Education

Cycling Shoe Surgery

Posted By Robyn Hughes, ND

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April 22 2015
John Nevin

Hello,

What vendor do you recommend for wide toe box cycling shoes? I am desperate! Thanks.

April 22 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, John,

Thank you for your message. As avid cyclists ourselves, we’re always on the lookout for wide toe box cycling shoes. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to come across any companies making them. If anything changes with this, we’ll post that info with this article.

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

June 16 2015
Jill Minneman

Can you please show a picture of how you modified the toe boxes? I appreciate your hint about not tightening the bottom straps too tight.

June 28 2015
Natural Footgear

Greetings, Jill,

Thank you for your post and request for pictures of the toe box modifications. We will post an image or two as soon as possible, but essentially the modification involved slicing away rectangular portions on each side of the shoe to accommodate the big and little toes, from about the ball of the foot forward for the length of those toes.

Glad to hear the hints are helpful; happy cycling with your healthier feet!

All best,
Sarah K. Schuetz

July 18 2015
Sam Yale

Hi! Great thread. I’d first like to say that I was one of Dr. McClanahan’s patients when I lived in Portland several years ago. He cut up my Specialized road shoes in the way you describe and the result was nothing short of miraculous. I had the classic burning foot, and it all went away on all but the longest rides. My shoes lasted a couple years, but eventually, the fabric tore around where the cut was made and I had to ditch them. I’ve not purchased new road shoes as of yet, hoping someone would make a better design. But that may change soon. In any event, I DID purchase a pair of Specialized Tahoes (one of the wider toe boxes I’ve found…note widER…not wide) and have mountain pedals on my mountain and road bikes so I can use the same shoe. Here’s my question: have you had any luck making the cut modification on what are considered comfort mountain bike shoes? The soles are beefy, but they are rubber (not hard plastic/carbon/whatever) and have a bit of give to them. I’ve mounted my cleats far back so I get a little flex when I drop my heel, but I could use more. When you cut stiff soles, you are left with two solid halves. I’m worried that if I cut a rubber (albeit stiff) sole, that it may make it too flimsy. I’ll giv’er a go and report back if no one has done it, but thought I’d check in first. Sorry for the long post. Keep up the good work!

August 11 2015
Natural Footgear

Hello, Sam,

Thank you for your detailed response! We are always happy to “meet” a patient of Dr. Ray’s. It is a wonderfully close-knit, far-flung community. Also glad to hear you have enjoyed the benefits of thinking outside the shoe when it comes to your cycling gear.

We haven’t yet attempted to cut the soles of mountain bike shoes, but we’re curious to hear how it goes for you. Please do keep us posted on your tinkering, as we can all benefit from hearing what has been tried, whether it is optimal or needs fine-tuning. We continue to applaud you on your journey!

All best,
Sarah K. Schuetz

June 01 2016
Greg Speck

I was able to resurrect shoes that were causing ingrown toenails and make them comfortable. Cutting slits on the areas that were too tight did the trick. Thank you so much for this great advice.

June 01 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Greg,

Thank you for checking out the article and for your positive feedback. We appreciate your comment!

For more helpful information, check out our newsletter and free online courses:

http://naturalfootgear.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=4f2eb7b9a0edaa5b1de4c18fd&id=1420cc105b

Best,
Marty Hughes, DC

June 17 2016
Jeff

Greatly appreciate your article on cycling shoe surgery. Especially given that I am currently recovering from Morton’s neuroma surgery on both feet. I would deeply appreciate pictures of the four modifications you made to your shoes. I love riding and want to get back to all day rides without burning painful feet. Thanks!

June 17 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Jeff,

Thank you for your message. We’ll be posting more images in the near future, so check back soon for those. In the meantime, I have included some resources below that may be helpful for you in regaining foot health post surgery:

Athletes Email Course:
http://naturalfootgear.com/pages/are-you-an-athlete-who-struggles-with-foot-pain

Neuromas & Natural Foot Health:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888880-neuromas-natural-foot-health

Six Ways to Restore Foot Health After Surgery:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17914760-six-ways-to-restore-foot-health-after-surgery

Neuromas: Conventional vs. Natural Approaches:
http://naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888868-neuromas-conventional-vs-natural-approaches

I hope this info helps!

Kind regards,
Laura Trentman

June 17 2016
John

My problem is what I believe to be a neuroma between my fourth and fifth metatarsals. Not sure I’m ready to cut up my shoes, but I will try taking out the liners and loosening the toe straps.

