Cycling Foot Pain – Causes, Prevention and Treatments

Do you have cycling foot pain? Are you looking for ways to treat it?

After you treat it, do you want to prevent it from happening again? If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading as we explore the options to help improve your cycling experience. The truth is, there are many different reasons for foot pain during cycling.

No cure-all method will help everyone. Trial and error will better help those suffering from foot pain find the best solution. You need to address this systematically to eliminate what works and doesn’t.


Foot placement:

Feet should be positioned with the ball of the foot on the centre of the pedal. When you don’t put the ball of the feet (the metatarsal) on the petal, you run the risk of your feet falling asleep on you while cycling. When the feet are too far forward or too far back, you can also experience knee pain. If you simply start by re-positioning your feet to the middle of the pedal, you can prevent your feet from going numb.

Shoe fit:

The wrong shoe can painfully impact your feet during cycling. Shoes that are too narrow and tight can cut off circulation, causing your feet to fall asleep or ache. Even something as simple as wearing too thick socks can impact the feet. Having the cleat in the wrong position can also do more harm than good. People with longer toes should move the cleat back to help make their feet more comfortable.

You can add wedges to your cleats for feet that tend to rotate in either direction, outside or inside. Wedges need to be placed opposite what you are trying to achieve.


Sometimes when all other treatment methods have failed, the next step is to invest in the proper foot gear. There are specially made shoes for cycling. Normal soft bottom shoes will not help with foot pain. You need a much more solid bottom shoe that gives better support to the feet when cycling. An example would be Vans. Invest in some cycling shoes when all else fails, and you plan on cycling often!

Orthotics can improve foot pain when cycling and prevent you from getting pain from the start. They can have a thinner profile if they help with two important parts of your feet during cycling. Those are:

1. They control the longitudinal arch. This is the main arch people think of because it is the most common.
2. It supports the transverse arch and metatarsal heads. The metatarsal heads can get too much pressure causing nerve pain in the feet.

The saddle:

Your saddle is too high and can cause discomfort and pain for your glutes and feet. You must accommodate both legs. If one leg is a little shorter, adjust your saddle for that leg. The positioning of your saddle has the potential to hit nerves that will then cut off circulation in your foot. Adding height to the shorter leg with a wedge can help relieve the pain you have been enduring in your feet.

Cycling foot pain can put a damper on the cycling experience. You quickly want to change everything while trying to find the best solutions, but you shouldn’t change too much too soon. It will be hard to track what works if you change too many variables simultaneously.

Start with one small change, try it out for a while, then come back and evaluate the results. This is the best way to treat and prevent cycling foot pain.


Leave a Reply