Author Topic: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type  (Read 1275 times)

Esteroali

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Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« on: October 07, 2018, 12:12:13 PM »
Quick survey. I am a 57 year old female paddler. I  like to compete locally in shorter races. I live on a tidal small river in SW Florida. Had rotator cuff surgery 3 weeks ago and soon to have knee imaging for a torn cartilage. I have racing 12í6 and 14. What craft do you think is easiest on shoulders/older bodies?
Paddleboard?
OC 1?
Surf ski?
Launching canoe would be more difficult because of my dock.
Thoughts?

addapost

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 01:20:01 PM »
I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but... The dirty little secret in paddling, all disciplines- but especially kayak and SUP, are soft tissue joint injuries. Every serious paddler I know has had shoulder and/or elbow problems. The amount of leverage created by a paddle is incredible. The ligaments, tendons, and muscles in and around the elbows and shoulders are tiny and relatively insubstantial. They are not designed to handle the stress that we can put on them. All other things being equal I would rank the disciplines as follows for "Likely to damage joints" 1. SUP The longest lever results in the highest force transmitted through the skeletal system. 2. Kayak "winged up" elbows opens the shoulder to injury. 3. Canoe.

The most important thing to do if you want to pursue racing is to become a very serious student of proper technique. Seek expert instruction and practice it like your joints depended on it.

It is really unfortunate that it can be so easy to seriously hurt yourself doing something so fun and otherwise good for you. Good luck.
Bunch of old shit

Esteroali

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 02:13:23 PM »
Thanks, and i agree. But it was decades of open water swimming that destroyed my shoulder.

addapost

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 02:19:35 PM »
Oh yeah, that'll do it too. Good luck
Bunch of old shit

connector14

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2018, 03:55:41 PM »
Bummer.  Both my wife and I love to SUP and have been doing it almost daily since summer of 2014. And we both have shoulder pain. My wife's pain is the worst and X-rays confirm bone on bone issue. She had a shot in her shoulder and that actually made it worse. Since then we have been trying numerous treatments...heat/ice packs, various creams and ointments...some provide limited temporary relief. Surgery seems like a last resort,  but may be the only real solution. Open to any suggestions. (trhying to adjust our technique to use more torso/core rotation while trying to keep the arms and shoulders as relaxed as possible. It really helps me,  but she hasn't caught on yet.
Sure don't want to have to give up this sport....we kayak too, but find that even harder on the shoulders.
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Bean

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2018, 07:46:59 PM »
It really comes down to how your specific biomechanics match your chosen sport...

Night Wing

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2018, 09:07:56 PM »
Quick survey. I am a 57 year old female paddler. I  like to compete locally in shorter races. I live on a tidal small river in SW Florida. Had rotator cuff surgery 3 weeks ago and soon to have knee imaging for a torn cartilage. I have racing 12í6 and 14. What craft do you think is easiest on shoulders/older bodies?
Paddleboard?
OC 1?
Surf ski?

Thoughts?

It just isn't going to be about which craft is going to be easiest on your shoulder with your now surgically repaired rotator cuff. The paddle length and blade size will come into play in the equation as well.

Two examples are below.

I don't do racing but I've had a bone spur removed from my left shoulder and a large bone which cut 90% through my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. Rotator cuff repairs don't heal in 6 weeks or even 6 months. At 6 months, your surgically repaired shoulder will still have discomfort in it.

My orthopedic surgeon is an avid outdoorman and he told me my right shoulder would take a year to heal. I had one month of PT at the sports medicine complex and then after one month there, I was instructed to do my own PT on my own at my home for another 11 (eleven) months. The PT at my home was 3 times a week, in one hour sessions, every week for 11 months. My right shoulder was pain free, no discomfort in it after 10 months. But I did the last two months even though I "thought" I didn't need to.....just in case.

But I was warned not to slack off because if I did, those ligaments in my shoulder would take the wrong set and I'd have discomfort in that shoulder for the rest of my life. So I didn't slack off with my self imposed PT at my home.

