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Foot Pain From SPD Pedals

author image Patrick Hutchison
Patrick Hutchison has been doing freelance work since 2008. He has worked as a physical therapy aide and as a writer for various websites including Destination Guides and several travel-related companies. Hutchison has a Bachelor of Arts in history and anthropology from the University of Washington.
Foot Pain From SPD Pedals
SPD pedals should make riding more comfortable, not less. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Shimano Pedaling Dynamics pedals were introduced by Shimano as the world's first clipless pedals for cycling. Shoe cleats bind directly to these pedals, creating a stable interface between your shoe and pedal. This system can increase your efficiency and ride comfort. If you're experiencing foot pain with the SPD system, it's time to take a look at your shoes and alignment.

Selecting Your Shoes

Poorly fitted shoes or cleats are a common source of foot pain for SPD pedal users. Because bicycling shoes must provide a stable platform, they can often feel stiff. If your foot does not fit the shoe properly, it will cause pinching and binding that places uncomfortable amounts of pressure on your foot. Combat this problem by selecting an SPD compatible shoe that fits your foot's length, width and most importantly volume, correctly.

Finding Proper Alignment

With the SPDs, your foot is attached to the precise location on the pedal every time you ride. If this position is not properly adjusted, you might be pushing on the pedal with the wrong part of your foot. Your feet should clip to the SPD pedal at the ball of your foot for maximum comfort and pedaling power. If your foot is clipped too far forward, it will cause pain in your toe. If your foot is placed too far back, it will cause pain in the arch of your foot.

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Avoiding Stressful Release

Less common, but still possible, is foot pain caused by your SPD release system. All SPD pedals should allow you to disengage from the pedals by rolling your foot in a specific direction, often inward. The inward rolling of your foot is a slightly unnatural maneuver, but if performed correctly on proper functioning equipment it should not cause foot pain. If you are unfamiliar with the release system, or if the system is worn out, you may have to try several times or roll your foot harder to get it to release. Over time, a stressful release procedure can cause foot pain.

Give It An Overhaul

Besides shoe fit and pedal alignment, the best way to keep your feet comfortable on an SPD system is to keep it in good condition. Overhaul your SPD system at least once a season by taking it apart, cleaning exterior surfaces and re-lubricating any moving parts. Before each ride, check the pedal and your shoe's clips to ensure they are clean and free of debris that may interfere with pedal fit and function.

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