Toe Pointing

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silentC
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Toe Pointing

Postby silentC » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:43 pm

This is something I am guilty of. Someone commented on it the other day. I tend to point my toes down when pedalling. My right ankle is stuffed and I haven't much dorsiflexion in either ankle but the right one is worst. Whether I'm in or out of the saddle, my toes point towards the ground throughout the stroke.

I've been led to believe I should try to improve this. It's one of those things that if I concentrate on dropping my heels, I go OK for awhile but then the old habit comes back. It also feels a bit strange to me, like I can't put the power on as much. This may be due to my cleat position, which is further back than normal. Because I am duck-footed, I find I need my feet quite far forward else my heels clip the chain stays.

Are there any toe pointers out there and do you think it's worth making an effort to correct it?
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Velt » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:51 pm

I toe point. Mentioned it to my physio during a bike fit and he said it wasn't really something they worry about. I too try to correct it but it comes back eventually as well.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Dr_Mutley » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:01 pm

It's only worth consciously correcting if it provides u with either more power, or more comfort.... otherwise do t worry.... excessive heel in however is something to think about correcting... *often*, excessive heel in will lead to excessive torsional stresses on ankles, knees, hips and lower back.... if, however, your knees aren't tracking away from the midline with such excessive heel in, again, don't worry about it...

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby silentC » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:34 pm

I did go for a bike fit a few years ago and he wanted me to drop my heels to get the top of stroke knee angle within tolerances. I think that was more to do with textbook learning than anything else.

I have a bit more heel in on the right due to a smashed calceneus. Lack of movement in the ankle means I roll my instep in when I walk and over years that has caused a bit of deflection of that foot. I've got things set up fairly straight, but the combination of the shape of the frame and the length of my shoe means even a bit of heel in causes occasional contact with the chain stay, so I effectively shortened my foot with a rearward cleat position.

All in all it's not too bad comfort-wise, allowing for old joints. It was just one of those things, couple of guys riding behind me and commenting on it. So I thought OK maybe I should look at it.
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby BugsBunny » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:06 pm

I'm flat footed for the majority of my riding, and sometimes heel down when climbing to shift muscle groups but I never toe down. It just doesn't feel right and wasn't recommended me by bike fitter. I think the heel down style is a can of worms though as some folks don't agree with it.

As a yoga practioner, I recommend you do a stretch called "downward dog". This gives your ankles a nice stretch along with the calf and ham strings and lower back. It might help with your ankle stiffness.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby silentC » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:12 pm

Thanks will give it go. I've been doing something similar that the physio showed me where you put you toe a couple of inches out from the wall and push your knee in to touch the wall. Then move you foot a little further away and go again. Seems to help a bit. Also apparently working on the tendons in the bottom of the foot can help so I have been rolling my foot on a tennis ball. Surprising how much that hurts!

Yeah I think I mean flatfooted as opposed to heel down - more so as your sole is parallel to the ground or thereabouts rather than heel lower than the pedal. Depending on how tight my ankle is, I find myself really pointing the toe sometimes. Come to think of it, sometimes after a lot of riding my middle toes get very sore at the ends and this might be the reason for it - I thought it was tight shoes.
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby K2 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:55 pm

silentC wrote:Are there any toe pointers out there and do you think it's worth making an effort to correct it?


How odd. Last month someone who occassionally does a few laps with me mentioned that he'd noticed that I ride with my toes down too.

It's not something I'm gonna worry about. Too old to change and it's worked for me so far. It did cause me to think at the time that it might have something to do with being someone who runs [or at least used to] on the balls of my feet where most folk seem to make contact with their heels first doing middle to long distance. I did try changing that when I was much younger and first noticed the difference, but just couldn't do it. Heel first felt like I was trying to destroy my own legs and back.

Not using cleats though...just sneakers and rat traps.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Duck! » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:27 pm

Dr_Mutley wrote:....excessive heel in however is something to think about correcting... *often*, excessive heel in will lead to excessive torsional stresses on ankles, knees, hips and lower back.... if, however, your knees aren't tracking away from the midline with such excessive heel in, again, don't worry about it...