I'm 5'8" and weigh (right now) 144 lbs. Since my surgeon knew I like supping, he told me to get rid of my 85 square inch paddle blade and go with a 75 square inch paddle blade. He also told me to experiment with different paddle lengths. And the paddle I chose for myself was an all carbon small diameter shaft Naish Alana adjustable length paddle which is favored by women.

I now like a 71" paddle length for flat water paddling since I don't raise my hands way above my head. My hands are right about at the top of my head and no higher.

For sup surfing, it depends on the wave. For slow roller type of waves, I like a 70" paddle length and for fast forming waves which start to break, I like a 69" paddle length. In other words, I listen to what both of my shoulders tell me for the conditions I encounter. This is why I go against conventional wisdom and use an adjustable length paddle instead of a fixed length paddle.

I used to kayak too. Most of my friends who kayaked with me were using 14' Wilderness Tarpon 140's which were (at that time) 28" wide. Most used an all carbon regular diameter shaft Werner 230cm length paddle with an all carbon Camano blade.

I used a 14'9" Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro TW which was 26" wide. I used an all carbon Werner 220cm length paddle, small diameter shaft with neutral bent grip. But because of my surgically repaired left shoulder back then, I used a smaller all carbon Little Dipper blade.

No matter which craft or vessel you choose; the paddle length, total weight of the paddle and paddle blade size have to be taken into account as well.



SUP Sports Hammer: 8'11" x 31" x 4" @ 140 Liters
SUP Sports One World: 11'1" x 30" x 4.5" @ 173 Liters

addapost

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2018, 05:53:36 PM »
It really comes down to how your specific biomechanics match your chosen sport...
The problem I've found is that your bio mechanics can be perfect 99.99% of the time but if even only 1 in every 1000 strokes is "off"- the bones in the joint aren't set and stabilized just right- you are most likely causing soft tissue damage.
Bunch of old shit

TallDude

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2018, 06:55:14 PM »
Going to a longer very flexible shaft shaft has eliminated all of my shoulder issues. There is little to no flex in Canoe and Kayak paddles because of how short they are. Paddle technique and a smaller blade size is important as well. I paddled 8 miles today and my knees are a little sore:) I'm 55.   

Area 10

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2018, 09:01:42 PM »
Competing is sometimes the problem. When we compete we are often so caught up in the moment that our technique goes out the window. We also will overexert ourselves. If you are injuring yourself racing, stop racing. It isnít worth it. Try to enjoy your activity without competing with others. If you canít enjoy your activity without competing against others, and competing gives you injuries that impact upon your life (and work), then you may need to think carefully about whether your current relationship with exercise is healthy.

And yes, even small imperfections in technique, and/or a paddle that is wrong for you, even by a small margin like 1Ē in length, can have serious long term effects.

But many people find that without competing, they are able to exercise safely, even with the same equipment.

JEG

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2018, 04:16:28 PM »
Get your paddle technique right, stretch and rest up and your pain free.

supsurf-tw

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2018, 07:02:02 AM »
The most important thing to do is not to paddle until fully recovered. Your PT will put you on a program so stick with that until full recovery then break back in slow. As far as the craft that will be up to you. For SUP a not too long and not too stiff paddle.
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PonoBill

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2018, 07:59:52 AM »
Three weeks in you can't even post on the Zone without doing damage. Just kidding, but this is an area where I have WAY too much experience. I've had multiple surgeries on both shoulders, and like you, the injuries had nothing to do with paddling. Racing motorcycles and rollerblade hockey are my culprits.

Bad news is--it's going to be nine months to a year. And yes, you have to do the PT for that entire time. The good news is that you can make it back--I've done it several times, and I'm a sissy, but you have to work at it. You don't need to give the sport up, and you don't need to stop competing, but you need to pay a lot closer attention to technique and equipment than you did before. Seems like you already know that.

