Numb Toes While Cycling? Here’s How To Deal With It!
Foot and numb toes while cycling is a problem often faced by beginners and even more experienced cyclists. Numb feet and toes often involve more than one root cause.
This means there are up to four main causes that often contribute to numb toes. This can be saddle height, shoe width, cleat placement, and saddle type. Knowing how these can affect your feet is a start to finding the root of the problem.
Below we look at the main issues of numb toes while cycling and other factors that also may be an issue like perineal numbness.
Numb Toes & Cycling Saddles – An Overview
Often people think numb toes while cycling comes from feet issues, but there is a correlation between numb toes and cycling saddles.
Having an incorrectly fitting saddle is often the cause of saddle discomfort, but it also makes you shift the pelvis around until you find the correct position. The problem with this is you tend to effectively lower or increase your saddle height. If you are shifting forward on the saddle too much, you are then loading excess pressure to the front of the foot. Similarly, if you are pushing yourself back on the saddle, you then start to reach for the pedals.
So check your saddle and make sure its correctly setup and the right width for you. While not often not the main cause of numb toes while cycling, it sometimes adds to the issue of numb feet.
Insoles For Numb Toes – Do They Work?
It is common for a cyclist to buy insoles for numb toes, but do they work? There are a variety of reasons that can cause numbness of the toes and before going out and spending money on some innersoles, make sure you can pinpoint the issue.
Some of the issues that may think you need purchase insoles for numb toes are:
– Wrong fitting shoes
– Cleat position
– Saddle height
– Fore/Aft position
Numb toes are often caused by cleat position and saddle height. If your saddle is too high you may be overextending the foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This then leads the foot to overreach the pedal, lifting your heel in the process thus moving the pressure towards the front of the foot below the toes. This means that pressure is now being located below the toes rather than being supported by the ball of your foot.
If your saddle height has been checked by a bike fitter and this isn’t the issue. Start looking towards your cleat position. If your cleat position is too far forward it will shift to much load to the front of the foot. Try moving it back slightly to alleviate the issue, but make sure you drop your saddle height to compensate.
While these are often a cause of numb feet making these adjustments may not eliminate the problem. It is time then to look into innersoles. Look for moldable cycling innersoles or see a qualified person to fit you out. Innersoles will both help to prevent pronation and help support your arch under load, preventing excess force moving towards the front of the toes. The are many insoles for numb toes available on the market, but often they are incorrect in fixing the issue. Speak with your local foot specialist or bike fitter and pick the right innersoles for you.
Often known as “hot foot” metatarsalgia cycling pain can get to the point where you may spend multiple weeks off the bike. This type of injury is common among cyclists and develops from the nerves being squeezed between the metatarsal bones of your feet.
Usually described as a burning feeling, the hot pain tends to radiate down into the toes. While there are many other symptoms, this is by far the most common one and an easy way to distinguish the issue.
Since your feet provide the contact to the pedals and propels you forward, the ball of the foot is under tremendous load. Reducing or shifting the load slightly can help eliminate the issue, or in worst cases decrease the symptoms.
By checking your cycling shoes you can determine whether the shoes are wide enough for you. Check by removing the innersole and place your foot on top of it. If your foot sits outside of the inner sole, you may have a too-narrow shoe.
Make sure the shoes you have to provide adequate room for the toes to breathe. Also, make sure not to overtighten the straps and try moving into thinner socks to allow better breathability.
If all this fails in reducing your metatarsalgia cycling issues and the burning sensations in your feet., look to a bike fitter in your local city. They can help to adjust your cleat position to reduce the load on the ball of the foot and check the fitting of your cycling shoes.
Perineal Numbness From Cycling – What You Need To know?
The compression of the perineum is often why cyclists get perineal numbness from cycling. This can lead to nerve damage, blockage of blood vessels, and swelling. An ill-fitting saddle and saddle height is the main cause of this issue.
If the problem stems from the position of your pelvis on the saddle, you may be placing the pressure away from your sit bones. Ideally while seated the sit bones should support your weight rather than your soft tissue areas. Make sure you are positioned towards the rear of the saddle rather than towards the front.
If you cant find a comfortable position on the widest part of the saddle you may find you are creepy forward constantly. This then shifts the weight onto the soft tissue and is one of the major causes of perineal numbness from cycling. Also as explained later in the article contributing to numb toes while cycling too.
While adjusting the saddle to slightly nose up can help your position on the saddle better, it is not overly recommended if you constantly shift forward on the saddle. Same with tilting the nose down, this contributes to you sliding forward and loading the hands, feet, and neck with added load.
If you find you have the correct saddle, then look at your saddle height. Perineal numbness from cycling often contributed to the wrong saddle height. Check your saddle height and make sure you aren’t overextending the foot at the bottom of the stroke. Try lower the saddle height slightly and check if any relief is felt.
Make sure when looking for the right saddle, pay attention to the shape of the saddle you choose. Since the shape of your pelvis will differ from others. You can also look into a cut-out saddle model which can help relieve pressure from the perineum.
Remember there is a correlation between Perineal numbness while cycling and numb toes while cycling. So most likely fixing one issue may correct them all.
If you are still stuck on the issue look to book in with a qualified bike fitter in your area. They will often find the solution relatively quickly.