HIGH INTENSITY CYCLING + FOOT PAIN – WHAT IT IS + HOW TO TREAT IT?
Have you been suffering from sore feet after a big ride, or worse still during a ride? Exercise Physiologist Elle de Wet and owner of any.BODY Pilates & Exercise Physiology in Milton, explains that it might be your plantar fascia, and how you can manage this uncomfortable pain that is impacting on your ability to enjoy your ride.
Every useful watt of power you generate whilst cycling is transferred to your bike through the bottom of your feet. Foot pain, in particular arch pain, is common amongst cyclists and can be caused by a biomechanical issue through your hips causing a tight plantar myo-fascia.
What is myofascia?
Myofascia spreads throughout our body. It is the thin layer of connective tissue that covers all of our internal parts: muscles, joints, bones, organs blood vessels. It binds some structures together whilst allowing others to slide over each other. It is known that fascia is responsible for pain when we reduce a joints range of motion (ROM), as we do when we repeatedly do the same movements – just like cycling and sitting at our desks. This hardened myofascia is the reason we lose flexibility as we start to age.
One of the most likely causes of pain in the arc of your foot is a tight plantar fascia (the myofascia in the arch of your foot). The plantar fascia (aponeurosis) is a broad, thick band of connective tissue that forms a protective layer over the arch of your foot, enabling you to walk barefoot. Interestingly, the plantar fascia tightens as your big toe extends during the toe-off phase in walking and cycling – therefore naturally this fascia can become extremely hardened for highly active individuals like cyclists and runners. This tightness can be treated and managed and if left untreated can become inflamed resulting in plantar fasciitis.
How to treat and manage foot pain during and after cycling
Foot arch problems are very common. The structures forming your arches and ankles are complex, and it may be necessary to seek help to correct biomechanical issues if this recommendation does not assist with treatment and management. Releasing myofascia is essential for holistic wellness, proper posture, decreasing pain, progressing in your fitness levels and to assist with increasing or maintaining flexibility.
Using a trigger ball/tennis ball/golf ball you can release the plantar fascia underneath your foot by rolling the ball and finding tight sore spots. It is recommended to breath through any of the pain. The pressure put onto the myofascia will break down the dehydrated collagen and help rehydrate it by increasing range of motion and flexiblity through the surrounding musculature. This simple self massage can not only assist in managing foot pain but also assist in increasing flexibility through your hamstrings and glutes (muscles that get incredibly tight in the traditional cycling posture).
If you want to continue to increase your fitness levels and get better and stronger during your rides you need to prioritise time to care for the joints and muscles in your body. At any.BODY Pilates & Exercise Physiology Elle recommends 1-3 Reformer Pilates sessions a week to assist in increasing flexibility, creating stability through your joints, increasing core strength and moving your body in a way that counteracts the repetitive postures we find at work and in our hobbies.
For more information on how Pilates & Exercise Physiology services can improve your posture and help you manage pain please contact Elle de Wet directly via the details below.
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