feet falling alseep....

I got my first solo canoe last fall and am happy with it and getting use to the change. As I’d never been in a solo before, this was my first experience kneeling while paddling.

My problem is that after I’m on the water a 1/2 hr. or so my feet and ankle fall asleep, which of course takes a little joy out of my time on the river.

I have a kneeling pad, but am looking for ideas or gear recomendations to keep this from happening.

little help?

You can adjust your seat height
I take it you are supporting your butt against the seat front? Or using a kneeling thwart? Sounds like one is too low putting pressure on nerves…

It could be a variety of causes but try raising the seat edge a little. As you may not want to start cutting bolts willy nilly, use something to make the seat higher like a firm foam pad.

Half hour is pretty good for a start. Usually it takes time to work up to six hours at a stretch and for me the first outing each year is 20 min max. It takes a week of going out a couple of times a day to work up to three hours.

You might benefit from “pool noodles” supporting your ankles.

ankle pads

– Last Updated: Jan-02-10 2:33 PM EST –

will help put a little bend in your ankle.Assuming your flatfooted, try leaning forward and supporting your upper body somewhat on your boat while putting some bend into your ankles, like you had toe-blocks. Good to "unstretch" the ankles a bit and get some circulation going. Don't try this while approaching unfamiliar rapids!

try sitting nm

daggermat’s suggestion of ankle pads
is a good one. Also, if you have your knees TOO widely spread, this can put more stress on the ankles because your knees, being out toward the bilge, are higher than your ankles. Consider positioning your knees so that they aren’t higher than the ankles.

In open boats, a real cushy pad like some offered through Piragis.com may help.

its something to try
but not for me. I cannot paddle with foot bent up. I rest the top of my foot entirely on the bottom so no ankle pads. Among those who paddle for long periods on their knees there is a distinct division between foot flat(or pronated) and ankle bent.

Footwear has a large impact on your foot comfort too and what is right varies with posture. I get cramps with rigid soled footwear.

I have trouble Canadian Style when I am entirely on my ankles with no butt support. Then my feet do really go dead. Because of that I made a portable kneeling thwart.

not bent up
like using toe blocks, just some angle to the ankle. On my Encore (my all day kneeler) I used 2" minicell to start in the ankle area, then shaved it down 'til it was comfortable. It’s around 1.5" now, about the same as the knee and shin pads, but cut at an angle. Knee and shin you may ask…yeah, one sweet ride now. 4 hours in it yesterday, only got out when everyone was stopping. Got to figure out the C1’s now :-$.

I took me a while to get use to
kneeling for extended periods. I think Captainsmollett is right - if your feet are falling asleep from kneeling, then sit for a while. One of the advantages of paddling an open boat is that you get to move around, and there is nothing wrong with sitting on the seat.

You might also try some stretching to get the ankles and feet loosened up – like kneeing on a ball in front of the TV at night. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to get your feet and ankles stretched out.

I think time in the boat, some minor equipment changes suggested above, and some stretching will solve your problem. Good luck.

Thanks all
thanks for the feedback.

yeah, if you have a seat, sit awhile. I was thinking saddle, in which case the leaning forward and “taking a load off” method works.

Getting used to it
I think that half the battle is just getting used to the position. My ankles get very uncomfortable early in the season. If I have not been in the boat for a month or two it is uncomfortable. A couple things you can do are to go out and take some short trips to ease into it, or bring the boat in the house and sit in it. If you are a TV watcher, sit in it and watch TV. I sit in my boat and read p-net on my laptop.

When in the boat, change foot position–toes out behind you or toes tucked in under your ankle.

Maybe try what some of the others posted, but I don’t think you will find a quick fix. If you find a magic bullet, let me know.


Canted seat?
We are all assuming that your boat has a cant to the seat. Makes a world of difference.


2nd the pool noodles
These noodles under my ankles really extend my comfort time.