Foot cramps

After about 400-500 feet or so when riding, i’ve discovered that my arches cramp up something fierce. I’m dealing with it for the time being by riding with my heels on the pedals, but that seems like it might be fouling up other things. I’m not sure how much might have to do with me trying to hold the uni level while riding so it doesn’t launch out without warning into a UPD, if anything.

Does anyone have any suggestions, or is it a matter of “Go out, ride 20 minutes till you can’t walk, crawl home, wait till the next day, repeat”?

How’s your seat height? If properly adjusted, your legs will be most of the way straight when at the bottom of the pedal stroke. The preferred part of the foot to have on the pedal is the ball of the foot. What kind of footwear are you wearing? If your feet are involuntarily scrunching up, this could be the cause, which might just take more practice to get your feet to relax. Or maybe a tighter shoe?

I’m not sure, it seems like the right length keeps changing. :stuck_out_tongue: Not sure what that signifies either. Probably inconsistant foot position or some such.

After the trials comp at California Muni Weekend my feet and hand kept cramping up. It was annoying, every time I got on the uni it felt like my foot got smashed up.
It hasn’t happened since and not really before that either, maybe just a lot of riding messed my feet up.

In deed you better ride with the ball of you feet above the axe of your pedal.
But riding with you heels -or too high seat- would usually cause cramp behind you knees. And so I wonder;

  • Do you dehydrate too much?
  • Do you drink enough?
    if you experience cramp DON’T drink (cherry)coke, 7up, mountain-dew, coffee, thee or any alike drinks, drink water!
  • Aren’t your shoe-soles not too flexible?
  • Are you riding not relaxed, with tention on your muscles, and too much ‘weight on your pedals’ non-stop?
  • Do you do stretch excersices for you legs regular?
  • Do you have a bad blood circulation?
  • Is your blood OK?

What I do to stimulate blood circulation to my feet is:

  • stand on one leg
  • raise the other like 10" sideways.
  • pendle the other with a heavy speed back and forth but in half relaxed condition (by only using the muscles in the upperleg). The amplitude is only about 5", and the speed pretty high.
    Also I make kind of sideways karate-like kicks (again with the foot and lower-leg in relaxed condition).

One other advice I got to stimulate blood-circulation in the feet was rolling a coke-bottle (of glass -that use to have profile-) underneath you desk with you feet. Later I saw there are special props with a much better profile for this. Whatever the cause is of your cramp I recommend you find one of these, and try them.

When learning, and while getting better at general riding, there can be a tendency to tense up. That can mean tensing up the legs, and in some people can mean tensing up the feet. Tense feet can mean trying to wrap or curl your toes around the pedals in a futile attempt to get more grip and control on the pedals. Are your toes curling under as your ride?

As you get better at general riding you learn to relax. It takes time, and some will get to that stage faster than others.

Are your pedals very slippery? Do your shoes have a sole that will stay on the pedals without slipping too much? Maybe your pedals or shoes are very slippery and that is causing you to tense your feet up in an attempt to better grip the pedals?

I -try- to drink enough - don’t know if I succeed though. I hate soda, and I don’t drink caffiene - juice or water. About 2-5 liters a day.

Hard to say. The load on the pedals changes a bit, sometimes I have to make myself ease off, but I have had quite a few UPD’s when my feet came off the pedals from lack of pressure too.

No, though I do feel a bit of pressure to try to keep contact with the pedals. That seems hard for some reason.

UDC 24" learner with the rounded plastic stock pedals. They don’t seem exceptionally slippery to me…

Possible; I don’t know how high profile of a sole would be necessary to not be “slippery”. I’m using either a pair of New Balance 853’s - fair condition - or a walking shoe, good condition. Usually the NB’s.

I stretch some. Everything else should be passable at least.

Eat Bananas, get better arch-support

I had a problem with the same kind of foot cramping about two years ago when I was a cyclist. Someone told me it was likely due to a deficiency with some sort of mineral (probably potasium) and that eating bananas would help. He was right and I didn’t have any problems afterwards. I ate a couple of bananas a day for 2-3 days, and afterwards tried to eat one per day for a while. Now, I only have one a few of times a week.

