Question: My ankles hurt after rides, but I don’t know if it’s due to my pedaling form, lack of stretching or a bike-fit issue. I’ve even thought it could be caused by my Shimano shoe/Look pedal combination. Any ideas? — Jeffrey S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Cycling can hurt ankles in several places. The pain might be in the front on the tendons that run from the top of your foot to your shin. Or it could be on the tendon that runs along the outer side of your shin to the ankle’s protruding bony bump.
In the first case, the cause is usually a saddle that’s too high. This causes you to reach with your foot at the bottom of each pedal stroke, which stretches the tendons too much.
In the second case, it’s usually due to incorrect lateral placement of your cleats, making your feet too toed-in or too toed-out as you pedal.
I doubt if it’s an inherent problem with Look pedals or Shimano shoes. Plenty of riders use both without problems. Concentrate instead on the fit issues.
Also consider your pedaling mechanics and/or gear selection. A slow cadence in a large gear puts undue stress on your tendons. Select gears that let you keep your cadence around 90 rpm even on climbs and see if that makes a difference.
Don’t let persistent ankle pain (or any other pain that crops up when riding) go unremedied. By allowing pain to become chronic, it may take months or years to cure.