The quality of PT training is very important. You need to have a rapport with your PT, and they need to be the best you can find. It's a boring job and most of the people PTs work with are not fulfilling their dream of helping people. They won't do the work, they want the PT to do it for them. If you sense for an instant that your PT just going through the motions then you need to change. Getting the movement and exercise right for you and your issues requires intense attention to how your joints are moving and where your motion is restrained. My first time through the PT showed me the exercises and gave me photocopied pages with a few exercises circled. Done. What did I know, seemed like the standard thing. I developed a lot of problems with motion range. A friend suggested a better PT. It was a HUGE difference, and it worked. I did everything she said times two. My worst shoulder (truly junk, the last surgery had to be reversed after I got a deep staph infection. It took five more emergency surgeries to cut out all the dead meat and remove the anchors and stuff) is now my best shoulder. That's 100% PT.

It's getting way ahead to talk about paddles, but I do have a solution that has worked very well for me. Ke Nalu paddles have a relatively small diameter round shaft and there are different flex types and different constructions that work really well for keeping my shoulders from hurting. Sounds like a sales pitch, and yes, I co-founded Ke Nalu but I haven't had any financial interest in the company for many years. I just like what the paddles do for my shoulders. The xTuf(S) shaft is my medicine. I prefer the 100 flex when my shoulders are behaving, but at the least twinge, I switch to xTuf(S). The hot glue assembly makes it easy to switch out shafts and get the blade type and length right. I get the shaft length set so my arm is level with my shoulder when the neck of the blade is in the water. The Ergo-t extended handle makes it easy to get the length just right without an adjustable--all you need is a hair dryer or heat gun to change the length. The length varies from board to board so I generally have a surf blade and a downwind/race blade. Both the Konihi and the Mana blades reward good technique. The Konihi blade lets you know you screwed up immediately by making a sound like a toilet flushing. I used to use blades in the 90sq in range and larger (I'm 6'2", 230#), now I'm using 80's. That's not because I'm afraid to beat up my shoulder, it's better technique. I'm faster with smaller blades.

When it's time for you to start paddling again watch all the videos you can stomach on the Dave Kalama/Johnny Puakea technique. More pushing down than pulling back, more core and hips than arms and shoulders. Much easier on your shoulders, much harder on your core. Prepare to get ab cramps for a while, but those muscles can handle the torque and load. I joke about having six pack abs that are bubble wrapped, but they are really there. Even for OC1 paddling that's where I get soreness, not in my shoulders. As long as my technique is good, my shoulders are fine. I did some long, hard races this year with no shoulder issues. I hurt everywhere else, but I'm 72, I hurt when I get up in the morning.

Stay positive, find a good PT, work hard at it, and you'll be back better than you were before.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 08:06:37 AM by PonoBill »
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seadart

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Re: Shoulder issues/Paddle Craft Type
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2018, 05:07:30 PM »
As Bean mentioned above, your shoulder issues are very specific to your body structure, what's true for someone else may not apply at all to your body mechanics.  How you paddle and how your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments move and stress determine if you are going to have problems.

My experience is that recreational stand up paddle boarding is a lot less strenuous on my shoulders and back than competition in kayaks for racing and surfing.  I don't race SUP, and I surf a lot.   I have no pain  issues with my shoulders.  My shoulder problems came from a dislocation in a violent wipe out in a surf kayak.

Getting older means you have to pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is sometimes hard to do,  but joints and bones do wear out and competition level stress may not be a good thing. Women also have hormonal changes that will effect bone density, healing and muscle strength differently than all the guys who post here, so find a PT who deals with older patients who want to do active sports. 

Using a shorter paddle, with small blade and shaft that is  fairly stiff, and learning to finesse the paddle instead of force it works  best to me.  Paddle stiffness advice varies,  but my opinion is that a very flexible paddle leads to bad technique that leads to more  forced pushing and pulling  on the paddle.

As mentioned finding a good physical therapist and doing the exercises will be the fastest way to recovery.  And with old shoulders it might take a good long while to where you feel normal.