Numb toes

Did a nice ride of 32-and-a half miles this morning. It was the same route where I had some difficulties a couple of weeks ago, and I had none of those problems today. The advice I’ve gotten from my commenters on proper hydration and nourishment must be paying off.

But I did run into a little problem that seems to crop up on just about every ride I take: the little toe of my left foot goes numb.

It doesn’t hurt, but it can sure be uncomfortable. I never even feel it coming on, but suddenly I will realize that the toe is tingling, and I have a heckuva time trying to get rid of the sensation.

It also comes on at inconsistent distances or times. If I’m doing my quickie 15 mile circuit of the Veloway, I have had it within six miles or so. But on today’s longer ride, I didn’t get it until 20 miles. Today wasn’t much of a problem, since I usually stop for a brief rest break at 22 miles anyway, and I could pull off my shoe and massage the offender. But the numbness came back at about 31 miles.

I have dealt with this nuisance a number of different ways. Besides massaging the toe, sometimes just getting off the bike and walking a bit will help.

I have loosened the lowest strap on my left shoe, and pull only the top strap really tight.

I make it a point to pull up with my left foot while riding, to relieve downward pressure on the toe.

I try to wiggle my toes in the shoe while riding. Not very effective.

Dealing with the symptoms doesn’t address the cause, and I haven’t yet figured out what the cause of the problem is. Although it might be my cheapie bike shoes. I don’t have this problem with any of my other shoes, and I am one of those rare folks whose feet are both the same size, so there shouldn’t be a difference in the way the left shoe fits as opposed to the right shoe.

My numb toe is the last thing I think about when preparing for a ride — in fact, I never think about it at all. I’m getting a bit irritated, though, that it keeps cropping up.


  1. says

    It might be ‘hot foot’. This happens when you’re putting pressure on the wrong part of your foot, commonly caused by your cleats being too far forward relative to your foot. I’d try moving them back 1/4″ on your shoe, and see if that helps.

  2. Al says

    Also you mentioned that one of your shoe straps really tight. None of them should be really tight. They should be tight enough to keep the shoe on your foot, but not so tight that you put undue pressure on your feet when they swell as you ride.

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