Confounding toe numbness

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by WP33, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. WP33

    WP33 New Member

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    I've got a recurrent problem with my right foot. The big toe will start to go numb at a point. Here's the hard part: It's never consistent or 100% replicable; one day I can ride and never get it- the next, there it is.

    Here are some of the particulars, because I know they'll come up sooner or later, no matter how insignificant they may seem-
    Frame: Specialized S-Works Roubaix
    Fork: Whatever the hell the S-Works Roubaix came with, with the Zerts (spelling?) damping inserts
    Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SC SSL
    Tires: Hutchinson Carbon Comp, 115-ish PSI
    Pedals: Varying, from Shimano 520 to Performance Mag Ti Pros (common denominators are Shimano SPD cleats and type pedals)
    Saddle: Specialized Alias BG 143 (determined to be the ideal due to my ass cheek impression on the foam whatsit)
    Shoes: Specialized Body Geometry Somethin-nuther road shoe (don't know they exact model, sorry). They're road-specific, so they have very stiff soles, and the "Body Geometry" ergonomics. They're 100% better than any shoe I've had previously, so I doubt that's it.
    Shorts: 2 Nike bibs, USPS issue, 1 Nike bib, Discovery issue, 1 Performance bib, US Olympic team issue, 1 Pearl Izumi "team" bib, 1 Pearl Izumi MicroSensor short (non bib- and which I almost never wear).


    I've done the "drop test", where one will dangle their feet as they put their full weight on the bike saddle, feet disengaged from the pedals, and have noticed little, save for perhaps a slightly bigger arch in my right foot.

    Now, my suspicion is that my right foot is of a different configuration and/or size from my left. I can just fix the straps on my left shoe and go, never a problem, but my right always feels a bit strange, uncomfortable, even, and it seems as if I'm fiddling with the right straps a little too often.

    The numbess is impossible to predict. I get numbess in that toe sometimes 45 minues into a ride, yet other times I can go 90 minutes, two hours with no issues. I can say for certain that the minimum time for at least noticing the numbess is about 45 minutes.

    My route shouldn't have anything to do with it, as I've been on Palo Alto roads that produce massive vibration (anyone who lives there or around there can back me up on the crappiness of the streets), and have had no numbness in my feet, and have been down some of the Bay Area's smoothest roads where the numbness will appear.

    I've had the numbness appear no matter which short I was wearing and no matter the route. The only common issue is the time, roughly. When I feel it, it's about 40-45 minutes into a ride, and it's always, 100% on my right foot.

    I should say that I notice the arch support rise on my road shoes more with the right foot. The left shoe seems to disappear altogether, but the right foot, it's like I can particularly feel the arch support and am striving to put my foot in the right place constantly. But it still feels awkward.

    I guess the long and short of it is, could it be my shoe and foot that's causing the issue? Should I seek an orthotic solution? Could I be doing something in my position on the seat that's causing this?
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    It is very possible that the problem lies in the shoe/foot. For instance it is quite common that the left/right foot aren't even exactly the same size. Mostly shoes are so soft and forgiving that this doesn't become a problem, but it's not unheard of. There even was an athlete some years ago who used shoes of different models on left/right.
    First thing to do is probably to try to figure out if you can identify if there is a difference in fit between left/right, and then to see if there is anything that can be done about it.
     
  3. bobbyOCR

    bobbyOCR New Member

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    I had the same problem for a few rides, and gave something a shot.(works with straps)
    1) put heel, with shoe on foot, on ground, floor, table, etc... then push heel into object hard.
    2)do up strap closest to toes as hard as possible, then move up through straps.

    This stopped my foot from falling and squashing itself into the end of the shoe, relieving pressure. This worked for me, I hope it might for you.
     
  4. SoFlaPedaler

    SoFlaPedaler New Member

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    I've had the same problem a few times also with no real pattern to when it happens. My right shoe also feels weird, never really comfortable, as compared to my left. When my toe went numb, I loosened the straps on my right shoe a little. I continued to ride for 10-15 mins. and within this time period loosening the shoe did little or nothing to help the problem. I then focused on my right foot and noticed that I was curling my right toes in my shoe and my whole foot was tense. I tried to relax my right foot and started to focus on my left foot when pedaling. After a while (can't remember how long, but 15-20 mins seems right) the numbness was gone. Could be a fluke, but give it a try.
     
  5. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    My left foot used to go numb on longer rides. Turned out to be cleat adjustment.
     
  6. Eilert Pilarm

    Eilert Pilarm New Member

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    i've had same problem. right foot a little larger than left.
    spd pedals and cleats. varied in frequency if i changed cleat location.

    seemed to go away when i rode Looks.
    why i still have spd's is Confounding.
    procrassina...prokrast....oh i'll learn to
    spell it tomorrow
     
  7. WP33

    WP33 New Member

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    Thanks for responding, guys.

    -SoFlaPedaler: Your situation is exactly the kind of thing I go through. It was worse with shoes I used to use, with a far more flexible sole. It was like I was trying to grip the pedal with my toes or arch or something. Then it wasn't as much numbness as it was discomfort and and eventual soreness from a tensioned foot, though there was some numbness from time to time. The problem went away when I switched to my current shoe, with a much stiffer sole, but I've really noticed lately the problems I've already described.

    -Doc: I'll also give adjusting the cleat on the right shoe a try. Maybe I don't have the ball of my foot in the correct position if my right foot is a different size than the left.
     
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