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I'm 75 y/o and have arthritis in both of my ankles and the only exercise I can do is ride my exercise bike. But as my ankles got more deformed they stick out on the side of my foot. So every time I try to ride my bike now my ankle hits the bar as it comes around. I'm thinking if I could buy a little wider pedal it might solve my problem. Any suggestions would be deeply appreciated.


Edit: I want to thank everyone for their suggestions regarding my pedal problem. Your suggestions were deeply appreciated. I'm sure with these suggestions I will be able to get back up on my stationary bike and get some exercise again. Thank You Again,

Mike Grubert

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    Welcome to the site - not a duplicate, but this pre-existing question is highly relevant. bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/42014/… – Criggie Feb 26 at 6:21
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    mountainbike flat-pedals usually have quite a big/wide platform. perhaps it will be suitable for you, an example: bbbcycling.com/nl_nl/bpd-32-mountainhigh – Maarten -Monica for president Feb 26 at 7:54
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    Stationary exercise bikes sometimes have unusual pedal threads. We have to establish if regular pedals fit. Michael C Gruber, would you have a look what brand and model your exercise bike is? – gschenk Feb 26 at 9:56
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    I expect the OP means the cranks when mentioning they hit the 'bars'. Should we edit the question to change it to cranks: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crankset#Cranks – gschenk Feb 26 at 9:58
  • Is your saddle high enough? Lots of beginners have their saddle too low and tend to ride with their knees outwards (looks a bit like a cowboy) which would turn the ankle inwards towards the crank arms. – Michael Feb 27 at 12:05
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A pedal spacer such as those available here would move your pedal away from the crank arm.

Regardless of the approach you take, you should be aware that by making your stance on the bike wider, you will subtly change the way muscles and tendons are loaded, which poses a risk (probably a small risk) of developing knee/hip/back injuries.

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    One can buy very cheap ones from asian shops. It is important to consider that it is impossible to fit them on pedals that cannot accept a pedal key but only an 8 mm hex key. Those for 6 mm hex key could be fine. For this reason I now have 2 pairs of such extenders with no use for them. – Vladimir F Feb 28 at 9:36
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You could try BMX pedals. They are typically very large, which gives good support when jumping around doing tricks. It also means you have more flexibility as to where to put your foot on the pedal.

black BMX pedal

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  • I'm going to second this suggestion. You can get a decent set of BMX pedals for $15 and they have great grip and are very wide. I use BMX pedals on my commuter fixed gear because I can ride it with sneakers or boots. These also have an advantage over pedal spacers in that they are cheaper and maintain a wider bearing stance, whereas the pedal spacers will push the bearings further out along the spindle generating more leverage at the threads. – Nathaniel Hoyt Mar 19 at 17:07
  • Note that pedals like this are often built with bushings not bearings, so they take a while to bed in - I spent 10 minutes spinning each with a drill press before they freed up. – Criggie Mar 19 at 18:26
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Another idea might be to try pedalling with your arches rather than the ball of your foot.

Simply slide your foot forward a bit so the pedal axle is more like where it would be if you were climbing a ladder.

If that helps, try even further forward so you're pedalling on your heel more.

Try it out and if anything feels bad, stop immediately. You should also check with your doctor at the earliest convenient time, even if everything feels good.

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  • I’m not sure this is good ergonomics. – Michael Feb 27 at 12:04
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    @Michael generally I'd agree with you, but "Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.” and in this case the OP is part of the system. So the other parts of the system have to conform to OP's comfort requirements, even at the loss of efficiency. Remember this is a stationary bike. – Criggie Feb 27 at 18:10
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    It's not a question of good or bad ergonomics, but rather what fits the individual. There is currently not much good science on the topic of bike-fitting. Some people have a lot of success with increasing saddle setback, moving cleats forward and raising their seat. I and many others have had success with jamming my seat forward and moving my cleats right back. I first decided to try this after reading about Adam Hansen's (Lotto-Soudal worldtour rider) philosophy on bike fitting. It's been great for me. I'm far more comfortable now on long rides (300+ km long rides. 1000+ km in a big week). – Carbon side up Feb 29 at 3:03
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I have trouble imagining which “bar” you hit. Crank arm? Chain stays? Seat stays? Seat tube?

In any case my suggestion would be road bike clip-in pedals + shoes. They allow you to adjust your foot position precisely and you can also move the cleats pretty far outwards if that’s really necessary. Be aware that generally your legs should go straight down (like when you are walking or running) and shouldn’t be angled sideways. Make sure your overall seating position is good.

Speedplay offers spindles for its Speedplay Zero pedals between 50 and 65mm length.

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    Imagine riding with your toes pointed out by 20 degrees, and what this would do to ankle position. It could clip the crank arm at top/bottom of pedal stroke. Also depending on bike it could indeed hit the chainstay. – Andy P Feb 26 at 9:32
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    General advise like 'keep your legs straight' is not very useful when dealing with reduced mobility. Setting up for retention also needs careful examination of the rider in that case. -1 – gschenk Feb 26 at 10:01
  • I see your point, but the health aspects of this question make it difficult to answer. OP has medical issues with ankles, so constraining feet in cleated shoes could cause issues. – Criggie Feb 26 at 10:19
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    Michael, true, but this may be assuming that the OP is able and willing to go convert to road clipless. That's $130 for the cheapest SP Zero model, plus a few more for the shoes, plus a learning curve. Also, I've had Speedplays for 10 years, and they need more maintenance than other pedals, which is maybe not what someone who's just got a stationary exercise bike wants (I concede he's indoors, so less maintenance than others have to do). I vote for the pedal spacer idea. – Weiwen Ng Feb 27 at 18:25
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    Also, it really does not matter if it is road or MTB pedals. You can move the cleats somewhat, but not enough for many. Longer spindles or pedal extenders are the real must for some. I am hitting the disc cover of the crank with my heel myself without them. – Vladimir F Feb 28 at 9:42

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