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Okay, list all the possible causes of foot numbness(42 posts)

Okay, list all the possible causes of foot numbnessKristin
Oct 3, 2003 6:46 AM
I have efectively eliminated the saddle...I think. This is my new saddle. My review so far: Damn hard. Actually, I like it--its kinda comfy. Whoda thunk? I am definately finding my sit bones with this saddle. As a matter of fact, I bruised them yesterday. So why the hell is my foot still getting numb on rides? I was sure it was being caused by cushy saddles pushing into the nerve on the back of my leg. The Terry Butterfly was indeed causing me lots of pain in that region. But I expected all falling asleep to disapear with a harder saddle? Help. I have 13 days to find the perfect saddle!!!

Shoes too tight or (perfect) saddle too high? nmSpunout
Oct 3, 2003 6:47 AM
How does one dial in saddle height anyway?Kristin
Oct 3, 2003 6:51 AM
It seems to me that there is a range that falls within the acceptable parameters of the "tests." I can have my saddle anywhere between 12.5 & 15cm and have a "soft knee." Thats kind of a big range isn't it? Same thing goes for KOPS. As I try new saddles, I play with the fore/aft position, and check my KOPS. It seems that there is a 3cm range that would put me acceptably over the spindal. Then there is the question of where you hang the plumb bob from on your knee.
re: How does one dial in saddle height anyway?loki_1
Oct 3, 2003 7:09 AM
In my experiences... most people will set their saddle too high. A good starting position is sitting upright on your bike while it is stationary (holding on to something of course) and adjust to a height that allows you to drop your heel 1-2" below horizontal (at the bottom of your stroke, leg extended). From there, lower your seat another 1-2cm (try 1cm first) and you will be very close.
Oh, shoes are lace up, so not to tight. nmKristin
Oct 3, 2003 6:52 AM
My toes were going numb, and I posted, and the best advicebill
Oct 3, 2003 7:25 AM
I got was,
Loosen the shoes.
Now, I don't think that's necessarily your reason, but I loosened my shoes, and darn it if it didn't care of things. Some shoes seem to hold your feet tighter without being tight, if that makes sense, and trying to replicate that held-in feeling with other shoes that may sort of naturally hold your foot more loosely will cause you to overtighten them. At least that's what I've concluded.
I also have taken care of that problem by lowering my saddle, which cured me of toeing down. I guess without realizing it I was coming down with my weight on the front of my foot, causing the toes to numb.
My toes were going numb, and I posted, and the best adviceCHRoadie
Oct 3, 2003 7:57 AM
This is why shoes such as the Sidi Genius let you loosen them on the fly. Your feet will expand during a ride, but if you can adjust the shoe without too much trouble you can still start the ride with them pretty tight, then loosen them as needed.
Oct 3, 2003 6:52 AM
Heh-heh, sorry, but it could be possible, you also live up here in the beautiful but chilly upper midwest. It was 22degrees here yesterday. Brrr....

Asiago (formerly Noveread)
Oct 3, 2003 6:58 AM
Kristin, I did the Roselle to Westchester commute yesterday morning, and it was C-O-L-D.

I doubt that's your problem, but hey, you asked for all possible causes...
It was cold yesterday, but I rode at 5pmKristin
Oct 3, 2003 7:09 AM
It was 50 degrees. I was wearing Powerstrech 100 tights, a fleece jersey, vest AND windbreaker, full neoprin booties and a bacalava. I could not have gotten frostbite if I had tried. If anything, the weight of all the cloths cut off my circulation. Funny thing. On the first 50 degree day of spring, I go out and ride in shorts, short-sleeved jersey and windbreaker.
Shoe tightness, part 2............Len J
Oct 3, 2003 7:06 AM
I find that I get numbness in the following two instances:

1.) If my shoes are too tight. My feet swell as I ride, especially in the heat of summer. I must remember to slightly loosen as a ride lengthens. The sidi velcro straps are great for this.

2.) If I ride with a pair of shoes with either too narrow a foot box or ones that pinch at certain places over my instep, I get numb.

When in a ride do your toes numb?

Yesterday's ride was 8.18 miles longKristin
Oct 3, 2003 7:14 AM
I needed to submit the new saddle to a road test. First saddle the I liked better on the road than on the trainer. Anyway. The shoes are lace-up and pretty flexy so they never feel tight in the toe box. Sometimes the laces do cut into the top of my foot a little. I did notice this last night, as a matter of fact. However, is 8 miles enough time for this to cause numbness?
Yes if it's impinging on a nerve.............Len J
Oct 3, 2003 7:17 AM
Try a shoe pad under the tongue.

I think Len (and others) got it....Brooks
Oct 3, 2003 9:45 AM
Shoes too tight. Even on short rides I find my feet going numb even though I have lots of room in the toe box. I loosen the velcro straps a bit and the problem goes away. Either a nerve or circulation gets impinged on the top of my foot. I rode a 180-mile race with shoes loose enough for my heel to lift but no numbness the whole way. Go for the strap shoes and ditch the laces.

