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Foot Pain from Cycling: Can I Fix This Problem?

Do you get foot pain from cycling? Many people who ride–either outdoors or in a spin studio–complain about hot feet, numb feet or simply achy pedal pushers. But why does cycling take such a big toll on your feet? And what can you do to prevent foot pain during a or after a bike ride? Read on to find out.

Foot Pain from Cycling: Why it Happens cyclists on the open road experience foot pain while cycling

There are several different reasons why cycling can lead to foot pain. First of all, the shoes can be an issue. If you wear special cycling shoes, or clip into a spin bike, your foot gear are likely hard and inflexible. That means you may need to size up in order to fit your feet without pinching. But if you don’t? Then your foot pain from cycling could be the result of the shoes pressing against your feet, causing tingling or numbness.

And the solution? Get fitted for cycling shoes that fit your feet while you’re on a bike! Pay special attention to shoe width when choosing a pair for cycling.

Beyond the Shoes: What Else Causes Foot Pain from Cycling

Even with the best-fitting shoes, cycling puts lots of pressure on your feet. So, if you’re feet have some biomechanical challenges, you may experience foot pain when you bike.

What might that pain feel like? It could be anything from sharp pain to numbness, tingling or burning. And if it’s one of the last three forms of discomfort, the problem likely lies in your nerves.

After all, you have lots of nerves in your toes, but they have to pass through the bones in the balls of your feet to reach that area. Unfortunately, the heads of your metatarsal bones create a narrow passageway for those nerves. Then, if you wear tight cleats that pinch on or press into the ball of your foot? Your nerves could take on extra pressure, leaving you with those symptoms of nerve pain.

How can you resolve this kind of discomfort? Once again, it starts with your shoes. Or at least what you put into them. But let us explain further.

Custom Orthotics for Cyclists custom orthotics can help prevent bunions

If your feet feel numb or tingly when you bike, or if you have hot foot when cycling, custom orthotics could resolve your pain! Since cycling shoes fit snugly, you should remove the shoe’s insole from your cycling cleats and replace them with your orthotic device. (Be sure to tell us that you want cycling orthotics during the fitting process. Because we construct athletic orthotics differently from standard pairs. And we can even create insoles with cutouts designed to reduce pressure on your ball of foot.)

Ideally, these orthotics will resolve your foot pain. But if the pain continues, and it’s focused in the ball of your foot? You could be dealing with Morton’s neuroma. This is especially likely if you feel a hard lump in the ball of your foot, between your second and third toes. In that case, we may need to do more than just adjust your footgear. So we suggest making an appointment in our Spring or Tomball, TX podiatry offices.

Foot Pain From Cycling: Uncovering the Cause of Your Discomfort

Since so many things can make your feet hurt while you bike, how can you tell which one is to blame? Here’s a good rule of thumb. If your feet only hurt while you’re biking, but they feel better when you finish your ride? Your shoes are likely the problem. Or your bike height may need adjusting. So you should try changing up your footgear or seat height before coming to the podiatrist.

But what if your feet hurts when you’re on and off the bike? It’s likely you’re dealing with a chronic foot condition. And you’ll need to visit our team of podiatrists if you want to get relief. But what are some of the most common foot conditions affecting cyclists? Keep reading to find out.

Foot Conditions that Cause Foot Pain While Cycling

Plantar fasciitis

This condition can cause heel or arch pain. And it’s a frequent concern for runners and cyclists, especially if you like to ride with a high saddle. If plantar fasciitis is to blame for your foot pain, we’ll recommend icing, stretching and a custom insole. In some cases, you may need anti-inflammatory medications to resolve inflammation in your connective tissue.


This condition is characterized by pain in the ball of your foot, around your metatarsal bones. It can be a side effect of bunions or other foot deformities, or it can be the result of a nerve condition. The best way to prevent or address this condition is to learn your foot type and choose shoes that support your biomechanics.

Sport Adjustments to Beat Foot Pain from Cycling

If we’ve ruled out any foot conditions causing your foot pain, we can make adjustments to your gear to help you ride comfortably. Even if you’re cycling with orthotics, try changing up the socks you wear, choosing a pear with ball of foot padding to relieve numbness during your rides.

You can also try lowering your bicycle seat, since a higher saddle strains your Achilles tendon, which can lead to chronic foot or heel pain. And remember: your foot pain from cycling could be a result of several concerns. So, even if you think the trouble comes from your shoes and bike, it’s worth scheduling a visit with our team of podiatrists to rule out an injury that could get worse without intervention.