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Thread: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

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    Default Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    So, I'm contemplating a pedal change this off-season. This is largely due to the fact that I have been experiencing a bit of achilles tendonitis over the last three or four years. I have been on Speedplay Zeros for the last five years and I am wondering how much of the A.T. can be attributed to pedal choice, especially, given the smaller, less stable platform of the Speedplays. I know there are other factors, ie: saddle height, cleat position, stretching, etc but most of that has been consistent for the last 20 years so the pedal choice is all I can think of. What is the experience of the Salon in this matter? Do I need a change of pedal scenery?

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Considering Speedplay pedals to be inverted relative to most other pedals, meaning that the pedal goes into the cleat on the shoe, the platform is actually larger than most pedals once engaged. How do you you have your pedals' float adjusted?
    Got some cash
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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    I don't believe your pedals are the problem.

    Speedplay's claim to have one of the largest contact areas of any pedal on the market, so that's not likely the problem.

    I can't imagine float causing your Achille's Tendon problem; there's no lateral component to the tendon's movement.

    I once read in a cycling training manual ( I think it was the Eddie B. book) that there was a cyclist experiencing Achille's Tendon pain. The cause turned out to be the zippers running up the back of the rider's shoe covers.
    What I'm saying is the problem could be caused by something you haven't considered yet. Could it be your shoes? Bent pedal axle or crankarm? A cleat that's not mounted flat to the shoe sole? I'm sure there are other possibilities.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    I'm curious, do you pedal flat footed or toes pointed? Spin a lot or mash big gears?

    FWIW, I ride Speedplay Zeros and use their aluminum adapter that lets you put the cleat farther back so you require less force from your calves to keep the foot stable. It makes quite a bit of difference but it suits my pedaling style but may not suit you. The difference was especially noticeable when I tried a friend's bike recently using his Shimano pedals (with the cleat centered over the ball of the foot) and it felt like I was tip-toeing the pedals compared to my Speedplay setup.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    My experience has been somewhat contradictory to the above replies. I used to love Speedplay, they are light, they have great cornering clearance, and they feel really positive when you are clipped in. However, I eventually found that the cleats wear out too fast considering their cost, and they were definitely messing with my knees and ankles. Some of the wear issues can be solved by using the metal plates that Speedplay now makes to go between your cleat and the baseplate, but I still have qualms about them in regards to my knees/ankles.

    I guess I just found that (for me) as the cleats would wear, it would really do a number on my lower half. I would start to get knee pain (on the outside of my kneecap) as well as ankle soreness (and achilles soreness) from the rocking motion since the cleats no longer interfaced correctly.

    To each their own, but I ended up switching to shimano pedals, where replacement cleats don't cost quite as much.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    I'm curious, do you pedal flat footed or toes pointed? Spin a lot or mash big gears?[/I]

    I pedal flat-footed and lean toward spinning...

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Polack View Post
    I don't believe your pedals are the problem.

    Speedplay's claim to have one of the largest contact areas of any pedal on the market, so that's not likely the problem.

    I can't imagine float causing your Achille's Tendon problem; there's no lateral component to the tendon's movement.

    I once read in a cycling training manual ( I think it was the Eddie B. book) that there was a cyclist experiencing Achille's Tendon pain. The cause turned out to be the zippers running up the back of the rider's shoe covers.
    What I'm saying is the problem could be caused by something you haven't considered yet. Could it be your shoes? Bent pedal axle or crankarm? A cleat that's not mounted flat to the shoe sole? I'm sure there are other possibilities.

    I was wondering about my shoes after my OP...I've been using sidi Genius 5s for as long as I can remember but my right foot is a big larger than my left and the A.T. is in my right ankle...

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Do you have tight calves?

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    probably have your cleats set a bit too forward; speedplay is not to blame, but their setup is more forward than most others (in other words, if you had your cleats at the most forward or rear point on speedplays, they will be more forward than time, shimano, look etc). also, it you tend to "ankle" in your pedaling, that will aggravate it, and I don't recall that sidis have any notch to relieve achilles pressure, so like the zipper irritation above, that might trigger it. I would try moving my cleats back a good 5-7mm if you can

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    I am the master of achilles tendonitis (or rather it has been the master of me).

