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How to Relieve Foot Pain From Cycling

Learn about cycling pain, what causes it, what aggravates it, and what you can do to prevent and treat pain from cycling.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Shir Lapidot
Edited by Shir Lapidot

Updated February 17, 2023.

Compared to running, cycling isn't as hard on the feet. However, it can still cause pain in all areas of your feet when you have to do it for long. Research suggests that pain on the top, ball, and outside edge of the foot from cycling is common.

Can Cycling Worsen Foot Conditions?

Yes, several foot conditions worsen with cycling. For example, people with wide feet, flat feet, and high arches develop pressure points because of the shape of cycling footwear. Cycling also worsens plantar fasciitis. Thus, be sure your foot is in a proper state for cycling before going ahead.

» Suffering from flat feet? Find the best cycling insoles for flat feet

How to Treat Foot Pain from Cycling

Generally, foot pain from cycling can be treated with rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Apart from this, a foot massage with a tennis ball will help relieve any tension or soreness in the foot arch. Depending on how much pressure you want the ball to apply to the leg, you can either sit or stand when carrying out the procedure. General stretching exercises will also help relieve the pain

How to Prevent Foot Pain from Cycling

Here are a few quick steps you can take to prevent foot pain from cycling

  • Ensure your shoes fit properly Choose shoes that fit your feet without being unduly tight. Check that the sole is hard enough. Also consider using custom orthotics for cycling.
  • Adjust your cleat Position the cleat so the ball of the foot is directly over the pedal axle. This reduces the risk of ankling and foot pain.
  • Stretch Stretching exercises for the foot muscles keep them strong and healthy.

When Should You Stop Cycling With Foot Pain?

If your foot pain isn't extremely severe, it should go away within a matter of days. If the self-care methods do not relieve the pain, you should stop cycling, and consider seeing a doctor or podiatrist.