The older I get, the more a long ride hurts. My knees I keep happy with jointed stirrups and longer leathers, but this year my feet started to go numb. Not during every ride, but longer rides with shorter stirrups did it every time.
This summer I started to think about replacing my stirrups — I remembered that years ago, when my husband has a Western saddle, I had endurance stirrups on it. They had wider footbeds that were also padded. They were so comfortable!
There are very few traditional English stirrup irons that offer you a padded, wide bed. I also already own jointed stirrups and was loathe to trade them in as I think they are key to keeping my knees happy.
While browsing at SmartPak I came across the Super Comfort Stirrup pads and bought one set to try. They are easy to install (you remove your existing pad and wrap the Super Comfort pad around the iron, securing them with three cable ties) and I found that they are 1) more comfortable (they make the footbed wider and give a more cushiony feel) and 2) are MUCH more secure. The surface is very grippy and I’ve found that even in wet weather, my foot doesn’t move at all.
I hunted with these stirrup pads all fall and they definitely have helped. I never lost my stirrups or felt my foot slip. The numbness is much improved — actually, I realized how much better my feet feel with these stirrup pads when I switched saddles for a hunt and rode in regular stirrups. It was a long hunt — about 3 hours — and my feet were completely numb. I think I’ll have to buy these stirrup pads for my other irons, too.
3 thoughts on “A cure for numb toes”
I had great problems with foot pain when I got back to riding. My feet hurt so much after riding that I almost stopped riding.
Then I found a pair of the old fashioned Prussian sided stirrups, and the pain went away. When I took the pad out of my Fillis irons I found that me feet were resting on two VERY thin ridges of steel and no matter how thick the padding my feet hurt. Also the rounded branches of the Fillis stirrups hurt the base of my big toe when I rested the inside of my foot against them. I also changed my Peacock Fillis stirrups to Peacock Prussian sided stirrups. Again, no more pain.
Now if someone would just make double offset Prussian sided stirrups I would be in heaven! They used to make them, it can’t be that difficult to make them again.
Stubben still makes the old type Prussian sided stirrup irons. They are around half the price of the new-fangled “more comfortable” stirrups and much more comfortable for the way I ride. I wasted hundreds of dollars trying to fix my foot pain, all I had to do was to go back to the stirrup iron used when I started riding, the old Prussian stirrup.
May I ask what you did with regard to the numbness prior to replacing stirrups? I went horseback riding in Costa Rica four days ago. I believe they had my right stirrup too short/tight. It had been over 20 years since I last rode and I forgot and wore clogs instead of closed in shoes, so I think they tightened them too much thinking my shoes would fall off. 15 minutes into the ride I developed severe pain in my right foot. I backed my foot out of the stirrup a bit and tried to relax it as much as I could. I was fine the remainder of the ride, but later that night the top of my foot became numb from the instep across to the third toe all the way to the leg/ankle bone area. From that point back I still had feeling. The far right side of the foot had feeling. The sole of the foot still had feeling. There was circulation, no discoloration. But four days later my first two toes and the portion of the top of foot below those toes is still numb. The third toe numbness resolved as of today. Should I just continue to see if the remainder resolves over the course of a few more days or is there something I should do (or see a doctor) to help regain feeling in the foot? Thank you so much. I’m not a regular horseback rider (only rode about 4 times my entire life).
That’s a long time for the numbness to last and I’d certainly recommend asking your doctor about it. Longer stirrups and a wider footbed have helped me. After breaking my left ankle twice, my left foot still has pain and some numbness after riding with shorter stirrups, but I can walk out of it in less than five minutes. You definitely have something more serious going on. Good luck!