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Thread: Canoe Shoulder - Does anybody else suffer?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Canoe Shoulder - Does anybody else suffer?

    Does anybody else suffer from what I call Canoe Shoulder?

    I paddle on the right and it is my left (the higher) shoulder that suffers stiffness and aches for a few days after, I think it must be twisting the paddle during the J stoke that causes the problem.

    Does anybody else suffer from the same symptoms?

    Any recommendations?

    I have a basic £25 Carlisle wooden paddle , is a paddle change likely to help?

  2. #2

    Default

    I have had a lot of shoulder problems sea kayaking. I found changing from a large blade to a thin touring blade made a big difference. If you are only paddling quiet rivers, I would try a long, thin style otter tail paddle.

    Also look at your paddling style, are you using any trunk rotation in your stroke - I found doing this to a stupid amount for a few minutes at the begining of a paddle help get me moving better.

    Keep at it there should be an answer!

  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    between Kinross and Alloa, Scotland
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    definately try a deep water blade. When I do WW rivers that have long sections of quiet water between the rapids I switch paddles from the wide blade Hammerhead/Waterstick/Werner to a Guide or similar.
    It makes a real difference at the end of the day.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  4. #4
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    I find I get cramps and joint pains when I paddle after too long a period not paddling. If I paddle once or twice a week I am fine.
    Rogue

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunburyAndy
    Does anybody else suffer from what I call Canoe Shoulder?

    I paddle on the right and it is my left (the higher) shoulder that suffers stiffness and aches for a few days after, I think it must be twisting the paddle during the J stoke that causes the problem.

    Does anybody else suffer from the same symptoms?

    Any recommendations?

    I have a basic £25 Carlisle wooden paddle , is a paddle change likely to help?
    I have some problem with this on long trips. Wing, who has (in my estimation) perfect paddling techinique, does not. Wing's joints, in either arm, move very little or not at all. When I have tried to paddle in this manner, it seems very stiff, but Wing has it down to perfection and it is poetry in motion when she does it.

    Her posture is very good - back very straight, the elbow on her lower arm is locked, and the elbow on her upper arm, nearly so. Her torso does not twist. Her shoulders move, but in a straight line, up and down with very little twist. I don't know if anyone is able to take up this style of paddling unless they began with at an early age (I'm not able to), but it seems to be very easy on the body and good for long days of paddling

    PG

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Stiff shoulders on upper paddle hand side.

    To understand which part of your paddling stroke is causing the problem it would help if you were able to determine which muscle group(s) are getting stiff.

    For example, if the stiff muscles are the group at the top of your arm that surround the shoulder joint. (To check you have the right ones hold your arm out horizontally with a small weight in your hand, palm down. With the other hand you can feel the tension in this group of muscles on top of the arm adjacent to the shoulder.) In fact there are three muscles here but as the front one and middle get the most use in everyday life the rear one is less noticeable. Interestingly this group of muscles on the upper paddle arm do not get much use in putting power into the stroke so improving body rotation is not going to have much effect. (However the rear one in the lower paddle arm does put power in and body rotation will help this one!) They are used quite a lot in the recovery phase. If in the recovery phase your hand regularly comes above head height these muscles will get a workout that they do not get in most everyday activities and consequently will be more likely to become stiff. The remedy could be to have a lower recovery phase. After the paddle exits the water at the end of a J stoke bring the blade forward parallel to the water and at waist height so keeping both hands low. The upper arm does not therefore have to rotate upwards so much and less effort is used in that muscle group.
    Also if you use a long shafted paddle your top hand will have to be raised higher to plant the blade in the water at the start of the stroke. This too will put extra strain on these muscles. Remedy could be a shorter paddle.
    Otherwise do some training on these muscles in between going out paddling. Even simple arm circling can help. Swing the arms slowly forwards and up and make the biggest circles you can comfortably make extending the shoulder joint. You will be surprised how quickly you start to feel it. Then circle in the opposite direction. You can hold some light weights in your hand to give an extra workout. Build up the number gradually with whatever you feel happy with and do it at least three times a week to get the most from the exercise.

    Hope that all makes sense.

    Q

    PS. Itís a long time since I studied biomechanics so my brain cell may be a little rusty and I may be completely wrong.

  7. #7

    Default Shoulder ache.

    Hello,you are almost certainly using a paddle with too long a shaft,try sitting down,place the paddle handle on the seat in front of you and the paddle throat ( joint at shaft/blade) should reach the bridge of your nose,somewhat shorter for racing.Further to the discusion on switching paddle sides,switch when you feel like it,with practise you will find you can paddle equally well on either side and you don't have to be ambidextous.

    Regards Eric C.

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