elbow tendinitis

I have been kayaking for 6 years and have developed tendinitus in both elbows. My kayak is a touring boat. Has anyone else had this condition? If so what have you done? Any ideas on good paddles for this condition? I really don’t want to live on Vioxx for the rest of my life! Thanks for whatever help you can offer.

I lost my elbow pain when I switched to a smaller blade and an ergo shaft (AT Exception). Been concentrating on torso rotation too.


Lateral epichondilitis
Been thru it with BOTH elbows over the last two+ years. Did the whole gammut of anti-inflammatory/cortisone/PT.

Identify potential causes. I work on computers a good deal and changing the mouse from right hand to left hand had great results. Any repetitive motion can aggravate the condition.

My best results have come from PT and avoidance of certain repetitive motion. I paddle canoes so the motion is different. After doing PT and avoiding (other) repetitive stuff, my right elbow is ok. Still getting past the left.

If you can, see a good orthopaedic Doc. Beyond that pay attention to the little motions.

I’ve not had recurrence due to paddling, it seems to be the small stuff like 'puter work with bad ergonomics.

Hope this helps. I literally feel your pain.



Agree with smaller blade
I developed elbow pain last year using a Toksook that resolved when switched back to my Windswift. Started recently when I was using a really large bladed Double Dutch, again resolved by switching back to the Windswift.

I had some trouble last year that came from surfing I found I was squeezing the paddle to tightly when trying to control the boat, a compression strap and relaxing my grip cured it.

50-60mg daily. That’s what got rid of mine. Also try a bent shaft paddle, torso rotation, and a looser grip.

Good medicine; damn the doctors and their synthetic chemicals!


If it’s the same thing…
…as “tennis elbow”, my chiropractor fixed mine in one (painful) adjustment. Then avoid the causes, as mentioned in the other responses.

So what do you think the active ingredient in the seeds are?

Natural Chemicals! LOL!!
Actually, grape seed extract contains flavonols called proanthocyanidins. These powerful antioxidants heal inflamed tissues. Nontoxic, extremely safe, no side effects, can be taken indefinitely.

That’s bullshit from hucksters
that peddle natural health aides. Paracelcus the father of medicinal pharmacology said all "all poisons are medicines and all medicines are poisons, the difference is the dose. Peer reviewed research has already show these compounds to be toxic on heart cells.

See below from pubmed:

Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2003;3(4):331-9. Related Articles, Links

Grape seed proanthocyanidins induce pro-oxidant toxicity in cardiomyocytes.

Shao ZH, Vanden Hoek TL, Xie J, Wojcik K, Chan KC, Li CQ, Hamann K, Qin Y, Schumacker PT, Becker LB, Yuan CS.

Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, Emergency Resuscitation Research Center, and Department of Medicine, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE), a polyphenolic compound with antioxidant properties, may protect against cardiac ischemia and reperfusion injury. However, its potential toxicity at higher doses is unknown. The authors tested the effects of GSPE on reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, cell survival, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, and caspase- 3 activity using chick cardiomyocytes incubated with GSPE at 5, 10, 50, 100, or 500 micrograms/mL in medium for 8 h. Exposure to increasing concentrations of GSPE (100 or 500 micrograms/mL) resulted in an increase in ROS generation and cell death as measured by propidium iodide uptake and LDH release. Caspase-3 activity was significantly increased fourfold in cells exposed to GSPE 500 micrograms/ mL compared to controls; this was abolished by the selective caspase-3 inhibitor Ac-Asp-Gln-Thr-Asp-H (50 microM), which also significantly reduced the cell death resulting from GSPE (500 micrograms/mL). The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC, 100 microM) reduced cell death induced by GSPE (500 micrograms/mL) but failed to attenuate caspase-3 activation. Collectively, the authors conclude that higher doses of GSPE could cause apoptotic cell injury via effector caspase-3 activation and subsequent induction of ROS generation. Consumers may take higher doses of dietary supplements in the belief that natural herbs have no major side effects. This study demonstrates that dosages of GSPE should be optimized to avoid potential harmful pro-oxidant effects.

PMID: 14734830 [PubMed - in process]

Smaller blade helps
I also have tennis elbow in both arms. It started in my right arm from excessive casting . Too many hours of bass fishing. Then developed in the left arm after I started to kayak. A smaller bladed paddle and compression bands on arms does help a lot. I to went thru pt years ago when it first started it helped some. The pain comes and goes depending on how much activity I do. Right now it’s kind of in remission since I’ve not been fishing or paddling. However, the new season is close and I’m sure it will be back. A loose grip on the paddle will help slightly also.

