Paddle help Posted by: Waterbird on Sep-30-12 11:33 AM (EST)
Often toward the end of a half-day paddle I start to experience significant shoulder pain. When it gets bad, I wrap the (nonelastic) paddle leash around the center of the shaft until the paddle is the proper distance from the body and held taught. You then pull and push against that fulcrum point instead of against the shoulder. That reduces the pressure on the shoulder by about 50% and makes a significant difference.
If you wanted something more rigid you could attach a belt to the coaming and wrap it around the paddle shaft, using the holes in the belt to adjust the distance of the paddle to the body.
Some years ago after an injury I made a paddle holder out of PVC pipes and strapped it to the deck. This transferred about 75% if the effort from the injured shoulder to the paddle holder, which served as a fulcrum. It wasn't very attractive, but it worked very well; in fact I could paddle with one arm. Those who have significant pain can google "adaptive paddling devices" for design ideas. Example: http://brucefuoco.blogspot.com/
I used a small-bladed all-carbon Werner Athena paddle, 22 oz., for two years until my shoulder recovered enough to go back to a medium blade. And of course a light kayk will help as well.
Torso rotation can help, but it can also be difficult for paddlers with arthritis in the back as well as shoulders.
A nice shot of cortisone can be a blessing (if you educate yourself about the drawbacks).
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