    There was a bit of discussion of this problem awhile back, and some good advice here: http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...pain-6269.html

    I agree that it is not likely speedplay pedals themselves that are the problem. Try their rearset mounting plate to get the cleats back towards the heel of the shoe more, lower the saddle a bit, ride lower gears, do stretching and eccentric calf exercises, gentle massage of the achilles itself (as well as the calf muscles--TT asked the correct question--it is often tight calves that leads to achilles problems). Take it easy and let yourself heal. Good luck.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by John M View Post
    I am the master of achilles tendonitis (or rather it has been the master of me).

    There was a bit of discussion of this problem awhile back, and some good advice here: http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...pain-6269.html

    I agree that it is not likely speedplay pedals themselves that are the problem. Try their rearset mounting plate to get the cleats back towards the heel of the shoe more, lower the saddle a bit, ride lower gears, do stretching and eccentric calf exercises, gentle massage of the achilles itself (as well as the calf muscles--TT asked the correct question--it is often tight calves that leads to achilles problems). Take it easy and let yourself heal. Good luck.
    I read that thread, there was some good advice. I really do love my speedplays so I think i will fiddle with the cleat position as they are pushed toward the toe. And, along the lines of TT's question...my calves tend to be tight...ish. I guess, as I age, these adjustments are inevitable...

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Here's the adapter in case you haven't seen it:

    Speedplay Fore-Aft Extender Base Plate Kit - Excel Sports

    I'm also more of a flat footed spinner and these work great. Another bonus is that the plate stiffens up the sole more.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    I say get the Speedplay off your bike. replace with something stable like Shimano SPD SL or Look Keo2Max.
    I rode Speedplay for about 6 months this year. I was experimenting with wider stance (at the time Speedplay was my only option- I now have custom wider spindles for Look Keo2Max).
    Right from the start I felt small niggly things in my knees but adjusted. Then I started getting all sorts of pains in my legs- culminated with a plantar wart so bad that I could barely pedal.
    Got the pedals off my bike, everything improved.
    Do some searching- there is much info online about problems due to the "rock" between the cleat and the pedal. No way to control this outside of new cleats about once per week. You just have to use too much of your legs just to keep feet/legs aligned. This is all small muscle stuff but it does take away.
    I believe that Speedplay pedals are only for people that have the most neutral and natural of pedaling styles. I.E. they do not put energy into keeping feet/legs straight regardless of pedals used.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Speedplays (I have the standard non zero ones) do not restrict rotational (torgue) forces. So your muscles will have to do this. Which can lead to problems.
    Very simplified, but in evolution our feet were never strapped in perpendicular to the ground.
    Orthotics-alignement ; small changes can help. I'm pretty comfortable on a crankbrothers Candy pedal, as well as Shimano's , Times, . More platform , and then cleats with some float do the trick for me.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Do yourself a favor and try other pedals. Time or Shimano.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Do you have tight calves?
    right. the test for this is can you squat to full knee flexion and have your heels stay in contact with the floor? If the answer is no, then your calves may need some stretching.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanEasley View Post
    right. the test for this is can you squat to full knee flexion and have your heels stay in contact with the floor? If the answer is no, then your calves may need some stretching.
    I think it is more the bony anatomy of the ankle , than soft tissues ,that limits this.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    I say get the Speedplay off your bike. replace with something stable like Shimano SPD SL or Look Keo2Max.
    I rode Speedplay for about 6 months this year. I was experimenting with wider stance (at the time Speedplay was my only option- I now have custom wider spindles for Look Keo2Max).
    Right from the start I felt small niggly things in my knees but adjusted. Then I started getting all sorts of pains in my legs- culminated with a plantar wart so bad that I could barely pedal.
    Got the pedals off my bike, everything improved.
    Do some searching- there is much info online about problems due to the "rock" between the cleat and the pedal. No way to control this outside of new cleats about once per week. You just have to use too much of your legs just to keep feet/legs aligned. This is all small muscle stuff but it does take away.
    I believe that Speedplay pedals are only for people that have the most neutral and natural of pedaling styles. I.E. they do not put energy into keeping feet/legs straight regardless of pedals used.
    that's where I suspect my problem lies...especially while climbing or harder efforts on the pedals. I have the lemond wedges for the cleats as well and that seemed to minimize the rock but something still doesn't feel right...

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    Do you have proper support for your arch? Either over the counter like Specialized or custom made orthotics? These are the 1st step if the foot needs more support before you even think of wedging.
    I still think you need different pedals.

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    Default Re: Speedplay Pedals and achilles tendonitis?

    no arch support other than the standard-issue, sidi insole...that's another good starting point...

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