Wrist pain

My wife and I are new to kayaking and are already looking to upgrade from our SOTs but my wife is concerned with wrist pain. She has carpul tunnel syndrome (maybe) and sometimes feels pain in her wrist.

Does kayaking help or hurt this issue? Would paddle choice make a difference. Would a bent shaft paddle help? What exercizes or techniques help with this?




smaller paddle blade

A smaller paddle face (light touring) will put less strain on all of your joints. You’ll find discussion(s) on this site as to whether feathering is more or less wrist movement. I believe unfeathered allows for less wrist movement.

Conditioning… Much like weight lifting (or any new sport), it takes a few weeks for the connective tissues and muscles to get used to the new stresses of paddling. Go light and often to give your body time to adjust.

Good luck - Tom.

Carpal tunnel is not necessarily
indicated by pain in the wrist. It may be indicated by numbness or tingling in the fingers, indications that pressure in the carpal tunnel is affecting nerves, vessels, maybe both.

She needs to practice “relaxed hands and wrists” as a mantra. The fingers should lock down on the paddle shaft only when necessary for control. This has been hard for me to do at times in whitewater, but it is important. Whether she has carpal tunnel or something else, it is those little moments of relaxation that allow muscles to ease, blood to flow, etc.

Me too, CTS
Greenland paddle, used appropriately, is much easier on the wrist, and I think switching to the GP helped alleviate my CTS symptoms. It seems like you are pulling with the wrist in a more neutral alignment, so less irritation in the nerve tunnel.

Try one of them spinny ball things for exercise. http://www.rei.com/product/699801

STOP using a computer MOUSE. I think ditching the mouse was the major factor to reducing my CTS symptoms.

Take ibuprofin and vitamin B6 for about a month. The iB reduces inflamation and the vitamin promotes healthy nerves. CTS is an inflamation of the nerves in the wrist area, so reducing inflamation and promoting nerve growth is restorative. Now I’m confusing myself about which vitamin…I’ll look on the vitamin shelf and come back and edit this if it is other than B6, or maybe other posters can correct me.

I found these steps helpful in releaving wrist pain that the neurologist diagnosed as CTS. Your wife’s mileage may vary.

I was also treated by chiropractors, but I think the major factors in my recovery were eliminating the computer mouse and the GP. BTW, I currently use both the GP and a Werner Camano. On longer paddles, I like to switch between them so that I use slightly different muscles

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

I’m 6 mo. post CTS surgery…

– Last Updated: Sep-25-07 4:30 PM EST –

and the symptoms were so bad yesterday that I had to cut short a 4 mi. fittness paddle because of numbness in my R hand. Today I went back to the lake to reset my infinately adjustable ferrule (highly reccommended) for L handed control. With this I can more comfortably release the R hand between strokes. I'm planning to be in a 6 mi. race on Sat. & I will report back to this thread on the CTS problem.

I switched my mouse to the L hand about 1 yr. ago & this is working well.


My changing to L hand control in the race allowed
me to finish, but I still had some numbness in both hands. I think my next move is to try a paddle with smaller blades.

Blade surface area can make a
difference. A well designed blade with a smaller

surface will be less work on the wrists and all

other working areas of the paddler. I would highly

recommend the ONNO Feather paddle -


When it comes to a make-it or break-it situation,

this paddle will make-it for you. If you need more power,

you can speed up the cadence.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news,
…but in my case it creates more pain.

But with that said the benefits of kayaking for out weigh the pain and discomfort of carpel tunnel syndrome.

If she takes it easy and does not try to be a speed demon then it shouldn’t bother her at all.

I can go all day long at what I call a “nature watching pace” and never end up with the carpel tunnel sundrome, but unfortunately I like to race and train hard which causes 3:00 am wake up calls with the pain.

My advice is to definately try the kayaking but go easy and see what happens.



The braces that look like bowling
gloves really help mine when it flares up. that and stretching my hands.

Make sure it is CP
Could be something else. Might want to check with her doctor to make sure.

Braces build weakness
My neurologist suggested braces, I tried them, and they greatly releived my symptoms, plus kept me from putting your wrist in position to aggrevate the CTS. However, braces allow muscles to atrophy and you end up with weakness in your wrists. That may be a trade off you are willing to make if your wrists are really screaming with pain, but my understanding is you are better off not relying on the braces as a long-term therapy. And do you want to be out kayaking while wearing braces? I don’t.


I was instructed to only wear the
braces at night.

I have an almost constant case of tendonitis in my elbow and wrist. Wearing wrist braces at night made a huge difference. When it does act up a small amount of Mortin helps. Also I switched to a Greenland paddle which helped a lot.

Thanks for your help gang.

I will follow up on some of the suggestions.


see this video
try the Bret Rietz technique and it could help prevent carpal tunnel and tennis elbow. It sure worked well for my wife!