Is Your Foot Position Hurting You?

Something I get asked a lot when it comes to foot position and pedal stroke is why do I care so much?

I mean, am I just some ego maniac that needs the world to see everything like I do?

Well, while that may be the case with some things, it isn’t what drives my passion about this subject.

No, what gets me fired up is that people get hurt based on the bad advice they are getting.

One of the biggest culprits for hurting people is the advice to be on the ball of your foot. On a normal pedal this results in all your weight being on the ball of the foot with no support under the back of the arch, leaving you heel hanging in space.

When you do this, it has several negative consequences on the body…

1 – Driving through the ball of the foot places extra shearing force on the knees. As noted in this blog post from regenerative medicine specialist Chris Centano, this makes no sense from a biomechanical standpoint and results in knee pain and joint damage.

2 – Having no support under the back of the arch places extra stress on the calf, ankle joint and plantar fascia. As noted in this interview with Dr. Marty and Robyn Hughes, this unnatural position creates a lot of stiffness in these sensitive areas. This results in foot pain, plantar fasciitis and other lower leg and foot problems.

3 – Without the ability to apply pressure through the heel you make it harder to recruit your hips. When you can’t recruit the hips then you put extra stress on the low back, resulting in stiffness and pain in that area as well.

Add it up and you get sore feet, hurting knees and a stiff, sore lower back.

Sound familiar? They are by far the most common complaints among riders and most of us have dealt with one or more of these cycling related issues.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When you fix your foot position and the support under it you alleviate a lot of these issues, resulting in less pain and more fun from your rides.

Again, this isn’t to argue whether this foot position improves performance (which is does) or if it improves your balance and agility on the bike (which it also does), this is about what foot position leads to the least amount of pain and suffering in riders.

“I am a veteran motocross racer and recently got back on the bicycles. I immediately noticed the big difference between the two, without mx boots, knee braces and suspension, the bicycle with traditional flats was causing me problems afterwards with ball of foot, ankle and even knees.

All those problems have been eliminated with your pedals. Thanks for innovating…I believe in your concept that you get more power, but I think an equally huge advantage is when absorbing the impact of landing from jumps.”  – Carl Zipfel

And when you look at the facts you see that the traditional advice and pedals has led to an epidemic of riders who think that their pain is just part of the game.

So that’s why I care so much.

No one deserves to get hurt based on bad, outdated advice and poorly designed equipment…but that isn’t the general attitude in the cycling industry that cares more about the status quo and making money than what is really best for the sports it encompasses.

So, if you’re tired of putting up with foot, ankle, knee and low back pain because your pedals suck and your foot position is sub-optimal as a result then check out the facts at

The truth will set your feet and your riding free.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations/ MTB Strength Training Systems

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