A Classic Example Of Nociceptive Foot Pain (NLFP) Originating In The Hips

Nociceptive Lateral Foot Pain (NLFP) During 70-Mile Bike Ride

nociceptive foot pain

Red = Zone of sharp burning pain at about 60 miles into a 70-mile bike ride.

The body contains specialized nerve cells called nociceptors that detect noxious stimuli or things that could damage the body, such as extreme heat or cold, pressure, pinching, and chemicals. These warning signals are then passed along the nervous system to the brain, resulting in nociceptive pain.

nociceptive foot pain

Muscle groups available on the bike, with clip-in pedals. Click image to go to the source article, at MTB Strength Training Systems.

Danielle Dresden (2017)

Cruising along on the bike on a lovely cool day in North Carolina, USA. I’m ramping up my training for the Cozumel Ironman, so this is the tough bit. Getting back to my base level of conditioning – it puts a bit of a strain on your body.

At about 60 miles, I get a sharp burning pain along the lateral margin of the sole of my right foot. This is not a region of the foot that has a major load on a bike, IF you fasten your shoes correctly AND you have a healthy spin, engaging all muscle groups. In fact, if you ‘mash’ down on your foot, you will strain the ball not the lateral margin. The pain is not so sharp as that in area one, which people incorrectly diagnose as plantar fasciitis.

Nociceptive foot pain has unique characteristics in each of the regions in the map at the top of this post. Beware, that red line, area 8. Felt it once, and that is when your plantar fascia is about to rip. That’s what happened to Anne, who tore both feet at once (that story is in the book, linked below).

Know your body, listen to your pain.

I listened, and then:

Should I:

  • Get off my bike to rest my foot?
  • Roll my foot on my water bottle?
  • Rush to the doctor for a cortisone injection into the site of the pain?
  • Take some Oxycontin?
  • Get off my bike and call for a ride home?

nociceptive foot painNO!

DIAGNOSIS: I know exactly where the problem lies, as is described in some detail in the latest book, “Plantar Fasciitis Has The Wrong Name.” It’s another case of nociceptive foot pain. My sophisticated neurostimulator equipment (coat hanger) indicated that the problem is due to straining my right hips, in the region of pyriformis and lateral gluts, both superficially and deep.

SOLUTION: Ease off on the bike, and try to shift load elsewhere. When I get home, lots of hip stretches, especially the weird side-ways push hip stretch, shown in this short video:

That’s what I did. Boy were those right hip muscles complaining.

The nociceptive foot pain in zone 4 vanished within minutes of my starting that stretch routine. Furthermore, it sure felt great to get my butt off that bike. Sometimes, butt toughening is the hardest part of distance cycling.

Wishing you happy feet and wise treatment choices,

kev aka FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.