Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Riding with Neuropathy
  • elnevera
    Full Member

    Hi all,

    As I get ready to get back on my bike after a few years off of it, I am now wondering if I need to do anything in particular as I have quite severe neuropathy (Long term Diabetes complication) meaning I have almost no feeling in my right foot and a loss of sensation in my left.
    I used to ride with flats that would shred my legs if my feet slipped. I need to try and avoid those types of injuries going forward.

    Anyone here ride with neuropathy and of so, how are you managing?

    Would clipless be a good move?

    I like flowy trails and the odd red, hoping to learn how to do some small jumps etc

    Cheers!

    shermer75
    Free Member

    Yep, clipless would be good to avoid breaking the skin. Might help with the lack of sensory feedback too. Have you ridden clipless before? Be prepared for a few awkward moments when you try to put your foot down while still clipped in, if not! It’s the same for everyone though, neuropathy or not

    onegearnoidea
    Free Member

    Hey elnevera, I suffer from very similar symptoms as you describe. In my case from a tethered spinal cord defect that wore away at the nerves which means post surgery I have a very slight ability to feel pressure in my right foot but if you stuck a pin in I genuinely wouldn’t know and it’s essentially completely numb, the outside of my left foot is the same.

    Clips for me are an essential, on flats I wouldn’t know if I were centred on the pedal surface or just hanging on by the tiniest piece of contact. I also find my foot proprioception impacted, where your body perceives where your limbs are, so if jumping I would have no hope of finding a pedal by feel if I lost it midair. Cue engaging the face brake.

    On a more positive note, I’m 6 years post surgery and still ride both the mtb and gravel bike here in the Tweed Valley so while you may need to adapt a little it’s 100% possible to enjoy riding with this sort of issue. Best of luck!

    elnevera
    Full Member

    @shermer75 I’ve never ridden clipless, don’t even know where to start but it does feel like the safer option. Should be fun learning though!


    @onegearnoidea
    that sounds very familiar, I know what you mean by the pin. I had some surgery on my right foot which was done under local (removal of half my 5th Met and little toe) and they warned me how painful the pain blocker injections would be in my ankle and then realised how little I feel when I didn’t flinch when the big old needle went in! Something I need to learn to live with but I am really hoping I can still ride. How long did it take you to adapt?

    General question but are any particular clipless standards better/easy to learn then others?

    Cheers!

    onegearnoidea
    Free Member

    I prefer something with a definite engagement so I absolutely know I’m clipped in and being held securely. So something like Shimano instead of Crank Brothers, the latter have a lot more lateral float which meant it felt like I was about to unclip by accident.

    The biggest challenge for me was locating the shoe in the right place to clip into the pedal. This isn’t easy when starting out anyway but less so when you can’t feel it, so it probably takes a bit more practice to get it right. Just find a soft area of grass to practice on and dial the strength of the spring mechanism all the way out, it’s one of those things that makes you feel like a complete idiot until you get it sorted, which you 100% will. The other thing i have to watch is limited strength in my ankles so drops over about a foot aren’t a great idea for me, just means I need to look well down any unfamiliar trails.

    The lack of pain thing I can empathise with, I tripped over a dog bed the other day and basically folded my big toe under my foot and heard a crack. Went black and I had to go and get an x-ray just in case it was broken, at A&E they couldn’t do any of the usual assessments because it just didn’t hurt. Fortunately not broken.

    elnevera
    Full Member

    @onegearnoidea thanks very much for the info, I have added wide fitting Spd shoes and pedals to my growing shopping list!
    Cheers!

    oldnick
    Full Member

    Just a general point re clipless, push your foot down as you unclip, it’s not that you need to push down, but it stops you (trying – unsuccessfully) to pull up and unclip which the pedal won’t do.

    “Down and out” not “up and (fall) <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>over”!</span>

    elnevera
    Full Member

    @oldnick thanks for the tip, I will use it from the first time trying it.
    I need to find some wide fitting shoes as the next job!

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    I prefer something with a definite engagement so I absolutely know I’m clipped in and being held securely. So something like Shimano instead of Crank Brothers, the latter have a lot more lateral float which meant it felt like I was about to unclip by accident.

    The biggest challenge for me was locating the shoe in the right place to clip into the pedal. This isn’t easy when starting out anyway but less so when you can’t feel it,

    Conversely, it’s a lot easier to engage into a Crank Bros pedal than a Shimano as there’s no need to “toe-and-heel”, you can just mash down on them.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    I used to ride with flats that would shred my legs if my feet slipped. I need to try and avoid those types of injuries going forward.

    Much as it’s painful (if you don’t have neuropathy) it’s not IMHO a reason by itself to move to clips.
    I ride clipped in on my HT so I can pedal over gnarly stuff but the negative is that then crashes tend to be way more serious than riding flats. A few scratches vs a broken back or femur seems like a pretty good trade to me.

    Anyone here ride with neuropathy and of so, how are you managing?

    Longest pins and stickiest shoes… reduces the chance of slipping…when inevitably you do an old toothbrush and shower mainly to clean out any dirt…then spray some disinfectant or other… just clean it out so you don’t get an infection. Bigger ones I just tape the skin back over with steristrips / superglue

    martymac
    Full Member

    If you have a turbo, spending a few hours practicing on that with clipless would be worth doing.
    But, inevitably, you’re gonna have one where you pull, like 3 times, then remember to twist. By that point you’ll be about 25 degrees from touching the ground.
    Go ahead, ask me how I know . .
    Most people only do it once though.
    If you don’t have a turbo, could you borrow one off a mate?
    Or go to a spin class and ask if you can use your own pedals?
    Anyway, i have wide feet, i use wide fit shimano boots, and scott shoes.
    Spd pedals for me, they’re all I’ve ever used, since spd came out.
    I’d go one model up from the cheapest ones, they’re only a few quid more, but a bit lighter.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    I’d also recommend learning on shimano dual flat/spd like the m324. It’s quite a comfort unclipping and riding on the flat side until you get more confident when you hit more challenging part. Ive never destroyed M324 bearings and they are a cheap place to start. They are neutral in rotation so wont always be spd side up.

    elnevera
    Full Member

    @martymac I have a spinner, have already bought some spd pedals for it.
    Looking at the Northwave Escape EVO MTB Shoes Shoe link


    @stevextc
    that’s hardcore! I’ve been having issues with repeat infections in my feet and specifically the bones. To the point where I had my 5th met and little toe removed because even IV antibiotics were not shifting it. Been told to minimise any risk of skin tears etc you are right though, broken bones would be worse…

    stevextc
    Free Member

    @elnevera

    I tend towards thinking that increasing the chance of a major injury is more “hardcore”. I come off a fair amount and the thought of not being able to unclip really messes with my head.

    You can see plenty of proper hardcore pro riders who can’t unclip all the time and have pretty scary injuries yet have the cohones to come out of rehab and clip in again next qualifying…. And that’s not just dedicated clipped people who don’t ride flats .. look at Tahnee or Jono (top of my head) both of whom regularly wear flats for jumps and know how to bail
    both had pretty major injuries as a direct result of clips

    You can literally browse the instagram of most DH and enduro riders and see crashes where they have been unable to unclip before they landed (Jonos salmon at hardline being somewhere he got away with it) or Rees Wilson bringing a whole new meaning to the flying Scotsman unable to unclip

    The other thing is regardless of the pedals my shins and calves tend to get ripped up a bit by brambles and stuff anyway.. I just don’t really feel it happen and then later discover my sock has changed colour.

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