Stationary bikes provide an effective cardiovascular workout that burns calories without the joint pain many other forms of exercise can bring. It is quite common for people to experience tingling or numbness in their feet while using a stationary bike. This is not pain you need to put up with. It can happen for several reasons, but you can investigate why it is happening and take action to prevent it.
Tingling in your feet can feel as if they have “fallen asleep” and can lead to them becoming numb or to a burning sensation. It can be triggered by a lack of blood supply to your feet or by constriction of the nerves. Your feet are the furthest part of the body from the heart, and as you cycle on the stationary bike, you increase your requirement for blood and oxygen circulation. If your feet are not getting enough blood or oxygen, for any reason, you will experience foot tingling.
Foot tingling can be caused by something as simple as having shoe laces too tight. Pressure from the balls of the toes on the bike pedals can cause impingement of small nerves between the toes. Other causes include electrolyte imbalance or a vitamin deficiency. Tingling can also be caused by more serious medical conditions like multiple sclerosis or Raynaud's phenomenon. If you also experience leg pain, it can indicate acute compartment syndrome.
Check if footwear is the problem. Loosen the toe straps on the pedals. Also, loosen your shoelaces or try wearing wider shoes. Foot tingling should be treated with rest and icing if it persists. If tingling is caused by overuse injuries or inflammation, both rest and icing your foot will help. Use an orthotic device such as an insole to reduce nerve pressure. Choose one with a semi-rigid arch support that matches your foot. Allow your toes plenty of room in your shoes to avoid compressing any nerves.
Make sure your footwear fits properly and allows room for your feet to swell. Look at the height and width of your feet, not just the length. Feet with high arches need taller shoes. Check the bike is fitted correctly. The pressure you feel when sitting should be mainly on the sit bones and not the crotch area. If there is more pressure in the crotch region then lower the saddle. When the foot and pedal are at full extension there should be a small amount of bend in the knee.
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