Very dependent on the rider's natural leg alignment. If the natural posture is heels-in, then set the cleat position to suit it. Forcing the feet into an unnaturally straight position will cause the issues you speak of too.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby rodneycc » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:44 pm

I'm a toe pointer. Haven't always been but as I get older it seems to have happened.

I'm in the same boat with bad ankles and knees (and not great feet in general). A bit of arthritis everywhere in those joints I suspect as well.

What is more annoying is that I had a beautiful circular pedal stroke, pedalling all the way around and pulling up the back of the stroke. It was more evident in gym spin cycle classes years ago when I concentrated on that sort of thing more. But nowdays I just seem to be pedalling more down and up and not really sure why?? Also I would say there has been a general decline in my performance from age 41-42 to age 47 nearly 48 as I am now. It can be frustrating thinking I might not be able to hit some of those earlier PBs again.
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Duck! » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:58 am

That old chestnut Rod, "the older I get, the better I was". :-P
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Duck! » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:09 am

The only real issue I can see with excessive toe-pointing is the prolonged calf contraction may result in a shortening of the muscle and achilles tendon, exposing them to greater risk of injury, particularly during other activities where greater ankle flex is required.

A routine of regular calf & achilles stretching should alleviate the risk of injury.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Kev365428 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:37 am

rodneycc wrote:Also I would say there has been a general decline in my performance from age 41-42 to age 47 nearly 48 as I am now. It can be frustrating thinking I might not be able to hit some of those earlier PBs again.


Wait until you get to 52, performance drop off is like descending Mount Panorama (well, at least it is for me).
Funnily enough, my care factor almost matches it. :lol:

To the OP,
I've been toe down for as long as I can remember. When I tend to notice it, I try to correct it by pushing the heel down on the down stroke and lifting it on the up, all while trying to maintain the circular pedaling style, then my brain claps out and it's back to toe down.
I also find that if my knees are giving me grief, concentrating on pushing the heel down for 10 minutes or so tends to relieve the pain and allows me to continue on.

Kev.

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:40 am

Personally I wouldn't be too concerned with the toe pointing. The first thing is to fix your ankle or as close as you can get it and you've had advice on how to address that off the bike, After that you can review and refine your cycling.

Another thing to be careful of is that the injury isn't causing adjustments to how you are using your knees, pelvis/hips. To self assess this you can get someone to video you on a stationary bike with different loads, cadences and even standing. If you suspect there is an unwanted adaption happening then get it checked out by an expert. At the end of a day you don't want that ankle to cause issues elsewhere
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby silentC » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:10 am

Good suggestions, thanks all. I do check my knee tracking every so often when on the bike. The physio reckons I don't have any reason to be duck footed - ie it's not skeletal, it's muscle weakness and joint flexibility so something I can work on.

I went to the physio with a sore knee last year and he pretty much traced it to the ankle, so on the money there. The knee has been OK since. Don't ya hate getting old?
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby rodneycc » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:37 pm

Duck! wrote:That old chestnut Rod, "the older I get, the better I was". :-P


HaHa Duck, Yeah you are prob right there mate :-)

Kev365428 wrote:Wait until you get to 52, performance drop off is like descending Mount Panorama (well, at least it is for me).
Funnily enough, my care factor almost matches it. :lol:


Great, something to look forward to Kev. At this rate I'll be pushing the bike up the hills at 52. :-)

Actually thinking back to those gym spin classes the bikes had the cranks right underneath you not really like a road bike at all where you sit further back so on the spin bike the scrape down the bottom of the stroke and pull back on the up stroke was a lot easier to achieve. Definitely think the more kms the better pedaling/pedal stroke becomes. Coming out of winter only riding maybe once a week for a number of weeks it will be at it worst at the moment.
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby silentC » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:18 pm

What I wouldn't give to be 52 again! (I'm 52 and 3 months :))
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:02 pm

52... that's over 30


Back on topic (kind of). Its a matter of being the best of yourself and injury management is part of that, in particular as you age. There are those who get an injury and then simply sit in front of the TV aging rapidly and there are those who work with their injuries minimising their impact and changing what they do to maintain their fitness and quality of life.

rodneycc, on the indoor spin bikes I use, I set the seat offset the same as my road/track bikes
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby eeksll » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:52 pm

Good point regarding the spin bikes. I go to one of those franchise gyms and they have different spin bikes at all the different locations.

