I have always had serious foot pain when kneeling in my Wenonah Argosy. The pain is on the top of the foot from the ankle down to the start of the toes. If you sit in a chair, straighten your leg out, and then point your toes down and forward you can feel the area that I am getting stressed.
For reference, the Argosy has the height adjustable seat and for kneeling I set it with the front and rear at the heighest settings which leaves the seat slanted slightly forward. It is probably between a 1 and 2 inch drop from the rear to the front. I have tried kneeling with my toes pointed straight back and feet separated, with my legs pointing inward so my feet are almost touching, and with the legs spread wide and the toes pointing slightly outward. Pain develops the same in all the cases.
If I just kneel on the carpeted floor with my thighs vertical (front of shoulders almost directly over knees) then I have not pain. If I lower my butt down and back I start to feel tightness in the top of my foot. If I go low and far back enough I start to feel the pain. If I do something similar in the canoe I find that if I kneel with a little angle to my thighs (butt slightly lowered) and supported by contact with the front edge of the seat on the back of my upper thighs I am perfectly comfortable. If I try to sit back more so that I am more or less sitting on the front 1/3 of the angled seat I start haveing the pain. If I sit all the way up on the seat (as I do when sitting) my knees come off the bottom of the canoe and I feel I am losing the use of my knees for balancing the canoe.
Now for my questions:
- Should I have the support contact be from the front edge and at my upper thighs or should I be kneeling such that the support contact is from the top of the seat and on my butt? My center of gravity is definitely higher in the first case and I do feel less stable (although much more comfortable) this way.
- How far above the bottom of the canoe is the front edge of a seat used for kneeling? I paddled a Bell Yellowstone Solo which had a more “normal” flat seat nearer the gunnels and found it very comfortable for kneeling
- Do you sit on top of kneeling thwarts or get support more on you thighs from the front edge of the thwart?
- Is it generally considered less stressful to kneel with the legs inward, straight back, or outward?
- Were can I order “ankle blocks”? In the past someone suggested these might help with my pain. I assume these are placed so the support press is on my shin right at the ankle rather than on the instep just above my toes.
I really like the way kneeling gives me a feeling of control (much like in sea kayak) but I can only take it for very short periods. Switching positions often between rapids is something I would like to avod.
Thanks for any help you could give me.