Foot Numbness | Barton Haynes

Barton Haynes here, continuing my series on healthy riding as summer, and the cycling season, heats up. Here is the overview postwhere I discuss different types of injuries and how to avoid them. In this article we will focus in on foot numbness/tingling while cycling. 

Foot numbness and tingling are irritating, if even painful, and will cut your rides short. As a frequent cyclist, it’s quite common. 

Causes of Foot Numbness While Cycling

Barton Haynes Cyclist

Foot numbness usually has two causes:

  • Nerve compression
  • Blood circulation restriction

Not a big surprise, right? To translate these causes into cycling terms, we are usually talking about:

  • Biking cleats that don’t fit your foot correctly
  • Biking cleats that are worn out
  • Biking cleats that aren’t fit to your bike correctly

How to Fix Foot Numbness

Barton Haynes Shoes

Personally, nearly all cases of foot numbness I have experience have been fixed by buying new shoes. If I had just bought shoes, this involves returning them for a new pair. If I have numbness and my shoes aren’t new, it’s usually a good indication that my existing shoes are wearing out and causing nerve compression.

If you buy new biking shoes, wear them around the house and simply sit in them for a few hours and see how your feet feel. Then take them out for an exploratory ride. If they still feel good, your shoes are likely to be a good fit.

Also, getting a good bike fitting at your local shop can go a long way towards preventing foot numbness and tingling. Case in point, if your cleat is fitted two far forwards and pedaling compresses the nerve in the middle of the pad of your foot, your foot will go numb. 

Thanks for following along.

-Barton Haynes