Should feet pronate or not pronate during cycling?

I’ve been unable to cycle properly now for a few years due to excessive pain in my ankles and my tibialis muscles, even at just 100 watts.
My weight lifting coach observed that I always have solid foot arches and don’t have much ability to pronate. He was curious if during the pedal stroke maintaining a constant arch, which I do, even without inserts, could be part of the problem.
I thought I would come here to see what you guys think?
Another theory I had was that I have anterior compartment syndrome in both tibialis muscles. I have no way of being able to test this though to know for sure.

Cheers guys in advance for any comments or suggestions :slight_smile:

Just like in running your feet should do what they do. If you have pain go see a proper specialist doctor.


My fitter showed me how my feet angle differently during the pedal stroke, including when you pedal hard or stand and pedal. That’s one reason why float is so important.

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Unfortunately, I live in a country with a government run ‘healthcare’ system, so basically a monopoly with no private health providers who can offer what I need. I did try a doctor but was told straight that they don’t have the equipment to test for anterior compartment syndrome and they wouldn’t perform the fasciotomy either. So I’m on my own.

You might consider moving your cleats way back to take as much ankle motion as possible out of the pedal stroke.



Sit on a table or something high so that your feet can dangle freely in the air. Move your knees so they are a shoulders width apart - look forward and totally relax your feet.

Then look down and see which way they are pointing - thats what they should look like on your pedals.

While I’d generally agree with “let your feet do what they want to”, I don’t think you need to have much ankle movement when cycling. It is, for example, totally possible to cycle in heavy boots, even though it feels a bit weird. I’d try experimenting a bit with different shoes on flat pedals, maybe there’s a combination that works?

Also with regards to seeing a doctor - I’d rather try a physio. At least in the UK, they are easily accessible for private treatment (much easier than via the NHS), and will probably also have more experience with identifying movement issues than an average GP.

I’m not a specialist but I have the same thing of very high arches and not much ankle flexibility. Caused me no end of problems in swimming (very ineffective kick!) and with running injuries. Not been a particular problem in cycling but I do have moulded footbeds to support the arches, quite a bit of pedal float (Speedplays), and I’m quite sensitive to saddle height and crank length. Think because my ankle angle doesn’t change much through the pedal stroke (unlike those old diagrams telling you to pull your toes up through the top of the stroke) that shorter cranks give me a bit more leeway at the top of the stroke.

I have freakishly high arches and bad ankle dorsiflexion. Though my ‘point’ makes most dancers blush with envy (if you’ve seen barbie, I have her feet). I have no issues with ankle pain, I supinate, hard to pronate with these arches. I’ve never used an orthotic, don’t use arch inserts. My arch is so high I have to wear full lace shoes, empire vr90, due to my similarly high instep.

Never had the issue you are describing.

As others have already mentioned in this thread, finding a professional to help with this is going to be your best bet, but if you’re having pronation issues when cycling, I’d recommend trying some good arch supports and/or wedging your cleats to keep things aligned as best as possible.

I pronate slightly when running and don’t have any issues (pain) when on the bike. I do use good arch support insoles in all of my cycling shoes though, and wedge one cleat. :man_shrugging:

Keeping your ankles/knees aligned as best as possible is likely going to help with your issue.