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Old 30th November 2013, 21:35   #1
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Exclamation Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

MODS: Please merge this to some other thread if appropriate.

One aspect of long drives that is quite a bother is the condition of the drivers' right foot.
This is possibly the most physically stressed organ on long drives.
Consider this:
The right foot is constantly feeding signals to the accelerator, either depressing it more, or letting off the pressure, for split seconds at a time. And ever so often pivoting the ball of the foot on the heel, to press the brake.
All this while the heel of the foot constantly rests on the floor, while the rest of the foot is angled up to press against the accelerator pedal. This position needs to be held for hours at a time.

So the ankle joint, ball of the feet, heel and toes are always under stress.

This leads to pain in the right foot:
1) Pain in the heel: Bruising of the heel because of constantly resting the foot on the heel.
2) Pain in the toes/ball of the foot: Caused due to the constant pressure on the pedals (accelerator/brake)
3) Pain just above the ankle: Caused by constantly flexing the ankle when operating against pedal resistance

In extreme cases, the foot can feel numb, which represents real danger when driving.

Remedies:

1) Walk around and flex foot and ankle at rest stops.
2) Take off the shoes and wash feet in cold water for a few minutes at rest stops
3) Wear comfortable shoes with cushioned heels - if that is not not possible use Dr. Scholls insoles which can cushion the heel.
4) And most importantly be aware of the condition of your feet at all times.

Can you share your own experience and how you mitigated this issue?

Last edited by joybhowmik : 30th November 2013 at 21:37. Reason: Solicited input from others.
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Old 30th November 2013, 21:42   #2
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I am a orthopaedic surgeon.I haven't heard of such a disease till now.The pain in foot may come because of number of other reasons. What you have found out may me a medical miracle :-)
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Old 30th November 2013, 22:09   #3
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeash View Post
I am a orthopaedic surgeon.I haven't heard of such a disease till now.The pain in foot may come because of number of other reasons. What you have found out may me a medical miracle :-)
No not a disease, but a condition caused presumably by repetitive stress. I have observed that this happens to me, on all long drives - sometimes the onset of pain is within two hours, at other times onset of pain is at the 3-4 hour mark.
Also, the areas that are the most painful are - just above the ankle and the heel. And yes, flexing on rest stops,and washing in cold water helps.
I am also not certain if this is an orthopedic problem or something else-otherwise orthopedics would probably have a name for it by now.
Anyone else has seen this problem?
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Old 30th November 2013, 22:29   #4
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Also, the areas that are the most painful are - just above the ankle and the heel. And yes, flexing on rest stops,and washing in cold water helps.
I am also not certain if this is an orthopedic problem or something else-otherwise orthopedics would probably have a name for it by now.
Anyone else has seen this problem?
I think your seating position is quite forward. I experienced this problem once, when I had forgot to adjust the seat after it was moved forward during service. Else, most of the times, the ankle, heel will be in a relaxed position. As you move closer to the front, the ankle joint gets compressed, ie, the toes move towards your knee. That stretches the muscles and hence I got a hint of pain that day. Apart from that, in both my cars I am seated in the most relaxed position. I think there is a thread where the ideal seating position is described. Given I am marginally taller at 6 feet, I need to push the seat all the way back to get a relaxed position.

My father faced the same problem when he started driving the sx4. In order to achieve goodf visiblity he used to push the seat forward and get pain in the ankle, thighs and back. He then got used to the judgement and also realised the cause of the pain and moved the seat backwards. No drivers foot or whatever it is called.
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Old 30th November 2013, 22:34   #5
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

On a long highway drive, I didn't want to end up with any pain on my legs. I did a lot of strengthening exercises and ran for 4-5 kms daily before my 3000 km solo road trip which I did in the middle of the dreaded Delhi heat wave.

I have never suffered any pain as such so would not be in a position to comment. However I personally feel I avoided all of that by being physically active before the road trip. I think being physically active also gives you the stamina to continue driving for long distances. I have no data to back this but only an opinion based on personal experiences.

My Corolla's clutch is hard and wearing sneakers is more comfortable than shoes which have thin soles. With my Beat, this isn't an issue but when driving the Corolla I ensure the footwear is padded enough to handle the resistance. Also felt the same with my brother in law's first gen Cruze, in that car the clutch tends to jump back at your foot.

Last edited by AbhishekB86 : 30th November 2013 at 22:39.
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Old 30th November 2013, 23:31   #6
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

I have developed a pain on the top of my right foot ( Between the toes and ankle joint) after driving my Santro for 8 years in Bangalore traffic. Now i start getting the pain after around 30 mins of driving. I tried all seat combinations but nothing works. I have noticed when i drive my Dads Logan my feet does not hurt that much. I guess it has to do something with the way the Santro gas pedal is placed. On long drives i keep my toe on wheel well ( slight buldge on the right side of the gas pedal ) and the press the gas pedal using the heel. This is much more comfortable. But this position is dangerous in city since it slows down foot transition from gas to break pedal. I planning to sell my Santro for this reason only. Other wise i love the car.
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Old 1st December 2013, 01:11   #7
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

My dad's ankles swell after sitting too long (like >8 hours/day). He's Diabetic. His doc used to say its natural, and that he HAS TO walk around after having sat for >2 hours at 1 go.

