shoulder injury update

Thanks again to everyone who replied to my whining a few weeks ago about paddling after straining/spraining my rotator cuff. I went out 3 times this weekend in a SOT, after 13 weeks of PT, and did great! (Against medical advice, but that’s another story.) Your advice was a great help - it gave me the courage to give paddling a try way before I would have found that courage on my own. And the injury may have been a blessing in disguise, because I think it’s forcing me to improve my stroke.

As soon as I get “official” medical clearance, hopefully by mid-June, I’m going to do what I’d dreamed of all winter - I’m buying a touring kayak of my own. I’m sure the advice I find on these boards about equipment selection will be as helpful as everyone’s recommendations about paddling after my injury. Thanks!!


paddler’s pains
Glad to hear you’re back on the water.Bet it felt really good. I’m also recovering from RC injury, and have been out a few times. Uncomfortable at first, but definitely getting better. Let’s hear it for physio exercises! I also am thinking a lot more about my stroke - a good thing. It feels awkward to use more torso rotation, but I think it’s better. Anyway, good luck on the water!

Ditto on the technique
I really expected my two partially torn tendons to be the end of my paddling.

After a year of minimally paddling and diligently (this season)working on my technique I can say(with a large smile) I’ve been able to put in a few 6-8 milers with no problems…albeit I’m not trying for speed records and it’s on flat water.

Glad to hear you’re doing well also!!

Shoulder injury
I too have shoulder injury a total rertaction of rotor cup. I have had surguries and out come is same I didnt give up paddling just adjusted to my stroke in paddling. This June ill have a replacement because of grinding bone on bone and still plan to continue with my canoeing don’t anyone give up its just a matter of paddling a differant way. Also I found out by my therapist that after my first surgery I walked up a wall with my fingers and somehow another mucle attached giving me lateral movement. So nothing is impossible.

Good for you and good luck
I wanted my insurance to pick up the cost of the bent shaft carbon paddle for “therapy” purposes but no dice. Can’t understand why. :slight_smile:

I’m not a doctor
or a physical therapist, but my advice is to go with a Greenland Paddle. I had a rotator cuff injury a number of years ago, and when I started paddling a touring kayak it aggravated my shoulder (elbows too). While the discomfort decreased inversely proportional to my conditioning, it was when I bought a GP on a whim that my pain totally disappeared. My hypothesis is that the reduced “catch” of the narrow blades cushions the muscles. When I pay attention to my form I finish a day of boating with reasonably fresh arms and back. The difference is amazing.

Of course, GP’s are not for everyone. Hopefully you can try one first - hopefully a well-designed one (there are some clunkers on the market!)

Good luck!


you want an update? i’ll give you one
i had MAJOR surgury on my right shoulder a year ago … doctor said it was a “profound” injury and the worst he’s ever had to operate on.

i still cannot paddle. i cannot hold a cup of coffee in my hand and cannot lift my arm more then 30 degrees.

there … how’s that for an update. :frowning:

Keep Up the Exercises
Don’t rest on your laurels or you may find yourself back at the doctor’s office. I had a sever shoulder impingement two years ago and after 9 months of 7-a week PT I finally got back on the water. Felt really good and paddled and paddled and paddled. Nothing with speed just steady 8 - 14 mile trips. Notice I didn’t say anything about the PT exercises.

This past February I started experiencing the shoulder pains again. First thing Doc wanted to know if I was paddling and still exercsing. I had to say yes and no.

He put me back on a exercise routine (after having a piece of my butt) and I am again paddling without pain. As Doc “politely” told me in ‘simple terms’, exercise to keep the shoulder muscles doing what nature meant for them to do or face the alternate.

And, I do have a great paddling stroke and posture.


Don’t give up!!!
I had MAJOR shoulder surgery in August 2003. After doing tons of research, I found most people never come back to previous levels with the same injury. My doctor had a super conservative approach for 6 weeks after the surgery. Even my PT people commented on how conservative it was. By the spring of 2004, I could paddle but not at the level I wanted to race at. So, I took another year off. In 2005 a friend talked me into racing and I started training. Finished the AuSable Marathon with NO pain in the shoulder.

I concur with other posters about keeping up with the shoulder exercises. Even training everyday, I must still do the specific weight exercises or a slight soreness will occur. (Also, I can tell if it will rain a day or 2 out- side benefit)

My point is, you CAN come back. Keep your chin up. Get another doc. and take it easy. Don’t push yourself back! Good luck!!!