View topic - combating leg stiffen/pain after prolonged kneeling

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PostPosted: March 28th, 2019, 10:39 pm 
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
I prefer to kneel when paddling for how it feels. I obviously feel in a more stable position and mechanics of the stroke just feel easier. It's great....... until I have to get up. Then I can't stand erect. I think it is my knees and ankles. I can't be certain, the pain just seems everywhere. it take a minute before I feel like I can move properly again. Now I sit at a desk Monday to Friday for my job.... and some evening reading MYCCR :wink: . Trying to bend my size 13 flippers under a bench is almost impossible with the seat placement of some canoes. That in combination with well used knees I think is the root of my discomfort. I'm sure there is something I can be doing to get myself better prepared to enjoy my paddling trips. I'd love to hear what other do to deal with this discomfort.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 12:32 am 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
I prefer tractor seats with thighpads and a footbrace.
I can spend quite a few hours swapping through all the available paddling positions and still be comfortable.

That being said, I have a bench on my Magic high enough to kneel under and low enough for a tender seated position.
I'm 6'3" so I ended up putting in a footbrace and thighpads for some added stability and comfort.
I can't stay in this boat as long.

Maybe it's time to try out a five point seated position.
You would find it quite stable with proper outfitting.

Oh ya... and yoga.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 6:16 am 
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When kneeling try a piece of swimming pool noodle placed across the bottom of the canoe under the front of your ankles. This raises the ankles off the bottom of the canoe and should help alleviate stress and the ankle pain.

As for the pain in the knees, thighs and lower back you may have to assume the canoe kneeling position daily in order to keep your muscles specifically stretched.

Hope this helps.

GG

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 7:21 am 
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Joined: August 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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i kneel most of the time but sit up for brief periods quite frequently. My knees and legs are still quite stiff when i try to get out though--aaah, the joys of getting older--getting stiff in all the wrong places! :( . No pain, though---knock wood. If I take my time to stand and walk about a bit the stiffness goes away.

As a friend once said when told by her husband to 'hop' out: "I'm 65 yrs old. My hopping days are done" :lol:

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 9:01 am 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
When I took my Lakewater Instructor Course I was blown away by the Instructor Trainers.. They conducted dry land lectures kneeling on the ground

They said that the key to getting used to kneeling is watching TV kneeling.. Start short work up
But the stiffness will still come. One of the advantages of portaging is getting out from time to time


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 10:36 am 
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
CH-Ted

I'm the same height. So when you say tractor seats, an image of an old rusting tractor that I might have seen on my grandfather farm came to mind. That single arched metal shaft leading up to a contoured seat. I hadn't seen anything like that on a canoe (though it kind of sounds cool) so I started searching the net. What I got was a bunch of picture of bucket seats mounted like a bench. I did see one image with thigh pads, not to be confused with thigh straps. Unless the contour seat is mounted on a pedestal I think I would still have the issue of getting my flippers under the cross supports for a tractor seat..... unless I'm not properly understanding what you're talking about.

For me, part of kneeling is that I feel I have more power, when I need it in WW, by not having my body bent at 90 deg at the waist. I guess that's why the Olympic paddler do it on one knee.

I did Yoga for a while and hero pose was always painful. I stopped because I wasn't doing something right as I'd usually end up with a sore back.... but I figure there are poses in Yoga that would help.

Gerald

The pool noodle sounds like a good idea but I'd be concerned that in a roll situation I wouldn't be able to get my big feet back out from under the seat.

littleredcanoe & Gerald
Making kneeling a daily activity sounds like a practical approach.

Thanks


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 11:22 am 
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Joined: August 8th, 2016, 10:37 am
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Location: Northern Alberta
Good thread!
I'm a kneeler too and can definitely relate to the discomfort (pain???) as described. At 6/1 and 200 lbs with size 11 feet, i also have the same issue with my feet under seat.
I paddle cedar/canvas canoes so also have the added joy of kneeling on a 'corduroy' surface. I use a high density foam pad for my knees- and have used gardeners foad knee pads too ( my wife loves that look on a portage!)- but there is still the issue with stiff knees at the end of a long paddle.
That said I won't trade the control and maneuverability gained from the kneeling position for sitting.
I do like the idea of watching TV on my knees to "train" and the pool noodle under ankles.
May try that this weekend...

