Bicyclist Foot Pain and Numbness

Our Portland Podiatrists Treat Cyclists’ Foot Numbness and Pain 

Don’t let foot pain slow you down. The podiatrists at Northwest Extremity Specialists treat all causes of foot pain in cyclists to get you pain-free and back in action. 

Common Causes of Foot Numbness and Pain in Cyclists 

Sore and numb feet are the bane of cyclists everywhere. When your foot falls asleep while riding, or you develop aching or shooting pains that can make it hard to walk, something has to change. There are many causes of pain and numbness in the feet of cyclists, ranging from poorly fitting footwear to medical conditions severe enough to require therapeutic interventions. 

Overexertion and Improper Footwear

Don’t panic if you begin to notice foot pain or numbness when you’ve been out riding. Often, mild and temporary foot pain results from unusually intense exercise or wearing the wrong shoes and socks for cycling. Swapping out your usual footwear for shock-absorbing socks, arch support inserts, and wider shoes may help.   


If pain and inflammation manifest in the ball of your foot, you might be suffering from metatarsalgia. This condition that can accompany intense exercise or riding with poorly fitting footwear may cause symptoms like the following:  

  • Pain with use (riding, walking, and even standing) 
  • Shooting pain or tingling in the toes 
  • Aching or burning pain that presents in the ball of the foot 

Plantar Fasciitis

Pain in the heel more commonly results from plantar fasciitis, the swelling or inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the bones of the heel to those of the toes. Plantar fasciitis can be painful enough to make walking difficult, according to the National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus

Stress Fractures 

You might think a broken bone in your foot would be obvious, but cyclists sometimes suffer from stress fractures that seem to develop out of nowhere. These tiny hairline cracks or bruising of the bone develop over time rather than as a result of an acute injury. Stress fractures can develop in different bones within the feet. 

Tips for Preventing Foot Numbness and Pain

What can you do to relieve foot pain and numbness and get back to your activities? For more mild foot problems, rest and changes in footwear and other equipment may be all you need. More serious or stubborn foot pain issues may require medical attention. 

Take a Break 

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself and overdoing it. If you’re experiencing foot pain or numbness, it’s time to get off the bike and give your feet a beak. Take off your shoes and try massaging or putting ice on your feet. Consider ramping up the length and intensity of your workout more gradually. 

Cut Loose 

If you’re lacing up your shoes too tight, you may actually be cutting off circulation to your feet. This can produce numbness and tingling. Try loosening your shoes to restore normal circulation. 

Support Your Feet 

Wearing the proper footwear makes a big difference to the comfort of your cycling. Make sure that your shoes are the right size, fit your foot well, and are in good condition. Shoes that are wide and not too flexible may give you the most comfort for cycling. 

Many cyclists find that adding arch support inserts helps by redistributing the pressure cycling puts on the foot. Although you can buy generic arch support insoles, custom orthotics offer better support. Off-the-shelf insoles aren’t made for the unique needs of your foot, so they may not be able to provide maximum relief from pain. If you’ve tried generic insoles and are still experiencing sore or numb feet during or after cycling, let our Portland podiatrists advise you on getting custom orthotics. 

Adjust Your Seat 

The pain in your foot could have to do with the height of your bike seat. If the seat is too high to be ergonomic, it could be putting excessive stress on the Achilles tendon, located in the back of the calf. In turn, this stress could contribute to conditions like metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis. 

See a Portland Podiatrist

Conditions like metatarsalgia and plantar fasciitis can sometimes be addressed by changing your routine and resting your feet. Other times, you may need treatment such as a boot cast, injections, or even surgery. Undiagnosed foot conditions like stress fractures and deformities such as bunions and hammer toe could be causing pain during and after cycling. 

Don’t ignore persistent, recurrent, or severe foot pain that occurs with cycling. Our experienced podiatrists and sports medicine practitioners can help you get better and back on your bike. 

If your cycling-related foot pain hasn’t improved after trying simple solutions at home, it’s time to consult a doctor. The podiatrists at Northwest Extremity Specialists offer sports medicine care for all foot-related health issues.