OK I’ve managed to develop a nasty case of tendonitus in my right forearm/elbow.

I normaly paddle on the left (right hand on the T grip) using a variety of on and offside strokes.

This spring I had noticed a little tenderness in my right forearm the day after a hard paddle but nothing to really bother me.

About a month ago I tried hit & switch, two three hour sessions a week apart. By the end of the second my right elbow was screaming at me every time I took the blade out of the water for recovery.

My question is is there anything techniquewise that I should be looking out for either in my standard left side or switch paddling that might be causing this?



There’s a book,
Called The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, by Claire Davies. It’s a great book for the non medical person to work out their own “kinks.” I reccommend it to most of my clients for home use and I use the trigger points on many of them in my practice. I swear by this book.

Anyway, it will show you all your TP’s in your arm that could be causing your pain. Thing is, even with changing your technique, tendonitis and/or very tight forearm muscles take a very long time to work themselves out. You can cut that time in half…maybe even less…by applying self massage. Good luck, I’m very familiar with forearm pain myself, so I understand.

Band It
Hi Tommy,

Sorry about the tendonitus. I’ve had a rough time with it in the last year. It started from some bad j-stroking technique.

This doesn’t address your form question directly, but a product called bandit really helped let me keep paddling while the tendonitus subsided through better technique and time.

The massage book sounds good too. I did some of that not really knowing what I was doing, but it seemed to help.

Good luck.

Some thoughts and suggestions
1. Are you a fairly new paddler and possibly trying to get to a level that is beyond your limits right now?

2. What type paddle and how heavy is it?

I noticed you mentioned the “T” handle. Once I went to the rounded oval handle, I would never go back to a T handle.

If you don’t have a light weight ZRE bentshaft and can get your hands on one to try it out you might see a big difference.

3. Where are you bringing the paddle out of the water? If behind you that might be your problem.

Keep in mind that you are not pushing the water behind you. You are pulling the boat forward.

4. There are two ways to do the forward stroke; one is the out of the water and straight up and forward before the plant, and the other is the “D” or instead of straight forward a slight arc to the side as you come forward.

Whichever one you are doing, try the other.

5. Have a knowledgeable paddler critique your form.

Over the years I have been fortunate to have a bunch of good paddlers give me hints and pick up on mistakes that I was making.

Lastly if you are working your butt off that could be the cause.

You and your canoe should both love each other and have a feeling of complete harmony. If while you are paddling you don’t get that feeling that you could go on forever then you are doing something wrong and need to have someone assess you.

Wow, just writing this makes me want to grab my partner and go paddle.

Good luck, and I hope it works out.



new paddler??
don’t even know the guy, but he paddles a Slasher so he ain’t new! Tommy is a C1 whitewater guy who will always be needing a T grip, and going hard.

good luck with that Tommy, may need to take a break and seek professional help till it gets under control.


New to sit & switch
which is like being a new paddler only worse. I’ve been watching the Mike & Tanya Fries video but I realy ought to hook up with the local race crowd and see who might be able to tell what I’m doing wrong besides honking away with my big old whitewater stick.

I was going to come back…
…and suggest their video.

I learned a lot from it.


Maybe shorter paddling sessions
would be helpful until healed. Three hours seems like alot when learning new technique with new equipment. Different muscle & joint use. Just switching from single blade to double blade or visa versa, after not having used the other for a month or more, it’s quite obvious that muscles & joints are used and stressed differently. Just work into the new setup slowly.