Preventive Insights On Shoewear And Bike Fit For Cyclists
- Volume 25 - Issue 10 - October 2012
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This is important as narrow shoes over time during a ride may produce neuroma-type symptoms that the person may not normally possess. The majority of shoes come with only a very thin felt liner. There have been significant changes over the past few years with the emergence of customizable insoles or heat moldable shoes to allow more of a custom fit.
Custom fit of the shoes may include simple modification of the stock liner with a metatarsal pad, the addition of an over-the-counter orthotic or the insertion of custom-molded orthotics into the shoes. If you choose to add a custom orthotic to a cycling shoe, remember that less is more. There is already a snug fit to the shoe and even with removal of the stock liner, there is very little room in the shoe for an orthotic.
Your typical running shoe orthotic usually will not fit in the cycling shoe or if it does, the patient’s foot will not. The cycling orthotics are usually made from an intrinsically posted graphite plate.
The addition of extrinsic rearfoot posts may push the heel up and cause heel slippage while riding. The graphite keeps the orthotic thin and does not take up too much room. Graphite is also in use because high-level cyclists tend to discuss weight in terms of grams, not pounds. Many of the cyclists find that this type of orthotic works well in the cycling shoe and serves a dual purpose of fitting very well in ski boots.
When evaluating potential injuries related to bike fit, it can be very beneficial to work with an experienced bike fitter at the local bike shop. The combination of the bike fitter’s knowledge of bikes and the fitting process, and your medical knowledge can be a real asset to the cyclist patient.
One should follow up the initial bike fit in a few hundred miles of riding for re-evaluation and fine-tuning of the fit. Subtle changes may occur at that point to really dial in the fit to the needs of the rider, whether it be more comfort, protection of an injured body part or for more speed in a racer.
Local bike shops are also a potential untapped sports medicine referral source for those who understand the basics of bike fit. You do not need to be an expert bike fitter. Just being able to understand the basics of bike fitting and converse accordingly can be beneficial for bike riding patients and possibly increase referral of those patients to your practice.
Dr. Corwin is an Associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He is board certified in foot surgery and rearfoot/ankle reconstructive surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, and is in private practice in Media and Phoenixville, Pa.
For further reading, see “Bike Fit Evaluation: Can It Help Diagnose And Prevent Cycling Injuries?” in the December 2006 issue of Podiatry Today, “Secrets To Treating Bicycling Injuries” in the August 2005 issue, “Essential Keys To Treating Triathletes” in the June 2009 issue or “Treatment Tips For Common Triathlon Injuries” in the October 2002 issue.