Rotator cuff problem related to Wing ?

Anyone know of a relationship between rotator cuff injuries and paddling with a Wing paddle? I switched to a wing about two months ago, and now I’ve developed an intermitent sore shoulder. At times I can’t lift my arm above elbow height. The pain and limit to motion lasts about 3 days, each day I get more motion and less pain.

At first I thought it was related to lifting my kayak awkwardly, but now I’m a day into my third bout with this problem.

Thanks in advance.

maybe yes
It is quite likely that the injury is from using the wing paddle.

But…if it is, it is a very clear indication of a technique flaw.

If the area of pain is just below where the deltoid narrows down, or if it is on the back of the shoulder, then yes. That, plus not being able to lift the arm indicates that the supraspinatus is inflamed (one of the 5 rotator cuff muscles).

In essence, you may be pulling too much with the water side hand (does it hurt most just after taking the paddle out of the water?). The humerus (upper arm) should not go past the side line of the body during the power application. Once past the sideline, the major muscle involved (latissimus) can no longer work effectively, and the humeral extension is taken over by smaller, weaker muscles not up to the task.

This is a classic indication of insufficient torso rotation. At the exit of the blade from the water, wherever that is, the humerus should not be past the side line of the torso. If it is, turn the torso more to correct.

Good luck. Oddly enough, this can be a painful way to correct a technique issue. If it does hurt, pull less, turn the body more until it dissipates.


another possibility
Something Eric mentioned set some other wheels in motion.

This is somewhat remote, but possible.

There is an unfortunate tendency for some starting out with a “high angle” stroke to have the top hand too high, well above shoulder level. If, with that high top hand, the elbow is still low, that puts the humerus into external rotation (again, the parade wave). This is an extremely weak position to be in, and will absolutey torture the subscapularis (rotator cuffs biggest muscle).

Pain will be felt in the anterior shoulder, deep, and as mentioned, make lifting the hand and elbow high very difficult.

Solution here is to lower the upper hand to about shoulder height, but even more important is to have the elbow lined up with the direction of thrust throught the hand.