Pedals??Greg B
Oct 3, 2003 7:21 AM
What kind of pedals are you using??

Look p336Kristin
Oct 3, 2003 7:23 AM
I'm tempted to just take a picture of my current setup to have you guys look at it. But, naw...
I have same problem...dirthead
Oct 3, 2003 7:30 AM
but only my right foot (toes mainly) go numb. I have tried Shimano, Sidi, Nike, and now DMT Ultimax shoes. I also experimented with different seat heights over the past couple of years. Seat height has never affected my toes going numb. The saddle itself has never made a difference. Shoes have made a huge difference. For me, the stiffer soled shoes, with a wide toe box, seem to help the most. I am currently wearing DMT Ultimax RSX shoes with carbon soles. They fit my foot better than any other shoe I have tried, including Sidi Genius in wide width. I really don't have a wide foot, but my feet swell considerably during my rides, especially long ones on hot days, so I try to size my shoes a half size or so on the large side, to allow for my foot expanding. On really long rides, I may take my feet off the pedals for a few seconds several times during the ride. Just changing the position my foot is in seems to let the blood start circulating back to my toes.

Please let me know if you find a magic cure. I have learned to live with it. I guess there is always something that will be uncomfortable if you sit on a bike long enough. Whether it's your a$$, your hands, neck, back, or feet, something will always be uncomfortable.
Yes. I suspect that part of my problemKristin
Oct 3, 2003 7:41 AM
Is the "Princess and the Pea" syndrome. I want to feel like I'm floating on a cloud, sipping an exotic drink, as a cool breeze blows over my... Okay. Anyway. Perhaps I need to suck it up and toughen a bit.
What have you tried other than saddles?spluti
Oct 3, 2003 8:01 AM
I don't think your answer is in the saddle. I think you are lacing too tight, your socks are too thick, or your shoe/pedal is putting pressure on a nerve. It could also be tight booties.
If you aren't doing any climbing you could try a ride with totally slack lacing and thin socks.
I'll try thatKristin
Oct 3, 2003 8:28 AM
So far the suggestions are saddle height and shoe tightness. I'll try loosening the shoes first. For saddles, I started with a horrendously heavy Serfas gel. Then I tried a couple of stock throw offs given to me by friends. A Schwinn stock racing saddle and a Specialized saddle. I put on a Selle Italia Flite, that last abuot 2 days. After that I bought a Terry Butterfly, which caused me much discomfort of the groin. I know that sounds gross, but it would just press into the inside of my thigh, pushing into my perenium (sp?) and causing shooting pains down my leg. I returned it and the San Marco was the next one I tried. I also bought a couple Forte Saddles, but haven't put them on the bike yet. Thank goodness for shops with 100% garantee polocies. (Performance Bike in Naperville, and Lictons in Oak Park.)
That's alot of saddlesspluti
Oct 3, 2003 8:58 AM
Too many IMHO. So what's the deal? I think you may need some advice from an expert in female fitting issues. I couldn't even begin to make a referal. Maybe R&E in Seattle.
Just talk to them.
That's alot of saddlesMShaw
Oct 3, 2003 9:08 AM
How 'bout Eileen Olsen (sp?)in Orange Co. CA?

She did lots of the guys I know. She knows her stuff.

Um. Did you read your post?Kristin
Oct 3, 2003 9:20 AM
Does how many guys she does affect her ability to fit bikes? LOL
Only if she fixed penile numbness first. nmdzrider
Oct 3, 2003 10:44 AM
Foot numbnessSaddle_Sore
Oct 3, 2003 7:49 AM
I occasionally experience this, but usually only on cold rides. I'd check the amount of float that you have dialled into your pedals. If it's done up tight, try loosening it off a little to give your feet a bit more play whilst still remaining clipped in. Also, try getting out of the saddle for a few yards every now and again, just to get a bit more blood flowing southward to your feet.
Lace up shoes????No_sprint
Oct 3, 2003 7:45 AM
One problem that I don't think anyone has mentioned is too soft a sole on your shoes. Could be part of the problem. Maybe you need to adjust your cleats. You could also try a Superfeet bed.
Oct 3, 2003 7:54 AM
She states her shoes "are flexy", I suggest she try some with a good stiff sole which eliminate any pressure points on the foot.
Yep. Very stiff soles though.Kristin
Oct 3, 2003 8:22 AM
They're Addias and are very similar to these, except mine are have a flap with velcro strap to cover the laces:

While I was looking for the picture, I found these. $50 buy it now. My size. Matches my bike. Hmmm...

