I just had a lesson with a student who bought his boat from another paddler who was getting out of the sport due to pain and numbness of the legs and butt. While my student benefitted by getting a killer deal on a fiberglass kayak, paddle, and accessories, I feel badly for the paddler who can no longer enjoy the sport of kayaking due to suffering extreme discomfort after a short time in his kayak. Unfortunately, this is an all too common complaint. Back in September 2009, I wrote a blog post about possible causes and solutions for lower body pain when kayaking. I just received a comment on that post from a physiotherapist in the UK directing me to read two of his recent blog posts on the same subject. These are both very good articles specifically dealing with the issue of posture, tight hamstrings, and pressure on the sciatic nerve from the perspective of a physical therapist who is also a kayaker. I have linked the two posts along with my original blog post, and I encourage anyone who is experiencing pain or numbness in the legs, butt, or lower back to take the time to read these articles. Don’t be too quick to give up an activity that you love. Perhaps the discomfort you are feeling may be the motivation you need to address some underlying deficits in strength, flexibility, and technique.
“When Kayaking Becomes a Pain in the Butt” by Sherri Mertz, September 17, 2009
“Painful numb legs when kayaking” by Eoin O. Conaire, April 22, 2013
“Painful numb legs when kayaking 2 – exercises” by Eoin O. Conaire, July 24, 2013