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Numbness and tingling toes while cycling?

The foot muscles tire and the arch of the foot drops. Nerve pathways become pinched and numbness occurs in the toes. The force on the pedal is reduced. The SQlab insoles support the arch of the foot for better power transmission and relieve the overstrained nerves.  However, numbness in the toes while cycling can be caused by various factors. The cause here can lie with the spine, the sit bones, the knee or foot and toe joints.

CAUSES for numb toes while cycling

1. Cause
Fatigued foot muscles constrict vessels and nerves
Fatigued foot muscles constrict vessels and nerves
2. Cause
Cleat setting
Cleat setting

Numbness in the toes - Fatigue of the foot muscles during cycling 

fatigued foot muscles constrict vessels and nerves


SQlab solution
arch support through insoles 

When cycling, different forces act on the foot as they do when walking. Due to the pedaling, the foot tires and loses its naturally arched shape. This leads to additional compression in the area of the metatarsophalangeal joints. Nerve branches and blood vessels are constricted, and the toes begin to tingle or become numb.

SQlab insoles support the transverse arch of the foot with a pad that raises it and slightly spreads the toes.  This support counteracts muscle fatigue and ensures regular blood flow to the toes.

Based on the foot type determination and thus according to the different foot types and the special requirements of cycling, we have developed insoles in three different shapes that support the respective weak points of the foot. 

> To the foot type determination  

Numbness in the toes - Cleat adjustment during cycling 

CAUSE - incorrect cleat setting

 Cleat presses on sensitive soft tissue and reduces blood flow

Soft tissue and vessels

SQlab solution

correct cleat placement under the foot skeleton 

Metatarsophalangeal joint

The correct position of the cleats depends on the individual foot skeleton. For pain-free power transmission, they should be mounted on the shoe so that the pedal axis is underneath the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big and the little toe.

Cleats too far forward = numb toe

If the cleat is mounted too far forward, the leverage of the foot increases, putting extra strain on the calf muscles. This leads to faster fatigue of the calf muscles, puts greater strain on the Achilles tendon and higher pressure on the vessels in the toe area, which can lead to numb toes.

Cleats too far back = pain and burning foot soles 

If the cleat is positioned further back on the shoe, less strain is placed on the calf muscles. However, the pedal can press into sensitive soft tissue and the attachments of the short foot muscles, which in turn can lead to burning pain on the soles of the feet.

Lateral position of the cleats
Also in the lateral direction, the cleat can be easily adjusted on the shoe. For the correct positioning, it is important here to note the natural foot position.

People with rather small feet and a parallel foot position can screw the cleat slightly further out on the shoe. In this way, the feet come further inwards on the pedal and the Q-factor can be reduced.

People with a natural V shaped foot position (this is very common) or generally with larger feet must mount the cleat on the shoe further inside. That way the shoe is further out on the pedal and the heel has enough space to pass the crank and the chain stay.

With a strong V-position and a shoe size beyond 44, the adjustment range of the cleats is often no longer sufficient to fix the foot in a natural position on the pedal. In this case SQlab recommends the use of pedals with longer axles.

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