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Forefoot Problems

Medical Series Articles: About Medical Depression ] Achilles Tendonitis ] Asthma Medications ] Back Pain ] Bicycling First Aid Kit ] Collarbone & Shoulder Injuries ] Diabetes, Cycling, & Insulin ] Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm ] Forefoot Problems ] Gastrointestinal Problems ] Heat & Cycling ] Injury in the Tour de France ] Muscle Cramps ] Obesity ] Overuse Injuries ] RICE, NSAIDs ] Ride or Rest? ] Riding Poorly--Is It Medical ] Road Rash ] Saddle Sores ] Sleep for Cyclists ] Stretching ] Tips to Lose Weight ] Traumatic Injuries ]

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Most of the information in this article is incorporated into the book Bicycling Medicine.

Forefoot Problems (Introduction)

Cyclists often experience burning, pain, and/or numbness in the ball of the foot or the toes. Occasionally there is associated itching of the sole of the foot. Pressure is the usual cause.



Burning, pain, or numbness in cyclists’ feet is almost always caused by pressure around the foot.

Shoes that are too tight, shoe straps cinched too tightly, or old-style pedal-cleat systems with toe straps that are too tight are the usual causes.

The problem may be seasonal: it is worse in warm or hot weather.

High mileage, climbing, and big gears all increase the volume or intensity of pressure and make things worse.

An improperly positioned cleat, worn cleats, or worn pedals may contribute to the problem.

Sometimes the cause is a medical condition such as arthritis or diabetes.

From a medical point of view, the problem is generally metatarsalgia—pain from the metatarsal bones; or from a neuroma—a swelling of the nerve between two metatarsal heads.

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