Numb Feet

When I paddle my Current designs Isle my feet (right more then left) get numb. seems to start in the ball of foot and heel as well until entire foot is very numb. I recently bought a Current design Gulfstream and do not have this problem.

Odd that it only happens in the Isle. as far as i can tell the foot pegs are adjusted similarly on both boats. The Gulfstream is a bit tighter at the hips and i would think this would contribute but it is in the more roomy boat that i have issues.

Any ideas? I have seem some inserts that slip over the foot rests but wonder if they are at all effective? Any experience with these items?

Maybe a gel foam pad between the hull and my heels?

The numbness begins after only 30 minutes or so.

Maybe pegs not adjusted properly?

Just how should they be adjusted? Instep of feet touching pegs and then mvre ball of feet to pegs to engage thigh braces? Or better to always have contact with thigh braces?

It is likely an adjustment issue but I have yet to find the sweet spot.

Any thougths or advice are appreciated.

you are working harder to feel well attached in the roomier boat.

But easiest on feet is bracing against a block of minicell foam rather than foot pegs. Shape slices of it (1 to 3 inch width) to the inside of your boat the foam blocks get to where your feet should be.


– Last Updated: Jul-26-16 10:17 AM EST –


Are you suggesting cementing the minicell to the surface of the foot braces?

Braces are like these

try moving your feet and legs around
to see if that lessens the numbness.

Uh, yeah. Been there done that.

Numbness is often related to sitting position, type of seat, and your flexibility. Especially in legs, but perhaps in feet also. If you are not very flexible (as most people aren’t) starting a stretching routine could help. One area to focus on is hamstrings, but pretty much all of your core areas would be good to hit.

There is a video called Yoga for Kayaking by Anna Levesque (pro white water kayaker) that I have used and it helped a lot.

Wearing the same shoes

– Last Updated: Jul-26-16 1:00 PM EST –

in each boat? Wearing shoes at all?

I’d start with analyzing pressure.
Everyone’s feet go numb if they’re applying a lot of pressure to the foot pegs, so I’d start with that. Based on the post about hand positions, I wouldn’t assume that anything is currently operating perfectly symmetrically. Why one boat vs. the other? Who knows? Maybe the extra room allows you to settle into your more natural feeling position, and maybe that position is a bit hinky?

It was a few years of solid kayaking before I realized that my hips weren’t rotating the same in both directions. I realized it was like I was keeping my hips tensed up or locked up when rotating back on the left side, and it happened very naturally on the right. It took me a bit of practice to get it ironed out, as when hinky movements feel the most natural, you have developed muscle structure that supports those hinky movements. And you have to make a conscious effort to do something feeling less natural to transform your body until that becomes the new natural-feeling motion.

I would suggest going out and making a conscious effort to apply less pressure to that foot. Make sure you’re only applying pressure during the stroke on that side, and only what you need. Make sure you’re releasing all pressure when the stroke is over, until the next stroke on that side begins. Do it from the start, not after you feel the foot numbness. And just see if you can keep both feet good if you’re always focusing on it. Analyze your leg movement and your hip movement while you’re at it. See if anything comes to light.

stretching legs
lower back …standard ex …but try bending over legs apart palms near ground n reach out left n right bend forward try getting the muscles around the back pelvis in action then do runners stretches for legs.

I use a gallon water jug plus ankle weight rope looped off my toes to ex the ankle muscles of which there are 2 twist n back n forth.

yes, the angling of hip thru knee to heel should be experimented with…that is pressure at the wrong area in hip may caws numbness in foot.

heel pad. yes. there are toe pads in the pharmacy.

check your shoe heels for wear. no worn shoe heels. makes the pelvis tilt the wrong way. heel counters of cardboard.

wiggle your toes. write that on your forehead. WIGGLE THE TOES. wiggle several times an hour for the next 6 months.

get a foot massage. search foot massage. try the rollers.

get a new pair of sneakers. try sandals. wash feet n go barefoot indoors.

how’s the seat pad ? buy a new one…

drink more water

No- more here
Solid blocks that replace any need for foot pegs.

Here is an article on it -

Could be the seat

– Last Updated: Jul-26-16 10:26 PM EST –

I have a chair at home that lately, if I use it at the computer for an extended time, my left foot goes numb. The cause seems to be pressure on my sciatic nerve, but there's no discomfort or pain whatsoever associated with sitting, and I base the diagnosis only on the fact that that's where the pressure is when I sit, though there's nothing obviously different about *that* chair. I figure it's an age-related thing since that chair never bothered me a single time over many years.

Oh, by the way, changing the shape of that chair just a little with a folded towel cures the numb-foot problem, and the change is so slight that if it weren't for my foot I'd hardly be able to tell there was a difference.

With numbness, always be willing to look beyond the location of the symptoms when discovering the cause. I had another example illustrating this very thing just last night, but won't bore anyone with the details. The principle applies though. Issues caused by nerve trouble often have a cause which is very far "upstream" of where you perceive the problem to be.

^2nd this
This is why I suggested to move your legs around. It’s quite possible the numbness isn’t caused by the pegs, but by your seat or your seating position.


Appreciate the suggestion. Did not intend to be condescending if I came off that way.

