Cycling Foot Pain

How Does Cycling Make Our Feet Hurt?

Cycling Foot Pain

Cycling has always been among the most popular forms of transportation, all the way back for centuries.

But whereas cycling was once a primary form of transportation, now it is only used for fun or recreation.

Roughly a third of the American population today rides cycles for fun.  For some people though, cycling isn’t just recreation.  It’s an exercise and an excellent way to stay in shape.

While numerous parts of your body play a role when riding a cycle, we tend to focus on our cardiovascular health and our legs.

We vary rarely pay attention to our feet when we cycle, but developing foot pain from cycling is a real issue.

Our Feet and the Pedal

One of the most critical reasons why our feet hurt from cycling is because of the shoes we wear.

Professional cyclists, at the very least, select cycling shoes that they only wear when peddling down the road. But shoes in general are a major factor to why so many Americans’ feet hurt.

Having shoes that lack proper cushioning or that have poor arch support are bound to cause are feet to hurt sooner or later.

This is no exception for cycling; in fact, cycling probably only makes things worse!  In other words, poor shoes and cycling don’t go well together.

When all is said and done, you’ll be much happier if you take the time (and perhaps the extra money) to research what cycling shoes will work the best for you.

Look into if your feet have any other pre-existing problems, and then check to make sure whether or not the shoes have soft cushioning and good arch support.

You’ll then want to give your new shoes a test down the road, but if you feet continue to hurt after a few days or weeks of cycling, then that’s the signal that you still haven’t yet found the right shoe.

As an added tip, you may need to buy more than just one kind of cycling shoe.  After all, there isn’t just one type of cycling.

People cycle for recreational purposes, others do it purely for the exercise and cardiovascular health, others love to race their bikes, and others enjoy heading up into the mountains.

Fortunately, there are different kinds of cycling shoes that are designed for these different purposes.  There are also combination shoes, like hiking-cycling shoes, that can fit two or more needs.


A major part of cycling as it relates to feet is biomechanics, which is the outer force of the body playing a role in cycling.  This includes the hands on the handlebars, feet on the pedals, shoulders properly postured, etc.

Physicians have studied the biomechanics of the human foot to see how it relates to and is affected by cycling, and they have found that cycling alone can be a reason behind foot pain.

However, these same physicians have also found that you can act before the pain sets in. For example, they do recommend that you stretch your lower muscles before cycling.

You should specifically stretch your calves, quadriceps, and buttocks and elevate your leg in the air to move around your foot.

Physicians also recommend that you do not start out cycling at high speeds to begin with; rather, you should start slow and easy and then steadily build your way up in terms of speed.

Treatment for Pain and Injuries

Many people don’t just suffer from foot pain because of cycling, but they can also suffer from an injury as well.

This can include damage to the knees and shins, besides the feet.  Pain, for example, can come to the shins due to inflammation of the muscles and tendons.

Foot pronation, also known as collapsing arch, is very much related to this type of inflammation.

However, it should be averted by stretching before cycling, though this is not always the case.

Another form of foot pain that can result from cycling is the injury and/or inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel bone.

This is most often injured by pedaling incorrectly, having a seat that is either too high or too low, or failing to stretch before cycling.

Pain from the Achilles tendon is a major problem among cyclists, but it can be effectively treated by taking a break and resting, applying ice to the tendon, or taking anti-inflammatory medications.

If things get worse, you should consult with your doctor to see if further treatment is necessary.

Much of the foot can also become numb as a result of cycling. This usually happens when nerves in the foot become compressed and subsequently pinched.

This also can lead to swelling and a burning sensation between the toes, followed by a sharp pain that originates at the foot and shoots through the entire body at regular intervals.

The most common reason why the nerves become pinched during cycling is because of wearing shoes that are either too tight or have poor arch support.

If you fail to correct the issue, the pain may eventually spread to your lower leg, causing a tingling sensation.

The chances of developing foot pain and injuries during cycling increase dramatically when one cycles regularly or are a competitive cycle racer.

Professional cyclists all have specific strategies to greatly lower the chance of their foot from becoming injured.

Many cyclists simply change the entire way that they cycle in order to prevent the risk of injuring their foot, and they are able to do so without using special equipment.

They simply have the motivation to be competitive in cycling and they want to keep their body as in good condition as they can to maximize their performance.

The feet deserve first attention from these professional athletes, considering it would be rather difficult to push the pedals on the cycle without your foot.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *