Legs going numb

-- Last Updated: Jul-01-04 12:17 AM EST --

What would/could cause this to happen when paddling in a sea kayak?

pressure on your sciatic nerve I think

Outfitting and/or technique needs work
That’s what it usually comes down to.

Working on those will work to relieve both sciatic nerve pressure and pressure on femoral arteries reducing blood circulation - the two most common physical causes.

Good outfitting allows better position/support/and allows best possible technique. Good technique spreads the work over more muscle groups, keeps all parts moving, prevents pressure from being all in one spot, and greatly aids circulation.

I get out of my sea kayak after 4 hours with zero numbness, stiffness, or soreness (except the good kind later). I am more flexible after paddling than before. Paddling also seems to have resolved a long standing and rather serious lower back issue for me.

Here’s a few threads for you with MANY suggestions and thoughts:






my legs always spaaz out…
…if I’m in the boat too long, like over 4 or 5 hrs…age 50…if it hurts when you do that, don’t do that!

Cylindrical Pillow
aka boating fender under the knees. Try it you may like it.

For a sea or WW kayaker this
represents an possoble entrapment hazard. This should be evaluated, and with some caution. People have been non-lethally entrapped by a one gallon water bottle.

Stretching, extended seat pan for
thigh support, making sure your footpegs are set so your ankle angle is a minimum of 110 degrees, pushing and relaxing one leg at a time (on your stroke side). perhaps a cascade thigh supporting pillow if you do not want to form a new seat. A gel seat from salamander.

B nystrom’s kayak outfitting page on webshots is a wonderful place to start to fuse your kayak with your anatomy and optimize the relationship.

Good paddling to you!

Try Thigh Support
I used to take a section of kid’s swim noodle and put it under my thighs for comfort before I got the Phase 3 seat. Give it a shot and see if it helps. I still use a foam block under my ankles/calves for comfort.

The problem is the seat itself:

Inuits didn’t have seats in their kayaks - they didn’t need them since they were used to sitting on the floor.

In fact, no native boat that’s being used for paddling has ever had a seat.

You need “lumbar support” because as a westerner that’s not used to sitting on the floor you’d “fall backward” without some support for your back when your legs are stretched forward in front of you.

The seat’s back - the very thing that prevents you from falling backward creates a pressure point along your spine.

This is aggravated by the fact your legs (not used to sitting on the floor- remember?) are adding pressure on your back in that same point.

It’s one of kayaking’s dirty little secrets- Bite your lip and keep kayaking.

Now you know why the kayak seat has become a major issue in recent years: It’s a big, BIG problem :slight_smile:

peter_k where is?
Thanks everyone for the input and suggestions.

Peter_k, where/how do I find B nystroms’s web shot for outfitting? I just also read about foam build-up on the bulkhead instead of foot braces and I think I’d like to see the exact how-to on that, too.


bnystrom’s webshots galleries are here

No butt.
You need to gain some weight in your ass area so you don’t cut the circulation off to your legs when you sit down.

Jelly Donuts
yep place a jelly donut under each cheek


ditto sciatic nerve
go to www.kayakforum.com and search the topic. Making a good seat and developing postural muscles go together. Thermarest Sportseat almost deflated is good first aid.

I dunno. I sorta like the idea of Jelly Donuts! :wink:

No butt
You know… I can’t seem to do this. How do you do it?

All the fat goes to my mid-section. I can’t understand it.