Many different factors can lead to canoeing and kayaking injuries. However, poor technique is often to blame. To start with though, let’s cover the basic difference between the two activities.
Generally speaking, most people aren’t sure which is which. But, in reality, the difference is very clear.
In a Kayak, the paddle has a blade at each end. Whereas when you canoe, the paddle only has a blade at one end. You stroke on both sides to propel yourself forward in the Kayak. In a Canoe, you just paddle on one side.
In addition, Canoeists often adopt a kneeling position. On the other hand, in a Kayak, you adopt a seated position.
Typical Canoeing and Kayaking Injuries
Undoubtedly, the time you are most at risk of acute injury is getting in and out of the boat. If you fail to follow some simple rules you are at risk of slipping or falling. Here are some basic guidelines to prevent them
- Keep your centre of gravity low when getting in and out of the boat
- Step into, and out from, the centre line of the boat
- Have someone hold the boat for you when transferring onto land
- Wear flat footwear with a good grip
- Ensure the bottom of the canoe or kayak is as dry as possible
However, because of the unusual forces exerted, the two sports can lead to soft-tissue injuries also. These typically include issues with joints, muscles and tendons. Unsurprisingly, the shoulder is the most common area to be injured. Followed by other regularly injured sites such as the wrists, fingers and lower black.
If you are looking to canoe or kayak on a regular basis, there are a few key steps you can take to prevent these types of injury.
- Develop flexibility and suppleness through progressive stretching routines.
- Work on improving core strength to cope with the rotational forces used in both activities
- Improve upper body strength.
- Pay careful attention to underlying structures such as the rotator cuff
An excellent way to develop all of the above is through Pilates. It’s an exercise modality that can not only help you guard against injury, but can also help you add power to your stroke.
Finally, as we mentioned earlier, many injuries are caused by poor technique. Proper technique for both disciplines is essential. So be sure to seek out expert guidance before getting too competitive in either sport.
Treating Canoeing and Kayaking Injuries
Many of the injuries sustained can be relatively minor. Issues such as cuts or bruises can be dealt with relatively easily.
But there are two of the common injuries that we would like to highlight as they need a little bit more care and attention. Any sort of injury to the rotator cuff or the lower back will probably require rehabilitation as well as recuperation.
Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and massage can all play a major role in this rehabilitation process. For further information on any of these treatments, please contact us.