Good luck!

I have it intermittantly in both elbows
and paddling has never caused it. Paddling actually seems to help. So do elbow braces, ibuprofen , and carpal tuunel exercises.

What cranks it up is overuse of my thumb and first 2 fingers. Think screwdriver, jar lids,typing.

BS or not
it worked for me.


You might want to search the
archives a bit, as this subject has come up several times before.

My experience with it is that the following things can contribute, in decreasing order or likelihood:

  1. Increasing distance or intensity too quickly. Paddling is fun, and when people start they tend to overdo it. Ideally, you’d like to have 3-4 shorter workouts a week, and increase your mileage at most 20% per year.

  2. Not keeping the wrist neutral. I have had very good luck suggesting to peoplel that they try an adjustable feather blade, and then carefully figure out at which feather angle they are able to keep both wrists absolutely “straight” throughout the stroke, i.e. no cocking the wrist for feathering–no extension or flexion fo the wrist at all. I put “straight” in quotes because a “straight” wrist is actually slightly flexed–it’s the neutral position that your hand falls into when resting in your lap.

  3. Experiencing excessive “yaw” in the wrist, i.e. side to side motion. This can be reduced by using a bent-shaft paddle blade. When I began kayaking, I had tendinitis, and this worked for me. Now, having built up very carefully, I am able to use a straight-shaft (Greenland) blade.

  4. Surpising little hidding wrist movements somewhere in your stroke. Many people have an odd wiggle that they do without realizing it, most often at the catch or at the release. Video yourself or have a friend watch to see if you’re doing something weird. Kind of the way many runners have an idiosyncrasy in their gait that they never feel, but that everyone else can see.

  5. Holding the shaft too tightly. If you have good stroke mechanics you should be able to completely open your pushing hand on each stroke. When you pull, hook your fingers around the shaft–don’t grip too hard.

    Hope that helps,


And another thing
Sanjays comment regarding not gripping the paddle too tightly is very important. I have noticed that the ergo shaft of the AT paddle seems to encourage a loose grip of the upper hand.

Good luck!


Let yourself heal.

– Last Updated: Feb-07-04 9:17 PM EST –

I swing pipe wrenches and lift stuff over my head for a living (hey someone has got to do it) and suffer from shoulder and elbow discomfort enough to know paddling doesnt help me feel any better with the sore muscles/tendons. Vioxx is a great thing but make sure that if you are sore, you need to heal up before things can improve. Masking discomfort with vioxx doesnt make you heal. You can get relief with vioxx but if you havent healed you will need a lot more of it.
My doctor has told me that soreness from bicep tendonitis can take up to two months to heal and that I should consider a greenland paddle to lessen the impact of paddling on my aging bones. I told him I like to paddle so the greenland stick is out. :)
So now I take vioxx too and try not to do anything at work so I can feel better when I am paddling.
Do have have a solid forward stroke? I ask because many paddlers use their arms for propulsion instead of the much more effective larger muscles groups in the abdomen and lower back. If you are an arm paddler, you could limit you soreness by using your whole body instead of your arms. Your arms will thank you.

neck pain
before I got involved with wing paddles and going faster, I used to have intense pain at the bottom of my neck after a long paddle. I also used to pad out my hip pads and seat along with a back band to create a “tight " fit. this helped for rolling, but did very little for torso rotation. in the years since, I have slowly lost the hip pads and have a much looser fit. when I’m sore in the right places, it is usually in the lower side back muscles and in between the"chicken wings”. My knees go up and down on each stroke and my hips rotate. This is part of using more of my stronger muscles instead of my arm muscles. If you are pulling too much wiht your arms, you could be stressing the joints associated with that motion. the more you can distirbute the force of propelling the kayak throughout your body, the less wear and tear each part will incur.

Same here
Paddling itself doesn’t bring it on, but loading and unloading boats, un-doing of two-peice paddle, small things like that does. Sometimes putting on the spray skirt hurts like hell.

When I rent from outfits on the water, use a loose spray skirt, paddling actually helps.

Greenland style paddle
Lower stress

better technique
As you plant your left paddle blade in the water, try keeping your right elbow bent as you lead with your right shoulder. Then finish your stroke with the straightening of right arm. A straight arm is feared by bench pressers because it causes overextension. I wasted years paddling wrong but then spent a few practice sessions with olmpic flatwater paddlers and they are the best. try www.usack.org flatwater for a club where you can really learn For me the rotation was learned with “frankenstein paddling” . As a paddle drill to teach rotation, have elbows straight and force lower body to rotate