aching fingers

hi all, i have been paddling kayak and open ocean racing for a long time and just recently the middle finger on both hands is swollen and aches. for 3 weeks now. has anyone experienced this? i did change my stroke to more vertical but can’t imagine that would cause this. i even went to the m.d. and had it x-rayed with no conclusion. normal. he says maybe a sprain but i ask ‘on both hands?’


Just a guess…
Perhaps you are gripping the paddle too tightly. On my hands, at least, the portion of the muscle on each finger that is in contact with the paddle is largest on the middle finger, so I would guess that it would be that finger that would be sore if you are gripping too tight. Try relaxing the top hand on each stroke and only gripping your power hand, along with trying a more relaxed grip even on the power stroke. Except in really gnarly conditions involving wind and cross currents, you only need enough grip to control the blade angle and travel.


When did you start racing the Hawiwian open canoe - is that recent or a long established thing?

outrigger canoe
hi celia, do you paddle outrigger? i’ve been on the dana point outrigger racing team for a few years. the season starts in mid may and goes to mid october, but i train all year. to stay in condition through the winter i do distance races on a mako6 surfski made by fenn kayak south africa. 17" wide x 21’ long. what do you do for fun?


I’ve had it happen, too
Those are the fingers that take the bulk of the pressure when paddling, at least with the techniques I use. Usually for me, it’s the second joint that gets sore. Other than ice, pain killers and rest, there’s probably not much you can do for it. It’s just part of getting older…

No - asked 'cause…
it occurred to me that if it was recent it may have contributed to the ache. I know that the rare times I get into a canoe these days (I like any kind of paddle boat, it’s just time) I use my hand and fingers a bit differently than when kayaking.

It sounds fun though - that and a couple of other non-kayak or canoe paddle boats are on the list of things to do when I can lose this dratted job thing. If our new gov decides to shed state workforce with an incentive I’ll be back here asking more about how you get into that kind of paddling.

shape of paddle shaft

You also might wanna take a look at the shape of the paddle’s shaft. A perfectly round shaft will “use” more of the fingers…or(more accurately)…get less from your palm than with an oval-shaped surface, thus putting more force on the fingers during the “pull”…im_($.01)_o.


You must be getting old
Life is flipping you the bird.

padding with bike tape
Think golf shaft for old hands. I use 1in wide by 6in long pieces of thin white ethafoam under push pull part of kayak grip for index mark and to give illusion of flex to soften pressure on shoulders. 2 face tape under where hands go then total of 4 pieces of foam wrapped with elect tape or bike tape

I have the same issue with my foot.

– Last Updated: Jan-31-07 5:57 PM EST –

I'm told the way I walk puts too much pressure at the sore point.Xrays show nothing , but a nerve is getting beat on and reacting. You need to distribute that pressure. Do they make orthotics for hands?
It sounds like you are gripping the paddle too hard.

Go to the Dark Side…
Get a Greenland Paddle!

thanks dave
wrapped gripping spots with handle bar thick tape for my morning workout today. feels good, hoping for some relief

thanks for the tip


thank you eric