Last month we introduced you to the first part of our cycling mobility series, focusing mainly on the effect posture has on cycling efficiency. In this second part of our series, we focus on the foot-to-pedal interface and how it can directly influence both pedal stroke and lower limb efficiency.
While some may recognize the difference that a clipless pedal system can have on power output, the importance of appropriate cleat placement is not as widely recognized.
When a well-trained physical therapist performs your bike fit they can evaluate a number of factors which contribute to your optimal cleat position. This will include your stance width, toe out/in stance, arch integrity, and forefoot varus. More often than not, our cycling specialists see clients presenting to the clinic saying, "I just tried to put my cleats straight on my shoes," or "someone else put them on for me in this position”. And here is what we find...
If you are routinely cycling with a clipless pedal system in an alignment that does not match your individual body, you may be at risk of developing tendinopathies or other overuse conditions common to cycling. Considering a casually paced 50 mile ride can result in over 15,000 pedal strokes, we better make sure to get your position right!
When you receive a bike fit from one of the KOR's Clinical Bike Fit Specialists, we utilize a variety of methods to get your cleat and pedal interface dialed in just for you. One tool you will encounter in our treatment measures the angle of your forefoot and supports the use of cleat wedging to maximize your up and down pedal stroke efficiency. Here we see the effects on the knee with an unaccommodated forefoot varus (which most humans exhibit).
When indicated, your therapist will utilize the shoe or under the cleat wedges to improve lower limb alignment and allow for greater force transfer directly to the drive train. Not only can this result in greater power, but it can also contribute to a reduction of injury risk and pain.
Come to the KOR physical therapy today to evaluate your bike fit, skeletal structure, and general mobility for cycling.
Jason Whittington, PT, DPT is an avid cyclist and physical therapist at the KOR Tigard location. He has been performing bike fits since 2011 and is an Advanced Clinical Bike Fitter through BikeFit LLC. If you are interested in scheduling a bike fit or a bike fit with mobility/strength package please contact the KOR at 503-937-0090 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Isaac Cowart, PT, DPT performes bike fits at the KOR Hillsboro location. He too is a Clinical Bike Fitter through BikeFit LLC. Sign up for your professional bike fitting at KOR Hillsboro today! Call our patient care coordinators at 503.395.3000 or e-mail Isaac.email@example.com for more information.