I ride with these for all my long rides.dzrider
Oct 3, 2003 11:50 AM
The sole is very stiff so you can hardly feel the cleat through them. My left foot goes numb in colder weather. It didn't until it got close to frostbit 20 years ago. The numbing started after that and has gotten a little worse over the years. Bigger shoes help slow down the numbing, but eventually it goes numb.
Which ones do you have? The Carbon Fiber?Kristin
Oct 3, 2003 1:15 PM
How do you like them? What cleats do you use with them? If Look cleats, any problems? I think I might pick these shoes up.
Can be an early sign of diabetes (not likely if you exercise)Silverback
Oct 3, 2003 8:00 AM
This would be unlikely in a reasonably fit person who exercises, but foot numbness or tingling can be an early sign of diabetes. Worth a look if you can't find another cause.
Sitting cross-legged, frostbite, death, amputation, paralysis,Hot Carl
Oct 3, 2003 8:04 AM
that's all I got.
Where exactly is your foot going numb? nmNatC
Oct 3, 2003 8:13 AM
Kristin, just a thought....Zman
Oct 3, 2003 8:15 AM
I know this sounds stupid but it REALLY worked for me. Concentrate on actually moving your tootsies around once in a while. I found that I would ride for mile after mile without moving my foot or toes. They would stay clipped in and just pedal away. I would get numb feet. I tried to figure it out and could not find a solution. When I MTB'ed I never got numb feet, and then it hit me. When I mountain bike I am constantly moving around, I am for the most part static on my roadbike. I tried to make a effort to "wiggle my toes" and "move my feet around" and it worked wonders. I now never get numb feet. I even find that I wiggle my toes when I mountainbike now, how weird is that.

Anyways, just a thought,

re: Okay, list all the possible causes of foot numbnessbc165
Oct 3, 2003 9:43 AM
I too have had shoe tightness cause numbness in the feets. Went to thinner socks and problem solved.

Recently went through the saddle saga myself - many trials and errors, some of the models you mentioned - and found great satisfaction with a Selle Turbomatic. Got an old model on ebay for $13. Don't settle for something that is uncomfortable. I kinda liked the rock hard Selle San Marco Era in a sick sorta way... but there's no reason to make your sit bones suffer. Put the suffering in the thighs instead.
One more recommendation...Matno
Oct 3, 2003 10:02 AM
Mentioned briefly by someone above, but deserves another vote...

New insoles. I thought my new Sidi's were too small after my first ride because my feet went completely numb on a short 20 miler. I was not happy because I thought that the only way to remedy the problem would be thinner insoles (the shoes were already about as loose as they would go). I even tried removing the already very thin Sidi insoles, but to no avail. However, on a whim I tried a pair of gel insoles that I had had laying around for a few years. I figured that since they were even thicker than the originals, they would never allow enough circulation. On the contrary, they were perfect from the first minute on my feet. Rode a 370 mile, 3 day ride 2 weeks later and my feet were the only part of my lower body with ZERO discomfort the entire ride!
You wanted allCFBlue
Oct 3, 2003 11:00 AM
the possible causes. As someone who goes bare foot a lot, I had built up some large, tough calluses. Not a problem on shorter rides, but no amount of shoe loosening and wiggle room fixed the problem when the 50+ mile mark was reached. I started removing them and, as they went away, so did the numbness... Another odd solution was a small pad sort of between the toes, I think the person had help from a podiatrist in fitting that. Some how, it helped circulation.
where exactly is your numbness?ET
Oct 3, 2003 11:28 AM
Funny how no one even asked that.

Is it on the back of the foot (how high up)? side of the foot (which side)? top of the foot (specify)? in the toes (if so, which)? Depending, there could be all kinds of causes (e.g., posture, cycling motion, tight muscles, tight shoes) and diagnoses (temporary constriction, sciatica, neuroma, tarsal tunnel, etc.).

Please elaborate.
Good question!NatC
Oct 3, 2003 11:31 AM
NatC 10/3/03 9:13am
Sorry. I thought I'd typed "toes" in my original postKristin
Oct 3, 2003 11:32 AM
My toes, but not just the outside two toes, its all of em.
then the culprit likely is tight shoesET
Oct 3, 2003 11:45 AM
Can you try another pair of shoes? Or maybe temporarily swap out the pedals for clips and straps and see what happens with the shoes you use for that?

BTW, is it the toes in both feet or just one? Only when you ride? How long does it linger after you remove your shoes?
oh, one other possibilityET
Oct 3, 2003 12:36 PM
Sometimes the sole of a shoe just doesn't conform well to your foot. I recall the good ole days when I used to be a runner. Before my run I'd do the standard runner's hamstring stretch (standing forward bend). Well, only when wearing Sauconys (which happen to have wide toeboxes), my toes would feel a bit numb during that stretch. I think it was the angle of the sole surface at the ball that was pushing up and cutting off the circulation a bit when I brought that kind of pressure on it. So maybe something similar's going on, i.e., your foot is resting on an ill-fitting surface, even if there is sufficient room. Again, another shoe may be necessary. Shoe inserts, whether OTC or custom orthotics, may also help.

BTW, if your shoe comes with its own insert, try removing it (to create more space), go for a ride and see what happens. This might prove tightness is the culprit if you don't get the numbness or at least it is less severe or delayed.