Lets broaden the query, the human body couldn't be designed for such a posture for long hours.

AFAIK Humans are anatomically evolved to be capable of running long distances. Its definitely not normal human nature sitting in this posture for long hours, there HAVE TO be some side-effects of this.

Hey OP! The F1 guys are sure to have researched such stuff, search for reports online and maybe you'll see some light.

One of my friend completed 1 Lakh kms in 1.5years with his Punto. I was shocked how he escaped developing bed-sore like blisters on his back having sat for SO long! He hadn't learnt how to drive till then, so having a 'Habit' is ruled out. (Edit : And no, neither did he have a car till then, nor did he travel much.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeash View Post
I am a orthopaedic surgeon.I haven't heard of such a disease till now.The pain in foot may come because of number of other reasons. What you have found out may me a medical miracle :-)
Maybe its all the more reason that you're in a better position to research/understand the effects of staying in that single posture for LONG hours.

Come across any taxi guy complaining of such issues?

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 1st December 2013 at 01:17.
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Old 1st December 2013, 04:51   #8
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

I used to have an issue with my left foot once in a way on very long driving stretches, esp with heavy traffic. I remember way back in 2003, while returning from Mookambika just short of Calicut, I had to pull over and take a break for a while to reduce the stress on the ankle. However, ever since using an AT, I have not had this problem. Not had an issue with my right foot thus far, possibly because I use shoes and the raised heel allows it to rest comfortably.
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Old 1st December 2013, 10:55   #9
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

I used to get this pain at the right ankle joint when I used to drive for 5-6 hrs without any break on my Old Honda City ( 1st Gen). I have learnt to avoid the pain by taking a break after 3-4 hrs and taking the foot of the accelerator and keeping it on the floor whenever you don't need to accelerate.

However I don't get the pain while driving my Grand Vitara. Probably to do with seating position in a SUV.
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Old 1st December 2013, 12:46   #10
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

I have never felt pain in my right foot/ankle/knee, what hurts the most after a long drive is the left knee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Remedies:
Get a car with cruise control.

Last edited by sansvk : 1st December 2013 at 12:46. Reason: edit
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Old 1st December 2013, 18:14   #11
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Can you share your own experience and how you mitigated this issue?
I have faced this issue in two stages. First when driving an automatic on North American highways. No left foot is needed on Autos. So all the pressure was on the right foot, basically it became sore after a while of constant pushing at the brakes and the feet then used to go numb. I was not overweight at that time and had reduced waist size by 4 inches. Somewhere around 34-inch waist and used to walk long distances, so had good exercises as well.

Then this problem recurred recently when driving in India, excess of 90 kms and the right foot begins to go sore and numb. Taking a break helps and rotating feet and ankles also used to give relief to break the monotony of the foot going through repetitive motions for hours at a time. But when I actually grew conscious of the problem, I stopped resting the foot in the same position for more than a few moments and made it habit to continously flex and wriggle the piggies and ankles once every few moments. That stopped the problem. Also what helped was that I got back support and neck support and lumbar support cushions and use any two of these every time.

Last edited by lurker : 1st December 2013 at 18:19.
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Old 1st December 2013, 18:20   #12
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I've never faced such an issue, even after pulling off a 5000 km road trip over 2 weeks. I guess it's probably a combination of my age (I was 18 at the time), and wearing comfortable shoes (a nice pair of woodland boots).

I suppose a decent alternative to those who do face this issue would be to opt for a car with cruise control. Not much you can do beyond that, apart from wearing good shoes, and occasionally stretching out your legs.
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Old 1st December 2013, 18:29   #13
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

Never heard of this problem. I feel this might happen only if you have a pre-existing condition, an already injured ankle. Getting tired is normal, but pain is not normal.

Just finished a 8 hour drive. Legs just feel warm, nothing else.
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Old 1st December 2013, 19:03   #14
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I feel this might happen only if you have a pre-existing condition, an already injured ankle. Getting tired is normal, but pain is not normal.
Interesting point. Yes I agree, people with a pre-existing condition such as a healed fracture or ligament tear, may be more likely to feel pain.
However, in my case, I have never had any injury on any part of my legs. So it's not a pre-existing condition in my case.

Does being overweight make some people more susceptible than others. Possibly. However, I have had this problem for close to 10 years. During this time, my weight has see-sawed between normal to overweight. I have gone on many long drives in this period, and irrespective of my weight I have had this issue.

Strengthening exercises for the foot - may help.

Cruise Control - but not available on all vehicles.

What I found interesting also in the discussions so far, is that I am not the only one with this issue, there are others as well. And quite a few don't have this problem.

Are the people without this problem doing things differently than those with it?
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Old 1st December 2013, 19:11   #15
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Default re: Issue: Driver's foot (Accelerator foot) over a long drive

Never faced any issue with the right leg , what i tend to sometimes is lean the leg against the dash or the door at an angle , so instead of me using energy to keep it one place it then becomes more "placed into position" , if that makes sense. And this even on trips when i might not make a stop at all and do 350-375 Km's without any breaks at all.
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