Thursday, September 15, 2011


Otherwise known as hot foot, this condition was my undoing at Trans North Georgia.  15 hours in to the race and it had me writhing in agony on the climb up Hogpen Gap at 10 pm.

Two weeks later, with a week off the bike, it is still there, a constant source of burning, tingling, numbness which is beginning to take its toll on my sanity.  The pain is bearable now, more of a sense of intense pressure, but it is never ending.

I have spent almost every waking hour trying to come to some "light bulb" solution to end my misery and get me back on the bike with happy feet.  I have enlisted the aid of bike crack addicts Dave Byers, Lynda Wallenfels, Ruth Cunningham, and Eddie O'dea.

I have done all the usual things:  wide toe box, aft cleat positioning, wide platform.  All those were in place pre-TNGA.  Post-TNGA, Eddie  addressed pedaling technique.  Yep, after several rides, I figured out that I was pretty much following his advice during the race.

So two things are gonna happen ... soon.  Tomorrow, I am going to see my podiatrist, hoping that he has "the magic pill."  After much research and seeing how my hot foot has progressed over the past year, I am almost convinced that I have Morton's Neuroma.

Hopefully, the doc will give me some promising information with regards to surgery ... if indeed that is what I have.  Otherwise, I am gonna ask him to cut off both feet and attach artificial feet made out of carbon fiber!

In the meantime, I have put on my cobbler hat and started to alter a pair of old Specialized MTB shoes with carbon sole.  My intention is to move my cleats back another centimeter.

This plus

this plus

this will hopefully equal pain free pedaling!

I gotta run to Lowe's to get a 1/4" drill bit.  I hope to give it a go tomorrow.  As there are many of you out there that have this condition as well, I will keep you posted on my progress.  Being in pain and not being able to pursue your passion is NOT FUN.


Lynda Wallenfels said...

I've thought, more often than once, we would be better off with hooves than feet!

I estimate foot issues are the #1 DNF cause for bikepacking racers.

Dave Byers said...

Carey, how far behind your first Metatarsal are you trying to position the center of your cleat?
When talking to a podiatrist or an orthopedic doctor, keep in mind that cycling shoes are typically low-volume and prescription footbeds may not fit in a cycling shoe. I have tried several footbeds that looked like they had potential only to realize that there was not enough room in my shoes. Hope this helps.

Carey Lowery said...

Dave, the new position will place the cleat about 1 cm behind the metatarsal. Right now, with as far aft as the shoe will allow, it is right on the metatarsal. All my shoes are coming with me tomorrow! I really don't think it is a footbed issue for me, but we shall see. Thanks for your help!

Chris said...

Carey, I developed this way back in the day (when I was fat) from a pair of sandles. Bugged me for YEARS, especially when I started running. Finally got orthotics for running, which helped -- and eventually cured it. Don't discount that a good footbed can make a difference -- even in cycling shoes, your forefoot takes pressure and needs to be spread out in a way that doesn't cause stress points. I've been in Specialized shoes for 2 years now, and have invested in the blue footbeds instead of the stock red -- they help my foot fill the toe box better (long feet, but thin), and keep my arch supported in a more gradual way (I feel like the red are more pointy). Good luck!

matt kicklighter said...

You may be right about the neuroma. Also,you may want to try a metatarsal pad, teardrop shape behind the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal.


Dwayne said...

Carey, before I went to do the Stoopid 50 in July, I was having the same issue with both my mtn bike and road bike shoes. I tried various solutions - new shoes, new footbeds, get my cleats "fit" much the same way as you do the rest of your body.

The solutions for me were the new shoes (Bontragers, although some wider Shimanos worked, too) and the E-soles foot beds. They have an insert that focuses on supporting your arch.

Before the Stoopid 50, I would have serious hotspots at the 4-5 hour mark. When I finished the Stoopid 50 after 7+ hours, my feet were the least of my worries.

Just my two cents...