legs on long trips

I.ve been paddling now for about a year mostly on weekends year around.I have a very serious problem. My legs fall asleep after about 5 miles or so. I’ve tried padding but nothing seems to help. thanks

Do you sit at work for long periods
I hear many paddlers talking about leg numbness and many of them have one thing in common. They all sit at work for 8 hours a day and are not very athletic. This sounds like it becomes a significant deterrence to paddling because when you sit in a kayak your leg position forces you to stretch leg muscles that don’t get stretched otherwise. It gets uncomfortable quickly.

Obviously I don’t know what you do at work nor do I know if you have much physical activity in your daily travels but I would suggest stretching your leg muscles for several minutes as a way to ready your butt before getting into your boat and paddling more frequently but in shorter time intervals until you can tolerate this new leg positioning. I tyhink putting in some time in the seat will make future paddling easier.

Also I would suggest that you sit in your kayak with your legs in as bent a position as your deck will allow. I think this position might be better than sitting with the legs out flat in front of you if this is how you are doing it now. I think a little bend in the knee might alleviate some tension in the posterior. It seems as though people that ride bikes frequently and those that stand on their feet all day or walk for excercise have better tolerances for paddling because they have built up some butt muscle. It takes time for your body to get use to this new body positioning and to build up some meat.

There is a good chance I dont have a clue what I am talking about (wouldn’t be the first time)but I making observations from other paddlers and trying to help. What you are going through is pretty common with several common denomenators being work and lack of time in physical activity. Not implying anything. What do you think?

Is the padding raising your thighs? I have found that I can’t be comfortable without support under my thighs.

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately fitness and flexablity is probably not the problem. Although I am 40 years old and not quite as fit as I once was, my job as a professional firefighter forces me to stay in pretty decent shape. I guess that is part of the reason this problem frustrates me so much, I have always been able to do just about anything I wanted to do without these kinds of problems. I’m sure there must be some solution. thanks

you paddle a SINK I assume?
…I’ll bet SOT owners don’t have this problem as often. I think a lot of us (more as the years go by!) have this problem. It limits my time on the water. I’ve tried padding too. Only changing my legs’ positions helps, and my cockpit is a little tight, so I quickly exhaust the few positions possible. Once, when getting out of the boat, I fell flat on my face…my legs were so numb I couldn’t stand up!

Easy test
get an Old blanket or towel or something wod it up under your thighs see if this helps. I cant paddle long distances with out my under thigh pad.

WS phase 3 seat?
When I bought my Pungo, the salesperson made a big deal about the new phase 3 seat. It has a little adjusting cord in the front that raises the seat up to support the hamstrings. I couldn’t imagine how long I’d have to be in a kayak before my hamstrings tightened but evidently it’s a common problem–perhaps more for men.

It sounds like the advice you’ve been given about supporting your thighs might be just the thing to make a difference. And a few minutes of stretching is probably a good idea–both before you get in the boat and when you stop for a break.

Good luck.

Been paddling for years
Been paddling for a good many years but recently the numbness and incredibly painful aching has gotten unbarable and everytime I paddle not random. I do believe its got alot to do with sitting allday in the office and possibly years of cycling without proper stretching, and most recently hardly any cycling, walking or running to maintain the muscle m-ass that may help to protect the nerves in question. All roads of the cure tend to lead towards, stretching, snugger fit of the kayak, many say padding under the knees but this doesn’t work for me, sometimes a looser fit works better, padding the seat may work but many kayaks stability prevent this option, different backband will be my next attempt to solve the problem. I have tried padded seat, no padding, no seat, no padding on floor of boat, raised padding under legs, longer seat, raised knees, lower knees, if you find the cure let the world know. One boat hurts me, the other boat doesn’t, go figure.


Stretching (homemade remedy)
I just started yesterday with some office stretching or hope to stretch my hamstrings by placing a box full of magazines and info, two phone books and a brief case under my desk and placing legs across it while working on the computer, you can get the same result sitting on the floor while watching TV but I don’t watch alot but have 8 hours a day at the office. Right now Im just high enough to get a gentle pull on the hamstrings and lower back.


Get a canoe.
It solved my leg problem.

Use your legs when you paddle
Are you using your feet to “drive” the boat on your forward stroke? I find that when I pay attention to proper form (that means driving the boat with pressure to the footpeg on the stroke side) then my legs and feet don’t fall asleep. When I’m asleep on the job, not paying attention to what my legs and feet are doing, that’s when they go to sleep as well. I sit in an office all day, and have tight hamstrings too, but without changing anything in my outfitting or seating, I was able to overcome by getting that pumping action with the legs.


Pumping action
Im guessing pushing with right leg when right blade is in the water and vice verse.

Are you able to push with your entire leg or just your foot the way your foot pegs or rudder are adjusted.


I am a nurse-midwife, work
part-time and seldom sit on the job, unless I need to suture:) I also work out, and am quite fit. I had the same problem when making the move to a sink. It is my understanding that it is pressure on the sciatic nerve. Changing the angle of the seat,and paddling, especially some sort of thigh support will usually alleviate this.

I currently have my avocet at the outfitter, where I purchased my boat. They are building up the foam padding under the seat, and changing the angle. I am also having the foot pegs removed, and they are placing additional foam in front of the bulkhead. This way I will be able to change my foot positions, while still maintaining good contact with my boat. I may still need to add more foam support under the thighs to minimize this effect completely.

My secret
Bike, run, paddle, hike, cross country ski, split fire wood, build houses, shear Christmas trees, dig holes, build stone walls, build bridges.

-After the first forty years or so the body quits complaining, and from then on you have it made pain free.

Cheers, and stay happy!


My footpegs are solid - no rudder. I put pressure on the footpeg, flexing my foot and extending my leg slightly. You should feel it using your calves, quads and glutes.


Jack , maybe you just learned to
live with it. If I had a day without pain,I’d think I was dead.