Some there is no way to push it forward enough to match my road bike.
Some have what feel like 200mm long cranks
Some have infinite adjustment seat height others have like 20mm steps
Saddles in all sorts of weird shapes and pointed in all directions . ...

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby mikesbytes » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:24 pm

eeksll wrote:Good point regarding the spin bikes. I go to one of those franchise gyms and they have different spin bikes at all the different locations.

Some there is no way to push it forward enough to match my road bike.
Some have what feel like 200mm long cranks
Some have infinite adjustment seat height others have like 20mm steps
Saddles in all sorts of weird shapes and pointed in all directions . ...
Are you talking the bikes in the general fitness area or the bikes used for a spin class? BTW which gym franchise?
If the R-1 rule is broken, what happens to N+1?

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby eeksll » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:29 pm

mikesbytes wrote:
eeksll wrote:Good point regarding the spin bikes. I go to one of those franchise gyms and they have different spin bikes at all the different locations.

Some there is no way to push it forward enough to match my road bike.
Some have what feel like 200mm long cranks
Some have infinite adjustment seat height others have like 20mm steps
Saddles in all sorts of weird shapes and pointed in all directions . ...
Are you talking the bikes in the general fitness area or the bikes used for a spin class? BTW which gym franchise?


I mean the ones in the RPM class, good life health clubs, I can't even ride the ones in the general fitness area anymore :?

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:32 pm

If you form bad habits and don't correct them, they stay with you, so work on flattening your stroke out a bit. It won't become second nature over night but it will come to you. :idea:

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:25 pm

Just do some riding on a low gear inch fixed gear. It's really does work to smooth out your spin. Going down hill at 180 rpm really forces you to sort out your pedal stroke if you want the bike to stay straight.
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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby Ross » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:32 pm

Kev365428 wrote:
rodneycc wrote:Also I would say there has been a general decline in my performance from age 41-42 to age 47 nearly 48 as I am now. It can be frustrating thinking I might not be able to hit some of those earlier PBs again.


Wait until you get to 52, performance drop off is like descending Mount Panorama (well, at least it is for me).
Funnily enough, my care factor almost matches it. :lol:


All in your head - 103 year old cyclist trains and beats his personal best.

This study shows, for the first time, that maximal oxygen consumption (+13%) and performance (+11%) can still be increased between 101 and 103 yr old with 2 yr of training and that a centenarian is able, at 103 yr old, to cover 26.9 km/h in 1 h.


http://jap.physiology.org/content/122/3/430?etoc=

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby mikesbytes » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:17 pm

eeksll wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:
eeksll wrote:Good point regarding the spin bikes. I go to one of those franchise gyms and they have different spin bikes at all the different locations.

Some there is no way to push it forward enough to match my road bike.
Some have what feel like 200mm long cranks
Some have infinite adjustment seat height others have like 20mm steps
Saddles in all sorts of weird shapes and pointed in all directions . ...
Are you talking the bikes in the general fitness area or the bikes used for a spin class? BTW which gym franchise?


I mean the ones in the RPM class, good life health clubs, I can't even ride the ones in the general fitness area anymore :?

The 2 Goodlife health clubs (Sydney CBD) I have been at had different brand bikes, as per your comment but both were adjustable to the desired position. I'm guessing that the ones you have been to have made poorer purchasing decisions
If the R-1 rule is broken, what happens to N+1?

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Re: Toe Pointing

Postby human909 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:48 am

mikesbytes wrote:Personally I wouldn't be too concerned with the toe pointing. The first thing is to fix your ankle or as close as you can get it and you've had advice on how to address that off the bike, After that you can review and refine your cycling.

Another thing to be careful of is that the injury isn't causing adjustments to how you are using your knees, pelvis/hips. To self assess this you can get someone to video you on a stationary bike with different loads, cadences and even standing. If you suspect there is an unwanted adaption happening then get it checked out by an expert. At the end of a day you don't want that ankle to cause issues elsewhere


I agree with this.

Like all sports there is no single one correct technique. On the other hand the orthodox technique is usually like that for a reason. A different technique is fine, but you don't want to be doing yourself damage.

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