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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cycling Cleats: Wedging for Better Stability

Search for cycling cleat wedges
Check out the right knee of the cyclist with the white shirt. See how that knee pulls in (valgus) compared to the right knee on the cyclist with the pink shirt. This inward pull of the knee causes a syndrome called "biker's knee" or patello-femoral dysfunction. Pain develops around the kneecap (patella) and can get quite annoying and disabling.

There are many reasons for that inward pull of the knee, and one of the common solutions is cleat chimming, wedging, or canting. Above are the yellow wedges, thicker on one side, that can be gradually introduced to the base of the cleat. These are the specific wedges used for Look Pedals.

Here you can see the bottom surface of the cleat with around 1/4 inch total wedging applied. See how the lateral side (5th toe/pinky toe) is thin and the arch side is thick. This is how the wedge cants the whole cleat, inverted the foot, and decreasing knee valgus (internal rotation of the knee).

Here a side view of that same wedge showing the thicker arch side.
Here is the side view of the thinner lateral side (pinky toe).
Here I am using the Look wedge template as a pattern and attempting to use thicker 1/16 inch polypropylene from JMS Plastics company.
Here 4 polypropylene wedges have been made and placed on the bottom of the cleat. This design has the 3 holes for the screws and skived to make the inverted cant.
Here the wedges are placed  in the right position and the screws are put into the 3 holes created. I am attempted the same degree of wedging as with the yellow Look chims, but hopefully they are firmer stronger and more durable.
Here are the initial 3 holes seen on the bottom of the cleat.

My good friend Marc Evans, world famous triathalon coach talks in this upcoming video on the biomechanics of arch line, heel line, and knee line.

These next two short videos show the change of the knee with these type cants.

Critical attention to the biomechanics of cycling can avoid many injuries. I hope this introduction to cleat wedging has been a useful introduction.

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.