If your feet ever fell asleep while tucked under your legs, you’ll have a good idea of what this feels like – and vivid memories of the irritating prickling sensations when the “life” slowly returned. But why would this happen while you’re on an exercise bike?
Foot numbness while riding a Peloton can be due to restricted blood flow or pressure on the nerves. The medical term for this condition is paresthesia, and it can be situation-related (e.g., during exercise) or chronic. However, prolonged or inexplicable numbness can signify an underlying illness.
Because there are several likely explanations for restricted blood flow or excessive pressure on your nerves, the only way to an answer is to consider all the possibilities and determine why your feet or toes go numb on the Peloton?
Should I Be Worried If My Feet Go Numb On The Spin Bike?
Numbness (or paresthesia) generally occurs when there is a disruption in blood flow or too much pressure on the nerves. When the lack of feeling or sensation only happens when you are on the Peloton (or any other exercise bike), there can be a couple of reasons this may happen.
Marie Christine Leisz, an expert in sports medicine, says that increased blood flow as you exercise causes your feet to expand – and because you’re probably not barefoot it results in excessive pressure on the nerves and restriction in blood flow.
To prevent or lessen paresthesia, Leisz makes the following recommendations:
- Footwear should not be too tight, but the right size and well-fitted.
- Invest n good quality arch support inserts – though this might not be a solution for every person, it is worth trying.
- Adjust clip-in pedals or shift the cleat placement behind the ball of your foot.
Could The Wrong Riding Techniques Cause Foot Numbness?
It is probably a stretch to think your posture might be why your feet are dozing when you are on the Peloton. However, Matt Gallagher (another medical expert in sports medicine) says that your feet might suffer if your posture is not correct.
If the nerves in your back get pinched when you’re not sitting correctly, this can cause burning or numbness in your feet. Follow the short guide below to get the most out of your spinning session.
- Always stretch before exercising
- Take the time to make sure your bike is set up according to your height
- Make sure you keep your core tight and your back straight (shoulder back)
- Ask for assistance when you feel unsure about your form
Experts warn against ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away. In some instances, mild or temporary paresthesia can lead to permanent nerve damage if we don’t isolate and resolve the cause of the problem.
What Does It Mean When The Numbness Won’t Go Away?
When the numbness in your feet lasts long after your session on the Peloton (or occurs before your workout), the possibility that something else is at the root of the problem is very likely. According to Healthline, it may indicate any of the following:
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- diabetic neuropathy
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- herniated disk
- Lyme disease
- Morton’s neuroma
- multiple sclerosis
- peripheral arterial disease
- peripheral vascular disease
- spinal cord injury
- inflammation of the blood vessels
These conditions sound scary, and the only way you can be sure there is nothing serious going on is to book a consultation with your GP and discuss the situation in detail. It might also be good to discuss any upcoming exercise plans with your doctor if you suffer from any of the conditions above, as it may worsen some symptoms.
Why Do My Toes Go Numb when Spinning on the Peloton?
If only your toes go numb, the cause might still be the same as we explained above; poor circulation or excess pressure. One of the possible explanations is that your footwear is too small. You have to keep in mind that your feet expand and make allowance for this.
Again, as in the case of feet numbness that does not go away, losing sensation in your toes can indicate underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease, or multiple sclerosis. It can also be due to cold weather, nerve damage, infection, cancer, or trauma.
Will Spinning Shoes Lessen The Numbness?
Livestrong lists four main benefits of selecting the correct footwear for cycling:
- Spinning shoes are designed to fit into the pedals; this provides a secure fit and prevents your feet from slipping off the pedals.
- With a solid base, spinning shoes keep your feet stable and ensure that the downward thrust power transfers directly from your legs to the pedals (and not to your feet).
- Spinning shoes make your riding experience a lot smoother because your legs don’t have to balance so much to keep your feet steady on the pedals.
- When your feet are secure, you can get closer towards the handlebars, which helps for aerodynamics – probably not very useful for spinning class.
Many indoor and outdoor cyclists would agree with the benefits of wearing proper biking shoes. However, the rigid base and narrow width can, in fact, worsen the feeling of foot and toe numbness.
While the loose-fitting shoe is just as bad as a too-tight shoe, in this case, you have to make room for your feet to expand to avoid undue pressure on your feet. To ensure you have the correct cycling shoes, consult with experts in this field – such as trainers or sports medicine doctors.
The two main reasons you might be experiencing foot or toe numbness while on the Peloton are poor blood circulation and pressure on the nerves. If the loss of sensation lasts well after your session, consult with a professional for a health evaluation.
Remember, it can also happen if your riding technique needs correction. Be sure to ask for advice from fitness professionals on the correct positions and postures.