Calf tightness/pain after pedal switch

In September I switched from the Powertap P1 pedals that I had been using for 3-4 years to a pair of favero assiomas. Very quickly I started getting a lot of calf tightness in my right calf (only the right one). This wasn’t too much of a surprise as the stack height of the new pedals is about 4mm lower. So I lowered the saddle. This helped but didn’t fix the issue. I started doing ever ride with a compression sleeve on my right calf. This helped too. I put a different insole into my right shoe. It was still tight, but the combination of the lower saddle and the sleeve and the insole made it feel almost normal and I was able to finish out my season (mid-December). I hoped that my off season break would allow my calf to relax a bit and all would be good when I started riding again.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen. It’s worse now than it was in November/December. It’s not pain per se, I just feel like I have my calf tensed all the time. I feel like I want to drop my heel but can’t do it. I recently lowered the saddle another couple of mm just to be sure but that didn’t help. I feel like I want to slam my cleat all the way forward so I can drop my heel a bit better, but I’m afraid that will cause other issues. I think one reason I’m struggling with major changes is that I don’t feel like a minor change such as new pedals should necessitate a major change in bike fit.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, I’m kind of at the end of my rope. I had a professional fit on this bike several years ago and the only change since then was the pedals. I know the answer is to get another fit, but there’s no opportunities for that right now in my area; there aren’t any nearby fitters and all the shops are closed to in-person shopping.


1 Like

I’m guessing it’s more clear position than anything. I would look to move it backwards more. Foward generally is a bad idea - more strain and knee issues.

But yeah get a bike fit. :slight_smile:

Thank you. Is it surprising that something simple like a new pedal would require something more major like moving a cleat? Or am I making that up?

You’d be surprised.

When I replace my cleats - just the cleats. I’m not even talking about changing pedals - I take a marker and draw a circle around my cleats and install the new ones.

You’d think they are perfect, but nope. Once I hope back on the trainer if it’s a little off I can feel it and it messes with you as you need to engage other muscles with the “new” position.

Happens every time I switch my cleats out. I generally have to fiddle with it once or twice before I get it dialed.

1 Like

I was also suffering from calf tightness, and what l started using a vibrating massage ball at the highest setting every night before bed on my calves. That loosened things up for me, and the calf tightness hasn’t come back. But I’m continuing to use the massage ball every night as a preventative measure.

1 Like

I had the same situation. Same pedals swap - P1 to Assomas. My fitter moved the cleat (if I remember distance correctly) 1 mm or so in order to bring my foot closer to the bike. Took him about 10 minutes to find the issue. It was not, in my case, a forward backward cleat movement issue. Once he did that, perfect! :slight_smile: Amazing what 1mm did.

Might want to go back to the original position and readjust. Hopefully, you will find the right position.

1 Like

Thanks. Both feet or just one?

He adjusted both. I have the Duo. You will have to individualize for your case. Did you use the spacer on installation? If so, you might have to take that into account also.

I second the other suggestion, that personally I’d move the cleat backwards not forwards, as having a cleat more towards the toes tends to increase stress on the calf which would contribute to tightness, since you are pushing down with a longer effective foot lever length, where moving it back shortens it.

Triathletes that want to save their calves for the run have even drilled shoes to get the cleats more back in the shoe.

Those fancy nike carbon plate shoes? Thanks to the stiff carbon sole and lots of cushion, it’s increased the effective lever length in a similar way to moving the cleat forward, and what are some top athletes experiencing when they start to do a bunch of work in them?

Calf issues.

Your mileage may vary, but that’s one take on it.

1 Like

Thanks everyone for your help on this. I moved my cleat back and in (toward the bike) last week and it was definitely better. I did five or six rides on it and my calf was so happy. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot better. I started getting a little pain/soreness on the same side (right) in my hip flexor area. Last night I moved the cleat further back (it’s slammed back now) and centered it. Riding today felt weird at first but now several hours later my calf feels great. However my hip is more sore. I’m thinking that’s either just a reaction to the new position and it will sort itself out in a few days, or the fact that my cleats are now in different positions is affecting it (I haven’t changed my left cleat, so it’s now several mm in front of my right cleat). Anyone have any thoughts on that? Should cleats generally be the same on both sides?

Thanks all.