Hands, Feet, Seat

Aches and Pains V: Hot / Painful Feet

In this series of columns over the past few weeks, I’ve been discussing various aches and pains (other than tired legs!) that we roadies suffer from, what causes them and what you can do to avoid them. Previous columns have covered: cramping; nausea; saddle discomfort / saddle sores; upper back, shoulder, neck pain / discomfort; numb / painful hands, and lower back pain and discomfort. (See links to individual articles below.) Today we'll focus on hot / painful feet. And, as with the other cycling maladies, we'll devote some time to discussing how you can avoid it.

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Aches and Pains III: Why Does My Hand Get Numb, or Hurt?

In the RBR reader survey a few weeks ago, painful or numb hands was the third most frequent problem cited – afflicting 16% of you as your main physical issue on the bike. (While it may not be main issue for most of us, hand pain or, especially, numbness, happens to almost all of us from time to time.) I have a client, Sam, who had completed a series of brevets (200 km / 125 miles, 300 km / 187 miles, 400 km / 250 miles and 600 km / 375 miles). He developed numbness, also known as cyclist’s palsy, and actually damaged his nerves (neuropathy).

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Cycling Aches & Pains, Part 1: A Pain in the Butt

I went to the ER at Mercy Medical in Durango, Colorado, less than 1,000 miles into the 1996 Race Across AMerica. They peeled down my shorts, looked at my butt and said, “Your race is over. You have second-degree burns on your buttocks.” A second-degree burn is through the epidermis and into the dermis, the thick layer of tissue that forms the true skin. I didn’t care what second-degree meant, all I knew was that it hurt like hell!

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How to Deal With Numb or Tingly Fingers

Cycling makes your hands buzz like a beehive or, worse, it puts your fingers to sleep. Hand discomfort is usually caused by improper bike fit. But poor riding technique also plays a role. Gripping the bar in one position for long periods is a sure way to make hands and fingers feel like an electrical current is running through them.

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How Can I Make ‘Trigger’ Thumb Less Painful When Riding?

I have pain in the base of my thumb and “trigger” thumb that has required steroid injections over the past two years. I have been told that cycling and holding the bars can aggravate this and that it’s a recognized cycling injury. I ride about 4,000 miles a year. I also cross country ski, and gripping the poles can be aggravating as well. I have carbon fiber handlebars and use Fizi’k gel under Fizi’k’s thickest bar tape. Is there anything else I could do to help prevent this from recurring?

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How to Deal with ‘Hot Foot’

You’re on a long ride or tour. After several hours on the bike, your feet start feeling hot and uncomfortable. This isn’t the first time. Standing on hills makes it worse. You start looking for a roadside stream in which to douse your sizzling dogs. I developed a bad case of hot foot on a transcontinental PAC Tour, which covered 3,400 miles in 24 days. During the final week, my feet felt like some fiery-eyed devil was attacking with a blowtorch on every pedal stroke.

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What Caused This Horrible Swelling?

I got a narrower saddle for my Colnago and positioned it higher to try for a bit of extra power. I noticed significant crotch discomfort, but kept riding in the hope I'd get used to it. Then I developed a swelling half the size of a tennis ball -- a large and uncomfortable object to carry between one's legs! It was diagnosed as a perineal hematoma and I'm off the bike until it goes away. What happened? How can I keep it from recurring?

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How Can I Cure a Rash in My Shorts?

Warning — graphic material to follow! When I ride farther than normal or sweat a lot, I get what I refer to as "diaper rash" or "swamp butt." I think my sweat channels down the butt crack and pools near the bottom, causing the rash. I have tried A&D ointment and Bag Balm (both before and after rides) with no luck. Any ideas?

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How Can I Toughen My Crotch?

I'm having serious saddle soreness as I build my mileage toward a double century. I bought new bib shorts that might be too large, so maybe they're contributing. I use a chamois cream on my shorts, but it only lasts about an hour. Then, yikes! It seems like my skin simply isn't tough enough. Any advice? 

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