Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Bike?
How is that 4 hour ride going, especially now as the triple digits have hit. Is it a really long, hot ride? Is it weird when the only part of your body that hurts during and after the ride are your feet! Why is it that your feet hurt instead of your butt or legs? Turns out, foot pain is much more common in cyclists than most of us realize. Biking is much more gentler on your body than running, but your feet do take a pounding!
Let's investigate foot pain in cyclists just a little. I experienced a burning pain in my forefoot after about 40 miles that did not go away until about 2 hour after I got off my bicycle. Why did this happen? In my case, I sized my cycling shoes too small for the training plan. My shoes fit well when I started, but as soon as my feet started to get hot; they swelled and literally got squished by the stiffness of the shoes. At 40 miles, the nerves in between my toes were pinched and all my toes went to sleep then started to burn like they were on fire! This is commonly called Metatarsalgia, traumatic neuritis or paresthesias.
Foot pain like I experienced is actually not uncommon in cyclists. This can be caused by improper placement of clips, poorly sized shoes and certain foot deformities that require more support in the shoes. Luckily, most foot pain can be solved by bigger shoes, metatarsal padding, different socks or custom foot orthotics. Burning pain can be a sign of a Neuroma, an early stress fracture or lumbar radiculopathy (a pinched nerve in your back), so if your burning does not go away with simple solutions, quickly seek the advise of your podiatrist or sports medicine physician.
Other foot related problems seen in cyclist are Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis, which in the early stages are usually solved by raising your saddle or turning it slightly askew. Often, we wait too long to address an injury because we think it will miraculously solve itself. Long standing foot pain often requires more aggressive treatments with custom orthotics, physical therapy, injections or even surgery in severe cases.
Thankfully my foot pain completely resolved with slightly bigger shoes, a thinner sock and a small metatarsal pad. My upcoming long rides on the way to a half-Ironman triathlon in the fall should be much more comfortable and pain free!
If you are suffering from feet pain, contact Talus inMotion Foot & Ankle and schedule a consultation.