Canoeing Injuries

 

 

 

Canoeing has long been an important element for transportation, hunting, and fishing in certain parts of the world. It’s also been a part of the Olympic games since 1936. Today, canoeing is also a popular competitive sport. There are various competitive disciplines, including sprint races, whitewater slaloms, marathon races, canoe polo, outrigger canoe paddling, and so forth. Additionally, recreational canoeing has steadily increased in popularity over the last few decades. Canoeing may seem like a fun, benign sport, but many people are injured during both recreational and competitive canoeing events each year.

How Do Canoeing Injuries Occur?

Canoeing injuries can broadly fall under one of two categories - overuse or trauma. Overuse injuries are the cumulative result of repetitive motions. The risk of suffering an overuse injury is substantially increased when repetition is combined with doing the motion too frequently, too long in duration, or too vigorously. Trauma injuries are acute injuries, such as when someone canoeing capsizes or is struck by some object within their environment.

Specific injury statistics related to canoeing (as a whole) are very limited due to its many different disciplines. However, there have been several injury studies on specific canoeists . For example, a study of 278 outrigger canoe paddlers was published in the Hawaii Medical Journal. This particular study found that 62% of the 278 outrigger canoe paddlers suffered some type overuse musculoskeletal injury from paddling. Such a finding, regardless of the particular discipline, isn’t uncommon since all canoeing activities center around repetitive, frequent, prolonged, and/or vigorous paddling to propel the canoe through the body of water.

What Are Some Common Canoeing Injuries?

Rotator Cuff Injuries Of The Shoulder

Due to the repetitive nature of canoe paddling, shoulder injuries are extremely common among most all types of canoeing activities. The soft tissues in the shoulder must undergo an intense load as it provides the power behind each stroke and maneuver of the paddle. Shoulder injuries may also occur when a canoeist strikes a shoulder on an environmental element as they pass it or during a capsize. Of note, poor paddling techniques and poor physical conditioning may also be contributing factors in canoeing-related shoulder injuries.

Some of the most common shoulder injuries are to the rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff is a group or muscles and tendons that keep the upper arm bone connected to the shoulder blade. It holds the ball of the upper arm bone within the shoulder socket and is an instrumental element in fluid arm movements. When the rotator cuff is overloaded, the tendons can become irritated and swollen, a condition called tendinitis. Tendons are fibrous bands of tissue that connect bone to muscle. As one end of the tendon is being pulled by its associated muscle, the other end of the tendon is pulling the connecting bone along with it. Repetitive paddling can cause the tendon to become irritated, weakened, and inflamed. As a result, the shoulder becomes stiff, weak, and sore. It may also be difficult to raise the arm above head or lay directly on the affected shoulder during sleep.

Another rotator cuff injury is called a strain. This may follow prolonged tendinitis, or it could be the result of a sudden jerking motion or blow involving the shoulder. In any event, the injury involves one or more of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis rotator cuff muscles and/or the tendons being stretched or torn. As with all strains, rotator cuff strains are graded based on the severity of the injury:

* A grade one rotator cuff strain is the least severe, only involving stretching or microscopic tearing of the muscle/tendon fibers. It usually doesn’t interfere with normal range of motion in the affected shoulder, but may involve some mild swelling and soreness.

* A grade two rotator cuff strain is moderate tearing of the muscle/tendon fibers. This grade may involve mild to moderate swelling, pain, tenderness, range of motion limitations, weakness, bruising, heat, and swelling to the affected shoulder.

* A grade three rotator cuff strain is the most severe grade and involves more than 90% tearing of the muscle/tendon fibers. The injury will most likely be followed with moderate to complete shoulder instability, weakness, motion limitations, swelling, pain, tenderness, bruising, and heat. There may also be an audible pop or snap at the time of the injury.

Wrist Injuries

Maintaining a tight hand grip on the canoe paddle and changing hand grip positioning while paddling and steering leave a canoeist’s wrists at high risk for overuse injuries. This is especially true for long distance canoeists and those canoeing in fast flowing or choppy waters. Again, poor physical conditioning and poor paddling technique may be contributing factors to wrist injuries in canoeing.

De Quervain syndrome is a common wrist injury in canoeing. This injury involves the tendons of the extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus muscles. These two tendons move the thumb away from the hand and are extensively used during hand grip and pinching. The tendons must pass through a narrow, bony tunnel in the wrist on their way to the thumb. Repetitive wrist movements can cause the tendons and their protective synovial sheaths to become irritated and swollen as they pass through the tunnel. If the irritation continues, the tendons can thicken and degenerate on a cellular level. It becomes difficult to grip and pinch objects and there may be a clicking sensation when the thumb is moved away from the hand.

Strains; sprains, which are similar to strains, but involve the ligaments; and fractures of the wrist are other common wrist injuries.

Of course, these are just a few of the many potential injuries facing canoeists. Other common injuries include: lower back strains and sprains; skin and muscle contusions; concussions; bursitis of the elbow, wrist, and shoulder; fractures; lacerations and abrasions; and so forth.

Products

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Acute Sinew Liniment

Acute Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

Quickly relieves pain, reduces swelling and inflammation, and breaks up clotted blood and stagnant fluids in the injured area. Stimulates circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues, providing rapid pain relief and faster healing. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.
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Chronic Sinew Liniment

Chronic Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

Strongly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles, thereby quickly relieving pain, stiffness and weakness. Sinew Injury Poultice, Sinew Relaxing Soak, and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Herbal Ice

Acute Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

This first-aid ice alternative poultice (balm) is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the recovery and healing process. Reduces redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the injured area. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain normal range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Injury Poultice

Chronic Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This poultice (balm) is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful in cold and damp weather. It significantly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and further promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Relaxing Soak and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $37.95
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Sinew Relaxing Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your injured area. It is used to relax muscles, tendons and ligaments that are in spasm to reduce pain and stiffness and improve range of motion. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Sports Massage Oil

This specially formulated massage oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It penetrates deep into muscle layers to warm and stimulate muscles, increase circulation and relieve tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.
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Sinew Warming Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. It is used to bring warmth into the injured area to drive coldness out of damaged tissues and increase local circulation, thereby relieving pain and stiffness in cold weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $23.95
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