Cycling is an excellent hobby, and for the cycling enthusiast, the freedom to ride on a beautiful day is a great way to spend leisure time. For those who use their bike are their primary source of transportation, it is the way to get to and from work or activities. Yet, cycling takes a toll on the body. It is crucial to be aware of the physical stress placed on the body when riding.
When we walk, our arches are the ‘leaf-spring’ of our feet and absorb the impact that created with every step we take. Our arches adapt to the ground we walk on and move slightly to keep us upright as we take steps. Our steps are physical signals to the rest of the body – hips, knees, and ankles muscles – to keep our legs stable. When we don’t have the proper balance, it causes the medial arch to fail or collapse.
Our feet have three distinct arches that need protection. The arches are the medial, transverse, and lateral arches, and they support specific functions in our feet. Our feet have 26 bones, 30 joints, a group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work in unison. It is how the system works to create a soft landing as we take steps.
When cycling, we have no ground impact to trigger the system too work as intended, but here is still a load to bear. Our body doesn’t send a signal to our nervous system and, by extension, the muscles needed to execute in balance. As a result, we have inward collapse of our legs as we ride along.
Cycling injuries become a problem because we have reduced support in our cycling shoes
- Back pain
- Knee pain, anterior or lateral
- Pain in the forefoot
- Numbness during riding activity
If you are in pain during riding activities, the first thing to do is check to determine if your bike is correctly fitted to your form. You will know problems are arising when you experience pain in the knees, hips, or back when you are riding. When it is determined that your bike is fitted for you, look at your feet. Specifically, look at your foot structure, the mechanics of your feet, and your riding shoes. A lack of support for your arches is where the problem begins. And it is manifested due to the pain in other regions of your body. On your bike, the pedal is the contact point for your forefoot below the metatarsal head.
Your contact point is your shoe that houses a metal or plastic cleat. When the problem is any are of your body, talk to a podiatrist for help to alleviate the pain. The treatment may be a simple as stretching or escalate to insoles, custom orthotics, or wedges to relieve the pain you are feeling.
Cycling orthotics, how they help
- Cycling orthotics serve to balance the foot. Lower foot motions are unwanted, and the orthotic insole helps recalibrate high-pressure areas to reduce stresson the foot. As we know, the primary contact point for the foot is at the forefoot, and that is where the support from the orthotic comes into play. It starts with a low profile at the hindfoot and increases in profile moving to the forefoot. Stiff, lightweight material creates the orthotic, and, in general, graphite is the material of choice.
- Orthotic/orthopaedic footwear for cycling is task-specific and is not interchangeable for other sports-related activities. Riding orthotics creates an environment in the shoe that is custom-made for the rider’s foot. The best part of the orthotic is that it provides a comfort zone for the rider, allowing your feet to perform at optimal levels.
- Orthotics are designed for pain relief and keep the cyclist in the saddle. Pain reduction comes through the repositioning of the foot in the shoe. Improved foot structure takes the stress from other areas of the body, allowing for a pain-free ride.
- Using cycling orthotics will guide your feet and ankles to stay in a neutral position when cycling. You generate more torque to the pedals as the legs drive power to your feet.
Wedges can help too
Over 96 percent of cyclists have forefeet that are ‘canted’ or ‘tilted’ inside, inward (varus), or, outward to the outside of the foot (valgus). A vast majority of cyclists have feet that are tilted upward to the inside.
Your cycling shoes, your pedals, and your cleats force your foot to become flat, removing the natural tilt of your feet. This is where the knee pain, and hotspots, where the inside or outside of your foot feels hot. Using a wedge will provide 1.5 degrees of angulation inward to help foot alignment when riding.
When in pain seek medical advice
Pain is only temporary, and a podiatrist can help relieve the pain with an accurate diagnosis is determined. Before you run out to purchase orthotic insoles or wedges to improve your riding experience, make sure you buy the right products that a podiatrist will direct you too.
Care-Med, the only solution
Your orthotic needs are best served by your friends at Care-Med when riding equipment is needed. Alla and her team at Care-Med have over a decade’s experience fitting cyclists with the latest in orthotics cycling gear that relieves pain and creates ‘happy feet.’
At Care-Med, we approved by all insurance companies. Our service is ODSP/Ontario Works approved, as fitter and vendor for custom made orthotics, and other medical devices.
We invite you to contact our office to make an appointment for a private consultation and custom fitting for and insole for cycling. When you have questions concerning the problems you are experiencing when cycling, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get better acquainted with the services and products we have available for the cycling enthusiast, we invite you to visit our website at Care-Med.
Call our office today at Care-Med to make an appointment at 416-782-5353.