Bruce


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 12:47 pm 
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Joined: May 24th, 2014, 8:13 am
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After a long day in the boat... a glass of whisky and and advil...

in addition, at home I spend a bit of time in the days and weeks leading up to a trip kneeling... I find it helps stretching out muscles and ligaments


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 1:42 pm 
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Location: Guelph, Ontario
Bruce, I had the same knee pads until I bought my own canoe outfitted for WW so the permanently mounted foam pad are thick and fit me exactly. ........ Yah, not the look you want on your wood canoe. I'd stick with the knee pad too in your situation..... the gardening type just feel blah to walk any distance in.

I dismissed Kalmia's idea of going to a saddle for whitewater in the spray deck thread but Ted has me thinking. Does a saddle and foot brace take more weight off the knees and legs than a bench seat. Does it take enough weight off to significantly reduce the discomfort. Thoughts anyone?

HuckFinn, I'm definitely popping advil in the evening for the first several days of a canoe trip.... but prefer Tequila or Gin at the end of the day. :)

Dave


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 4:28 pm 
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I have found that raising the seat a few inches so that your knees are less flexed is helpful. Your center of gravity may be higher, but your knees will like it.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 6:00 pm 
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Location: Manitoba
Lots of good points already.

Foam under ankles

Kneeling chair

Pre training or practice: kneeling on a ball or similar. I used to use an extra whitewater saddle I had.

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 7:24 pm 
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I find the lower the seat is hung, the more uncomfortable kneeling becomes. The ass-on-heels pose is truly classic, but so, too, are the Iron Maiden and the Spanish Boot. Classic doesn't mean we have to! Sorry, these last two tortures aren't classic, they're medieval. I googled them.

Most of us can't maintain an ass-on-heels position, so we cheat by using the canoe seat or kneeling thwart to support part or all of our bum. Higher seats may help with comfort and numbing (apologies to Pink Floyd!) Adjusting seat height, though, will usually have consequences in the boat's stability. I often use a 1" thick closed-cell seat pad to help reduce the acuteness of the angle of knee-bend.

Stiffness and numbing during and after prolonged kneeling are natural for chair-sitting populations such as ours. Maybe you can train your body to do something it doesn't like to do through specific exercises or yoga. I do like kneeling in canoes, too. After all, how else are we going to pay our daily homage to Bill Mason? I try to vary my paddling position and paddling style on the move. I like the "Rule of Thirds" (yet another rule just screaming to be broken!): one third knees under my seat (not "true" kneeling), one third bum-on-seat feet braced in front of me, and one third standing using an SUP paddle. Not for everyone, of course, but for me the varied positions go a long way towards preventing stiffness in my muscles and joints.


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PostPosted: March 29th, 2019, 11:34 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
Dave, I paddle a Clipper Tripper most of the time that's outfitted with a tractor seat, footbrace, thigh pads, bum pad, and two kneeling pads on the floor for when I want to kneel.
It's super comfy and (I think) stable as hell for anything other than WW.

I also paddle barefoot or with booties on longer paddles to keep my foot profile smaller while under the seat.
If the paddling isn't too long I'll leave my hiking boots on till the next portage. To avoid kneeling for an hour or so is easy in a tractor/bucket seat.

You can also move your seat up if it doesn't make the boat too tender.


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PostPosted: March 30th, 2019, 8:02 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2004, 5:26 pm
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Location: n/e ontario
Best practice to keep moving...

"Without tai chi, I doubt I’d be able to slip into, and more importantly, get out of my skinny kayak. Through learning tai chi, my paddling skills have improved. I move faster through the water with less effort. My shoulders do not ache after a long day of canoeing."
from https://www.sudbury.com/columns/mather/ ... ple-704655


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PostPosted: March 30th, 2019, 9:24 am 
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Joined: October 9th, 2009, 9:52 am
Posts: 831
Location: Toronto Beach(es)
I like to kneel, especially solo ... but a regular change of positions is really important.

Twenty years ago, on a trip I wasn't on, one of our tripping regulars (then an otherwise healthy, non-smoking 39yr old) died on North Tea Lake of a massive pulmonary thrombo-embolism. Was it the sitting in the cramped confines of a canoe for hours that caused the clot in his leg, or was it a pre-existing deep vein thrombus that broke loose? Don't know.

What I do know is that while canoeing, same as on long distance air travel, I don't want blood to pool in my legs, so I change paddling positions regularly, and when kneeling, keep genu-flexion as limited as possible to minimize restrictive stasis. I mindfully do a few minutes of ankle flexion/extension exercises a couple times an hour to engage the calf muscles and assist venous return to the heart ... and remind my trip mates to do the same. Especially important if it's a long day on the water without portages.


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