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Why Do My Feet Hurt When I Bike?

Earlier this week I was fortunate to carve out a 4 hour block of time for a long cycling workout. Being new to the sport of triathlon, 50 miles was the longest bike ride of my life! It was a really long, hot ride! The funny part was the only part of my body that hurt during and after the ride were my feet! Why is it that my feet hurt instead of my butt or legs? Turns out, I am not alone. Foot pain is much more common in cyclists than most of us realize. Biking is much gentler on my body than running, but your feet do take a pounding!

Let's investigate foot pain in cyclists just a little. I experienced a burning pain in my forefoot after about 40 miles that did not go away until about 2 hours after I got off my bicycle. Why did this happen? In my case, I sized my cycling shoes too small for the training plan. My shoes fit well when I started, but as soon as my feet started to get hot; they swelled and literally got squished by the stiffness of the shoes. At 40 miles, the nerves in between my toes were pinched and all my toes went to sleep then started to burn like they were on fire! This is commonly called metatarsalgia, traumatic neuritis or parasthesias.

Foot pain like I experienced is actually not uncommon in cyclists. This can be caused by improper placement of clips, poorly sized shoes and certain foot deformities that require more support in the shoes. Luckily, most foot pain can be solved by bigger shoes, metatarsal padding, different socks or custom foot orthotics. Burning pain can be a sign of a Morton's neuroma, an early stress fracture or lumbar radiculopathy (a pinched nerve in your back), so if your burning does not go away with simple solutions, quickly seek the advise of your podiatrist or sports medicine physician.

Other foot related problems seen in cyclist are plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, which in the early stages are usually solved by raising your saddle or turning it slightly askew. Often, we wait too long to address an injury because we think it will miraculously solve itself. Long standing foot pain often requires more aggressive treatments with custom orthotics, physical therapy, injections or even surgery in severe cases.

Thankfully my foot pain completely resolved with slightly bigger shoes, a thinner sock and a small metatarsal pad. My upcoming long rides on the way to a half-Ironman triathlon in the fall should be much more comfortable and pain free!


Practice Specialties

Business Team

Welcome to the Business Team at Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas. Our appointment schedulers and billing department work in tandem to assist you and your family during your FAANT experience.
Our scheduling team will complete a short appointment questionnaire that will allow us the opportunity to contact your plan prior to your visit. We will find out what type of Podiatry benefits you should expect, including your coverage limits, which we will then review with you before you are seen.
If you are a new patient, we ask that you complete our online patient forms. We also update paperwork for established patients at least once a year or upon any changes. Having the most accurate information on you and your family will help us better treat your medical conditions, and it will also allow us to process your insurance claims more efficiently.
Thank you for helping us to be more prepared for your visit. Please download our online patient forms and fax them to our confidential fax at least 48 hours prior to your visit at 817-886-3612. We ask that you arrive 20 minutes prior to your visit with your insurance and identification cards; we will scan each card to validate your electronic health record. Please allow for ample time to check in with our team in order to help prevent your appointment being delayed or even rescheduled.
We invite you to bring your socks and athletic/dress shoes along with a list of prepared questions. For a list of sample questions visit http://www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer/ You may also visit our business office library, where you can view frequently asked questions, insurance contract list and become even more familiar with our office.