Save my feet!
December 25, 2012 11:09 PM   Subscribe

The arches of my feet hurt quite a bit during my spin classes. What can I do to alleviate the pain?

I've recently gotten into spin classes and my arches hurt in class. So far the pain has stopped as soon as I'm off the bike, but it's bad enough that it's seriously bumming me out. I was having this issue in cross trainers with pretty stiff soles and cages. I recently got a pair of mid level sidi shoes with look clips to see if that would help but I'm still experiencing issues. Has anyone else gone through this and found a solution? I really love spinning and don't want to stop but I also don't want to give myself a permanent injury.
posted by amycup to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I find that thick athletic socks with arch supports help a bit. I have this problem when I do aerobics. Very good sneakers with arch support helped me, too - I have a pair of new balances.
posted by k8lin at 4:40 AM on December 26, 2012

I was going to suggest stiff-soled biking shoes, but I see you've already got a pair. The guy who does my bike fittings at the local bike shop helped me find the right shoes and the correct angle / positioning of the clip to alleviate my foot pain when riding. I assume similar considerations would apply for spinning. Maybe take your shoes to a well-recommended local bike fitter?
posted by Orinda at 5:38 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have superfeet in my clipless shoes, though you have to find the right one for your kind of arch. Have you looked at your pedaling technique? It may be caused by that.
posted by loriginedumonde at 5:45 AM on December 26, 2012

Yes. Shoes, or technique.

I used to get this when growing out of ballet shoes, and I still do when wearing flats or trainers/sneakers that aren't quite right. Walking, standing, running, cycling all hurt my arches when the fit of the shoe, while fine sometimes and especially at rest, creates too much tension in my feet. That's not just if it's slightly too snug lengthwise, widthwise or in depth, or if there's the standard flats problem of having to stop them falling off (not relevant here - I hope!), but more than anything else it's if the soles are too solid/stiff. I'm a barefoot/socks person at heart, so my walking movements are all wrong in stiff shoes: foot bends and spreads, shoe resists, restricts arch flexing, hello cramps. Ditto on a bike.

This is spectacularly unhelpful for spin as cycling shoes are made for stiffness - but this can be a useful heads-up that if you do prefer flexible shoes used with toe straps (bang over the ball of the foot) and have to switch if this isn't available in your class, it's a different technique that you'll be using, which'll take practice. Fingers crossed that shoe modifications via socks, insoles etc can also help, by sorting out the distribution of stress across the foot inside the shoe.
posted by lokta at 6:28 AM on December 26, 2012

Walk enough to warm up and do calf stretches before spinning. Roll your arches over a golf or tennis ball other times.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:40 AM on December 26, 2012

Cheap, quick thing to try: Move your cleats further back (effectively positioning your foot a little further forward on the pedal), just a few mms can make a difference. Whenever I've experienced any pain from foot-retention systems this has cured it. No harm in trying it. If you do, remember to drop your seat height a couple of mms to compensate.
posted by normy at 2:52 PM on December 26, 2012

Thanks for the great suggestions everyone! I got fitted with some superfeet insoles and moved my cleats back to the farthest point available on my shoes as a first step. I'm heading to my first class since doing this in just a few so hopefully that solves my issue. If not, it sounds like the next step is a bike fitter.
posted by amycup at 10:10 AM on December 29, 2012

You might also want to try lowering your seat position. When the seat is too high, most people tend to bend their ankle to get through the bottom of the stroke. This puts a lot of repeated stress through the arch. arch support will help, but if the seat is too high, it's just making up for a poor fit.
posted by advicepig at 7:21 AM on December 31, 2012

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