Pes Cavus feet and clipless pedals

by smuggers   January 28, 2013  

Hello.. Reasonably new to the community and after a long break from cycling, I've started to commute to work again. In my younger years, I used road and mtb clipless pedals, with varying degrees of success..Tried so many set ups after I started with pain in my ankles, hip and more troublesome right knee. I'm currently using toe clips with trainers..I know this isn't ideal..But at least I'm able to cycle the 12 mile commute with little pain.

I have got some generic orthotics to help with my Pes Cavus feet..I know getting some specially made can be very expensive and I just don't have the spare cash atm.. Would be interested in any advice from other members, with this type of foot problem? And if they're able to use clipless pedals. Also any advice on shoe and pedal choice would be helpful..I'm looking more at a shoe for touring and not a road shoe..

Thanks for reading..

Kind regards

Smuggers

5 user comments

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I was wary about coming back to cycling due to knee issues, but I got everything sorted. There is a Sports Therapy clinic in Chorley, Lancashire which I'll wager can help you. I appreciate it might be a long journey (where are you?) but a phone call ought to ascertain whether it will be worth it. It's NJD Sports Injury clinic. They'll look at your body/physical issues etc before turning attention to the bike, position, shoes, pedals, cleat setup etc.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2508 posts]
28th January 2013 - 22:18

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notfastenough wrote:
I was wary about coming back to cycling due to knee issues, but I got everything sorted. There is a Sports Therapy clinic in Chorley, Lancashire which I'll wager can help you. I appreciate it might be a long journey (where are you?) but a phone call ought to ascertain whether it will be worth it. It's NJD Sports Injury clinic. They'll look at your body/physical issues etc before turning attention to the bike, position, shoes, pedals, cleat setup etc.

Thanks for your advice notfastenough... I did see Nick Dinsdale, in Clitheroe, many years ago before I packed it all in. Can remember at the time it was going to cost me quite a lot of money to get custom orthotics and I just didn't have the spare cash necessary to go ahead with it..I would go tomorrow if money wasn't so tight right now. It's a shame really, because I know he's one of the best in the country with biomechanics..Maybe I will email him and ask for some kind of rough quote..I'm guessing I will need quite a few sessions with him and this with the price of the orthotics and bike fit, will probably run into the hundreds. It's just taken me ages to save up for a new bike and I know I'm going to have to do something to help with my poor biomechanics and foot problem, if I want to start cycling regularly again and using clipless pedals.

Just out of interest, what was your problem and what did they do to rectify it? Thanks again for your reply.. I so miss cycling regularly..You truly dont realize what you've got until it's taken away from you.

Kind Regards..

Smuggers

posted by smuggers [20 posts]
29th January 2013 - 9:22

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Well I gave up cycling when I was still in my teens due to knee pain whenever I put the pressure on. It just got too frustrating that I was being short-changed by my joints when my legs/lungs wanted to ride faster. I saw a BCF race physio at the time, and he couldn't work it out. I couldn't afford to go finding specialists etc. Cue years doing other stuff.

A couple of years ago, with a bit more disposable cash, I decided to give it another go. I opted for Speedplay pedals and Specialised Body Geometry shoes specifically to allow my position to be changed and fine-tuned over time. I was still getting the pains, so booked an appointment with Nick. I spent about 4 hours between him and Nicola, and ended up with Specialised's highest arch support, a pair of varus wedges in the shoes and a further pair within the cleats to support the outstep-down/instep-up neutral position of my feet. Also adjustments in cleat position to reflect my heel-in stance, a recommendation for 10mm more reach in my stem to give my back room to stretch out a little (this also proved wise) and some exercises to equal out the muscular tension exerted on my kneecap by the inner and outer quads (can't remember their technical names - vastus medialis oblique or something).

The exercises proved to give the most immediate relief, but the open space between the ball of my foot and the sole of the shoe without all the other stuff means that without the additional support, I would have simply run into the next problem a couple of weeks down the line as my knees were knocking inwards on every downstroke as my ball pushed to the sole.

All this cost me about £120, which I thought was money very well spent. Admittedly, I also have custom orthotics (paying for those hurt me!) but Nick suggested that as they are heel-focused, and cycling being a forefoot activity, I not wear them on the bike.

I am thinking of booking another session with them actually, due to a weird shooting pain in my heel if I ride more than 2/3 times a week.

I realise it's cash that is hard to come by these days, but even if it's a small loan or a 0% credit card (make sure to pay it off!), I think looking after your health has to take priority over nicer bits on the bike.

Try discussing it with him, make sure you explain the financial constraint, I suspect they might be able to provide some useful input.

Good luck.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2508 posts]
29th January 2013 - 11:45

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I sympathize with you notfastenough.. I got frustrated with my persistent knee and joint problems and just packed it all in.. I have lost count of the pedal and shoe combinations I tried over the years..I also had muscle imbalance in my quads and this didn't help with my knee knocking inwards like yours. I'm going to do some overtime and will see Nick Dinsdale about orthotics and positioning on the bike.. I'm looking at Speedplay Frog pedals after reading favourable reviews about them being knee friendly..How do you find the float in your speedplays?

I'm due to see the podiatrist here soon about some new orthotics and will ask if they can make me some custom ones. I know I can get back to cycling longer distances and the time as come to start thinking about the damage I've inflicted on my joints..Like you said, our health must take priority..Thanks for your helpful advice..

Good luck with sorting your heal pain out.. I had this issue also, for a time until I got heal raises in my shoes.

Kind regards..

posted by smuggers [20 posts]
3rd February 2013 - 20:04

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Hi, sorry, I hadn't checked back for another reply. The speedplays work really well. I think the key thing is that the float is free rather than being under spring retention, so they don't keep pulling back to 'their' preferred position.

I think the heel pain was due to using spinning classes over the winter, or more precisely, using soft-soled gym trainers and aggressively pounding the pedals until I feel the pedal shape against my feet.

Any progress your side?

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2508 posts]
4th June 2013 - 20:07

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