actually thought about the shoe width. They were ok last summer but I guess feet can change.

    I do prefer a wider Running shoe and the RP1's aren't particularly wide. I will try leaving the Velcro a little bit looser on the next ride. If that makes a difference I will look towards getting some new shoes with a wider toe box.
  • womackwomack Posts: 454
    The same thing happens to me in summer also, but with me it is my right foot. Have to periodically unclip and let the foot dangle a bit to ease the annoyance.

    For info I also alternate running and cycling and it does seem more pronounced when cycling after a run.

    So you actually have me wondering if it is the running shoes causing the problem more than the cycling shoe / cleat position etc.

    But to be fair I don't get the sensation through the winter so I may discount that theory and lean more to the heat swelling the foot theory.
  • womack - I too have thought that possibly the alternating between running and cycling might be the issue, but I think (in my case at least) it's the Cycling.

    I tend to use Brooks Running Shoes (Cascadia for off-road and Defyance for on-road) in the standard D width. I did try some Hoka's but they were just far too narrow in the Toe Box. I've been advised that the Inov8 Trail Shoes are nice and wide so I will be trying those out at some point.

    I recently ran a 100k event off-road in the Cascadia Shoes with zero issue so I don't think it related to my Running shoes... but who knows!
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,209
    Not necessarily the fault of the shoe. Do you have any lower back or neck issues? Numbness is often caused by a compressed nerve from being in a riding position for a long time. Currently seeing a physio for very similar issues
  • Not necessarily the fault of the shoe. Do you have any lower back or neck issues? Numbness is often caused by a compressed nerve from being in a riding position for a long time. Currently seeing a physio for very similar issues

    No back pain or neck issues, but... I did have lower back pain a few years back which the Physio said was nerve related. A few weeks of stretching and it disappeared. Who knows, maybe after 50-60km it's creeping back into my leg? No pain though, just the numb toe.

  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,209

    Not necessarily the fault of the shoe. Do you have any lower back or neck issues? Numbness is often caused by a compressed nerve from being in a riding position for a long time. Currently seeing a physio for very similar issues

    No back pain or neck issues, but... I did have lower back pain a few years back which the Physio said was nerve related. A few weeks of stretching and it disappeared. Who knows, maybe after 50-60km it's creeping back into my leg? No pain though, just the numb toe.

    Nerves are such delicate things and cause issues in areas well away from where they are compressed. I’ve got a slightly bulging disc in my lower back that causes me no issues usually but during a long ride if I don’t stretch and do mobilisation exercises before I ride it gets a bit painful. The rest of the time it’s fine. It also might cause me to get very slightly numb toes on my commute (50% flat then 50% up an 11% hill). I only noticed this in the showers when I get to work. No back pain as the ride is too short and no time to do my exercises before my commute.
    I’d see a good physio for a consultation. It might be a small issue that can easily be treated with exercises before it becomes a bigger problem.
  • amrushtonamrushton Posts: 1,040
    First thing I thought of was feet swelling. Could be a fallen arch? I've had an issue of right foot pain recently but playing with the fasteners relieved it. Perhaps the insole is an issue if it's those cheap flexi ones. Bikefit James on YouTube has some info on foot pain. I'd play with the fastening first tho. Perhaps keep the toe box loose and heel tighter. Feet are asymmetrical don't forget.
  • Just want to post an update to my initial query.

    After a great deal of faffing about with tension on the velcro, different socks and also moving the cleat I think I've finally found a solution.

    Basically, I have bought some thinner socks! I think the issue has been my Cube socks were quite thick and this was restricting my foot in the shoe. I bought some DHB summer socks and I noticed a difference straight away, I've had 3 rides so far over 2 hours in length with no issue.

    The reason I think everything was ok last year was because I was wearing my Karrimor running socks where are much thinner in the arch area with a small amount of padding in the toe area. I had "forgot" I was wearing different socks last summer, although the Cube ones were fine in the winter, but I guess feet don't swell as much in the winter, even with overshoes on.

    I will report back once I've been out for 5-6 hours or so. I may need to look at some Lake or Bont shoes in the future as I believe these are better for wider toe boxes.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 56,659 Lives Here

    Not necessarily the fault of the shoe. Do you have any lower back or neck issues? Numbness is often caused by a compressed nerve from being in a riding position for a long time. Currently seeing a physio for very similar issues

    Yes or I found when I had a tight hamstring on one leg I used to get some tingling in the associated foot. That gradually went away as I worked on flexibility there.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 13,722

    Just want to post an update to my initial query.

    After a great deal of faffing about with tension on the velcro, different socks and also moving the cleat I think I've finally found a solution.

    Basically, I have bought some thinner socks! I think the issue has been my Cube socks were quite thick and this was restricting my foot in the shoe. I bought some DHB summer socks and I noticed a difference straight away, I've had 3 rides so far over 2 hours in length with no issue.

    The reason I think everything was ok last year was because I was wearing my Karrimor running socks where are much thinner in the arch area with a small amount of padding in the toe area. I had "forgot" I was wearing different socks last summer, although the Cube ones were fine in the winter, but I guess feet don't swell as much in the winter, even with overshoes on.

    I will report back once I've been out for 5-6 hours or so. I may need to look at some Lake or Bont shoes in the future as I believe these are better for wider toe boxes.

    footbeds make a big difference, the ones supplied with shoes can be quite poor (i just bin them and fit the footbeds that i know are correct for me, old esoles adjustable ones)

    some footbeds have a metatarsal bump/pad which can prevent numbness or 'hot foot' on long rides, the specialized body geometry ones are a simple off the shelf option for this

    if you need additional arch support, that can also be provided by the footbeds, some have adjustable supports and pads
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • The13thcogThe13thcog Posts: 20
    edited 12 September
    I suffered with this on my right foot, the outside toes would go numb after a while and here's what I found.

    1. cleat position. Make sure this is in the right spot. Too far left or right and not sitting underneath your foot centrally can cause more pressure falling left or right of said position. You may not notice it straight away, but come 20 miles down the road you will and the numbness starts to kick in. So check your cleat is central to start with.

    2. If the cleat is fine then a quick solution is supporting the ball of your foot. Pop along to your local chemist, buy a pair of ball-of-foot gel pressure pads. You can whip out the inner footbed on your shoe, place the gel pad where the ball of your foot goes, then pop the footbed back in over the top. Makes a huge difference and gives your foot a better cushion for pressing down on the cleat.

    Those two solutions cleared my numbs toes up, even on 100 mile rides.
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