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Cycling, Foot Pain, Hot Spots, and the Simple Fix Once You’ve Tried Everything Else

April 2019
« Mar   May »

I’ve had a miserable time with hot spots and foot pain over years of cycling. Sometimes it’s so bad I have to unclip my feet and let them dangle for a bit to get some life into them… not easy to do when you’re trying to stay in a group that’s clipping down the road at 24-mph.

To describe the pain, it used to center on the pads of my feet, just above the cleats, and radiates out. Over 60 miles, I could live with it, but it would crescendo after 75. The pain was excruciating after that.

I messed with cleat position, heel in, heel out, a little fore, a little more aft, nothing worked.

I still rode on, because the pain would always stop once I got off the bike. And I mean gone. No after effects. Once I got the cycling shoes off and put my running shoes on, the pain stopped (leaving the cycling shoes on, however, was ill-advised).

Well, I know my cleats aren’t the problem because I have them adjusted at the shop with the Look blocks to make sure the cleats work with my body mechanics. Shoes? I don’t think so. I’ve had the same problem over my last two pair

I was just about to the end of my rope, coming into trainer season (winter), when I had an epiphany. What if I didn’t tighten the Boa closure so much?  I figure I’m about a quarter to a half-turn looser, and I’m a lot happier for it. The pain is all but gone.  My mistake was in thinking that cycling shoes should be something like hockey skates… you wedge your feet in and crank them down.  I found that isn’t the case.




  1. Tom Rengert says:

    I have been struggling with knee and foot pain when using cleats, and I’ve tried so much, the only thing I’ve found to combat it is…

    …not using them.
    I have gone to flat pedals, and for the first few hundred miles, it felt really weird but completely painless.

    Now another couple of surprising things happened as well, I didn’t lose any efficiency even my sprint was virtually the same.

    Although I am currently putting funds together for a bike-fit so any other problems with my setup might get noted.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I didn’t like platform pedals on the road bikes… tried it once, felt like a fish out of water. Not by choice, either… forgot the shoes at home. Luckily one of the guys had a pair in his back seat.

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