Why Do My Legs, Arms And Knees Hurt After Kayaking?

Some might think that kayaking is easy and do not consider the tremendous force it applies to one’s body during a trip. Kayaking uses almost all the muscles in your body, from your shoulders down to your ankles.

Your legs, arms, and knees might hurt after kayaking because you either didn’t stretch them before departing, don’t have the right paddle, don’t use the proper paddling technique, or you overworked the muscles in your body beyond the point that they are used to being worked.

Let’s unpack each of these areas in more detail and find out why they hurt and how to prevent and treat injuries from your latest kayaking adventure.

Why Do My Legs Hurt After Kayaking

You might be experiencing numbness in your calves, hamstring, or upper thigh muscles after kayaking. 

These feelings happen when you sit slumped over while you paddle, you could be applying pressure to the sciatic nerves and the blood vessels in your legs.

Why Do My Arms Hurt After Kayaking

As you paddle, you will find that as one arm pushes, the other pulls; this is known as a catch-and-pull action. 

This catch-and-pull action works primarily on your biceps. However, your forearm muscles are also constantly engaged by gripping and maneuvering the paddle. 

Why Do My Knees Hurt After Kayaking

The most common reason why your knees hurt after kayaking is most likely due to your seat not being properly adjusted to your height. 

Another reason could be that your paddling technique is inefficient if you are not engaging your entire body. 

At the same time you paddle, you could be putting unnecessary strain on your knees by constantly flexing both your legs to keep you stable as you paddle.

Ways To Prevent Body Pains After Kayaking

The best way to prevent body pains after kayaking is to warm up the muscle groups you will engage when you paddle before you set out. 

Like any other sport, warm-ups are crucial to prevent injury and stiffness and help your muscles and tendons stretch throughout your workout.

How To Prevent Leg Pains

Let’s list a few simple stretches you can do before setting out to help prevent sore legs.

  1. Stretch your quads by holding your foot with your outside hand, lifting it behind you while keeping your thighs and knees together. 
  2. Stretch your hamstring by placing your foot in front of you, leaning your torso forward over your extended leg, and bending your supporting leg.
  3. Stretch your inner thigh by starting with a wide stance while bending your knee and shifting your entire body weight until you feel a slight pull in your inner thigh.

How To Prevent Arm Pains

Stretching your arms before going out onto the water is vital if you want to avoid sore arms after kayaking. Here are a few simple stretches you can do.

  1. Interlock your fingers behind your back, and straighten your arms while turning your palms outwards.
  2. Sit down with your hands flat behind you on the ground with your fingers facing outwards. With straight arms, shift your hips forwards until you feel your biceps stretching.
  3. While sitting or standing, extend your arms, so they are parallel to your body. Twist your wrist so that your thumbs face down to the ground, then return to the neutral position; repeat this step several times until you feel your forearm muscle softens.

How To Prevent Knee Pains

One of the most common kayaking injuries many people sustain is knee injuries. Being diligent in stretching your knees before starting could prevent long-term issues. 

Here are a few simple knee stretches you can do before jumping into your kayak.

  1. Place one of your feet in front of you and lean forward as far as you can while resting your hand on your knee. Be sure to keep your opposing foot flat on the ground behind you.
  2. Start on your back, and cross one of your feet over the opposite bent knee. Hold the back of your leg and pull it towards your chest.
  3. Lying on your side, keep your bottom leg straight and pull your top foot towards your body while bending your knee.

Ways To Treat Body Pains From Kayaking

Like any other sport, you risk injuring yourself if you fail to warm up properly or use the wrong technique. 

If you find yourself with body pains after kayaking, here are a few things you can do to treat your sore muscles.

Rest: The first step is always to rest the affected muscle group and give it time to recover.

Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Do not apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Compression: Wrapping the affected area with an elastic bandage can help reduce swelling.

Massage: Gently massaging the affected area can help increase blood flow and reduce pain and stiffness

Let’s say you think you have a severe injury.

In that case, the best thing to do is see a professional who will diagnose and treat your specific injury with a tailored recovery program. 

However, if you don’t think you are seriously injured, there are other treatments you can do at home for your sore muscles. 

Ways To Treat Leg Pains

If you feel cramps in your legs after overusing from kayaking, you can treat these cramps at home by resting as must as you can while keeping your legs elevated. Try applying ice to the affected muscle for 15 minutes four times daily. 

After you have used the ice, gently stretch and massage your legs. Using over-the-counter muscle relaxing medication could also help speed up recovery time.

Ways To Treat Arm Pains

The treatment for arm pains after kayaking is very similar to the treatment for leg pains in that you need to rest, elevate and ice any sore arm muscles. 

You might also find that wearing a compression bandage could help reduce swelling.

Ways To Treat Knee Pains

The best way to treat knee pains is to rest your knees. Reduce strain on your knees by taking a break from your normal activities. 

Place an ice pack on the knee that is affected, but be careful not to ice it for more than twenty minutes at a time. 

Some people relieve knee pain by applying a heat pack or hot water bottle to the affected knee. 

Lastly, consider using a compression bandage to help prevent fluid buildup; make sure the dressing is tight enough without interfering with blood circulation.

Final Word

Many factors lead to sore arms, legs, and knees after kayaking. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can utilize to help prevent and treat these sore muscles to get you back to being your usual self once again. 

Keeping the simple stretches and recovery techniques in this article in mind before and after a kayaking session will keep you paddling for many years without much pain. So have fun on your next kayaking trip!

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