I will try a variety of things besides moving feet. First I will wear water shoes as opposed to barefoot. Maybe thin seat pad etc.

i know in time I will work it out.

Thanks again.


Oh, those style, have those on 1 of mine
I have major “nerve impingement” issues in several areas of my body, combination of damage and some assymetry/aging issues.

Each kayak requires a different solution to get myself aligned, so various parts don’t go numb in paddling, but the BASIC seat position holding still is fine. (Before committing to each kayak, I sat in them a very long time on land on a level surface to make sure my spine got along with the seat alignment). If my head is too far forward, the C-spine is now out of alignment and then other areas start to express discomfort quickly.

If I am going to have to lean forward, my back needs to stay straightish. If I am going to lean back, wearing a pfd, my back… the stupid $ nice pfd and my seatback require foam pad enhancement. The really cheap pfd otherwise. Go figure.

Does a quarter or a half inch matter? Yup.

Ever ridden a bicycle for miles with your seat in the wrong position, screwing up your natural foot position on the pedals, and not felt the annoyance? Same thing.

So my first thought was that between these two kayak models you use, on one of them your spine is more out of alignment when you are actually paddling, but the end result is you are doing other things to compensate, for balance and power in the paddle stroke, without realizing it, then you are pushing too hard on peg with the wrong part of the foot, and the nerves are now screaming at you this is all wrong. I bet you don’t even realize that you’re bringing your head out of alignment for this one kayak. You can’t really “fix” this with a gel pad. You have to get back in position by either adjusting the seat or peg position which allows the foot to be right where it needs to be during foot engagement.

Some situations (casual) I just take off the shoes and go barefoot on those pegs. The most important part (for me) besides not letting my head come too far forward relative to spine, is keeping the knee flexed slightly, even when putting pressure on that foot against the peg. I don’t jam the heel into the bottom of the boat, but press with the ball of the foot, then release. To do this, I cut a chunk off a pool noodle and shim it under my knee. Now, if I do lean forward for a few seconds, I can still keep my head not too far forward, which in turn makes my arm muscles so much easier to use.

Heads are so heavy. Posture. Posture. Posture. Keeping your head tucked back makes your core your power center, and takes stress off your arms. Less arm stress, less foot stress.

Because I may be coming in on a very rocky shoreline, I always have a pair of something with a real sole clipped into the boat hatch with me, even if I have gotten into the kayak with just flip flops.

Yes, the discount box store $7 flip flop and $2.99 pool noodle is the only thing saving my sanity when trying to fit my feet into kayak footwells. Why in the name of the Water Deities do they make this area so… so… small? There is no end of money you can spend at REI type stores for something that you can walk in, but DOES NOT FIT INTO THE FOOTWELLS and makes your entire foot go numb in 5 minutes. But at least you looked stylish on the boat loading ramp!

I, for the Love of Neptune, can’t get my feet located optimal on those pegs in most shoes.

I have tried using otherwise perfect trail running shoes and nearly killed myself because several pairs of those seem to be excessively slick bottomed when trying to walk on WET, submerged cold water river polished cobblestones. gaaaaaah. Yeah I can run thru mud and trail debris but can’t do gravel sandbars in those. At all. Always test shoes in the actual water conditions first.

I have a serious pair of generic knockoff but sturdy water shoes which also work with this one kayak, if i am “supposed” to have a covered foot. Alas after several years they are now getting sort of worn and stiff. Using those, I have to re- shim my seat back with more pool noodle because I have to now move the pegs and they lift my heels up higher. Higher toes mean I have to flex the ankles a bit more, to have the ball of the foot against the peg when pushing hardest. But again, for me, the important part is that I have the knee slightly flexed and the ball of the foot is the part engaging the peg, not the instep or heel. The ball of the foot is where you push off when you run, think of it that way. Don’t be a heel striker on your kayak pegs.

Alas, FINDING a universal pair of hard soled, non slip water shoes that works with the different kayaks is IMPOSSIBLE in my case, due to the shape of the foot well rest area, most shoes, and my feet. Okay, then, barefoot or water socks. But the stupid water socks come off in the currents!

The other kayaks really do work best when I’m barefoot, so I went to the inexpensive “Big” sports store and obtained several inexpensive models of very soft minimalist covered toe and sandal-like water shoes.

I almost always toss the flip flops into the hatch so I at least have something when coming ashore, if I have had a bootie get sucked off. Keep fingers crossed.

not at all. I’ve been there
It took me awhile to adjust ot the boat I have now, even though the seat bucket was comfortable. My leg from the knee down would get a bit sore and my foot would go numb.

I added a pool noodle along the edge of the seat to lift my thighs a bit more, which seems to have helped. But sometimes I still have to move my legs or feet about.

I’d move the pegs forward a bit
If it takes 30 minutes to get numb, then a small adjustment might fix it. I’d move the pegs forward one notch to see if it improves. Then try another notch on each successive paddle.

After that, I’d try extending the seat with a pad or pool noodle to see if that helps.

And the thing that helped me was to adjust the angle of the seat pan. I need a level seat with a little wedge of support it the back of the seat and no other back support. Others want the pan of the seat tilted up at the front and down at the back which is really back for me.

Hope this helps.