June 17 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, John,

Thank you for your message. Every individual is unique in terms of their foot health needs, and we can’t comment on your specific case without the benefit of a full health history interview and physical examination. Our best recommendation is to check out this list of healthcare providers to see if any are in your area:

www.nwfootankle.com/resources/122-healthcare-providers

You’ll be able to get a much more detailed answer from any of these providers about what’s going on in your foot. Alternatively, you might consider scheduling a phone or Skype consultation with the healthcare team at Northwest Foot & Ankle, in Portland, OR. This is a great option for discussing your particular foot care concerns.

We do offer an educational email course on neuromas if you are interested in learning more about how to prevent or address this issue using natural approaches. You can sign up for the free course, here:

www.naturalfootgear.com/pages/do-you-have-foot-pain

Taking the liners out of your cycling shoes is a great way to give your toes more room to splay. Loosening the toe straps (especially that lowest one, out near your toes) is another good and simple technique to reduce some of the pressure on your toes.

I hope this info helps!

Kind regards,
Laura Trentman

July 04 2016
Michael Yares

I have just come upon your site and blog today. I’ve been reading through the articles.

When coming upon this article, it made me wonder why you wouldn’t use a high-quality platform pedal and street shoe? My personal experience in converting to platform pedals from cleats was a refreshing one.

I look forward to reading and learning more from your site. Thank you for all the great info!

Michael

July 04 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Michael,

Thank you for checking out our site, and we are so glad that you asked this question. We do indeed like the combination of a foot-healthy shoe and a simple, flat-pedal strapping system for folks who are looking for an alternative to conventional cycling shoes. This set-up can provide a welcome change for the feet and the great feeling of knowing that your toes are still aligned when pedaling your bike.

Thanks again for checking out the site and we hope that you continue to read our articles.

Kind regards,
Laura Trentman

July 04 2016
Kat Scherer

I recommend adding a fifth technique to your list: Crushing the hard toe box tip with a hammer (you can use a hammer to soften other parts of the upper as well). Crushing the hard insert in the toe box can add lateral room to a shoe that may have enough toe box volume, but may be too narrow or too tall. This can create a more “flat” but “wide” toe box.

July 04 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Kat,

Thank you for your message and your tip! We will indeed incorporate your suggestion into this article, and we look forward to trying out your suggestion. Thanks again and let us know if you have any questions!

Kind regards,
Laura Trentman

July 04 2016
Heather

What about the mountain biking system? There are more shoe options that look like normal shoes. Or how about saving piles of money and riding with flat pedals? You can wear any old shoes. I’ve never had a problem. I could never fit into tight cycling shoes, so it was never an option (admittedly, I was afraid of being clipped in). The trend right now, at least in random and touring, is to use wide downhill platform pedals. Lots of support with little to no reports of pedal strike and such.

July 04 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Heather,

Thank you for your message. We’ve found that, while there are indeed more options (especially when it comes to shoe shape) for mountain biking shoes, there still is not an ideal option for pedaling. Better, yes, but still not sufficiently wide in the toe box for most people.

I really like your flat pedal idea, especially when the pedal is combined with a simple and effective strapping system to keep the foot in place and the power transfer high. Pedal strike on sharp corners is a consideration in some cases, but this can be managed pretty easily once you’ve adjusted to the new system.

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

August 26 2016
Mike Sweeney

Great article! I developed really bad knee pain as soon as I started wearing clipless shoe pedals and my feet would cramp up frequently, especially on downhills. I didn’t think it would be a very difficult transition. A lifetime of wearing soccer cleats has made my pinky toes useless and given me a full-blown bunionette as well as neuromas on both feet. I love soccer, but a lot of these suggestions wouldn’t work for soccer cleats. Thanks for all the helpful content!

August 26 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Mike,

Thank you for your comment. We are thrilled that you enjoyed the article! We have many cyclists and soccer enthusiasts who regularly ask us about foot-healthy cycling shoes and cleats, and we are always on the lookout for new options for both sports.

I have included some additional resources below that you may find helpful in achieving optimal foot health:

Bunionettes:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17856604-bunionettes

Neuromas & Natural Foot Health:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888880-neuromas-natural-foot-health

Tailor’s Bunions and Neuromas eCourses:
www.naturalfootgear.com/pages/do-you-have-foot-pain

Neuromas: Conventional vs. Natural Approaches:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888868-neuromas-conventional-vs-natural-approaches

If you have any additional thoughts, please do send them our way!

Kind regards,
Laura Trentman

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