What Causes Numb Feet?
Tingling sensations or complete loss of sensation in your feet is quite common for cyclists. What is happening to cause this when you are riding your bike?
Your legs are doing all the work when you ride and this increase in activity requires increased blood flow to the muscles doing the work. Increased blood flow in your legs will lead to your feet swelling a little when you ride. If your shoes are too tight, or done up tightly, your feet won’t have any room they will become a little squashed which can cause tingling or numbness.
Another reason is nerve impingement or compression of the nerves found between the bones under the ball of your foot. This area of the foot (your ball) is where you have the most connection with the pedal so over time on a longer ride or when you are riding intensely this part of your foot will be taking the load. This can cause direct nerve compression or a decrease in blood supply to the nerve – both these things result in numbness.
Just like other parts of your body, your feet can become tired when you ride. Holding your feet in their natural position is important as fatigued foot muscles will collapse which often is the reason for numb toes. Foot muscles will also fatigue if your shoes are too big as your feet will be working hard to hold onto something. They need to feel supported and secured to stop gripping.
Poor/weak body position on the bike or pedalling more to one side (dominant leg or slightly off centre seat) are also things to look at. Again with longer rides when you are asking your body to stay in one position the importance of that position and how you are transferring weight becomes more important.
What Causes Cold Feet?
Cold feet is a much more straight forward problem to solve. Caused by poor circulation and the cold temperature you are riding in.
Good quality socks are a must if you are routinely having this problem. Merino or polyamide blend fabrics (avoid 100% cotton) but try and keep them relatively thin, mid to lightweight, remember you need room in your shoes.
Also pedalling technique and body position will be contributing to your bodies ability to circulate blood and keep flow into your feet.