Stiffer sneakers might help, but I think the issue with footwear is more about whether they provide enough arch support. You might be getting the start of a condition called plantar faciitis. Try a sneaker that is built for correcting moderate pronation. I like the Saucony running shoe, model “Grid Stabil”, but you’ll only find it at a proper running store and it will cost around $80. Make sure that you get properly fitted (most people buy too small of running shoes for their feet).

Stretching will help some, but only when the underlying cause is addressed. Otherwise, stretches can sometimes trigger more cramps. Wallpushers and stair-drops (standing on a step with the balls of your feet and letting your arches and calves stretch by lowering your heels).

Good luck.

Yikes, that’s going to hurt the budget. Bananas are more expensive than steak right now.

That’s not going to be easily possible, I already have to get specialty shoes because a “proper fit” for me is american size 12 EEEEEE.

There are potassium supplements that may be cheaper the real bannanas. Or you can roll your own using Morton Lite Salt (half the sodium of table salt). Morton Lite Salt contains potassium.

With your big feet you may find it better to use larger platform pedals.

For plastic pedals the Odyssey Twisted PC pedals are a little larger and may support your foot better.

This was my first thought. The large ones may cost more, but they’d be worth it. I’m using a set of Profile Gas Pedals on my 26", and they are the largest I’ve found so far.

I was having this issue last year with my mountain bike, and the problem went away when I switched pedals.

The first thing came to my mind was bananas, too. I try to eat one each morning or at least before I do anything physical.

I refereed soccer for a couple years and I remember one game that I reffed (about half an hour after playing another game) where my toes cramped up so badly that I had to blow the whistle and stop the game as I removed my socks and cleats so I could fix my toes. I refereed the rest of the game barefoot.

(It was just a u-14 game, so nobody was too upset)

Hmm… I’m in AU right now. Are the DX pedals at UDC at all comparable to the ones mentioned? The Odyssey looks like it’d be mostly shipping ($85+ for shipping, I assume in usd)

Go to a local bike shop or a local online shop and see what they have for larger platform pedals. It’ll be cheaper than getting the pedals ordered from the USA.

You should be able to find the plastic Odyssey Twisted PC pedals more locally than from the USA.

Plastic pedals are better for general riding while you are learning or developing new skills. Plastic pedals don’t hurt you as much when they hit you in the shin or calf. Metal pedals can literally leave scars.

There are certainly more choices for large platform pedals in metal. And you’ll be able to find larger platforms too in metal than in plastic.

A DX style pedal has a pointed shape at the end (by the outside of your foot). It’s not one of the larger pedal designs.

Something that has more of a square shape than the DX shape may have more surface area supporting your foot. That would be pedals like the Odyssey Twisted PC (plastic), Odyssey Jim Cielencki (metal), Primo Tenderizer (metal), Odyssey Twisted Pro (metal), and others. The square shape will feel more secure under your foot.

This is totally happening to me. My toes are curling up when i go for road rides on my 29er. I was wondering if it has to do with needing stiffer soled shoes. I also find that my left foot is twisting off the pedal. I end up clinging on the the edge of the pedal and I am curling my toes to keep my foot on the pedal. Maybe I need different pedals.

It truly is amazing how much more comfortable you get after learning to ride, mostly it’s the result of relaxing your body. So, you’re probably tensing your feet/toes, which results in cramping. You might want to invest in stiffer soled shoes, though if you’re just riding on flat street terrain and still learning to ride, I doubt you’re putting that much pressure on your feet.

You could try varying your foot position and seat height, though what you probably need is just more time in the saddle :stuck_out_tongue:

I really tried to focus on relaxing as I rode today. It might have made a difference. I am going to try a stiffer pair of shoes tomorrow as well.

The EEEEE is a wide foot along the axle, that is from the crank out to the edge of the pedal. I have not found a pedal that is more that 4" along the axle, though many are wider from front to back.

If you know of one, let me know.

I know (I think) I developed plantar fasciitis from attempting to grip the UW pedals in bird claw fashion through my sneakers, and have been looking for wider pedal ever since.

If the cramp continues when not riding, you may be getting that.