Dead Leg Problem

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13 years 11 months ago #4085 by [email protected]
I have a rather serious case of dead leg on my (recently purchased) Fenn Elite.

I would be keen to learn from other paddlers regarding solutions for this problem. If some other ski with similar performance could solve my problem I would buy it in a flash!

Regards

Anton Holtzhausen

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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  • Ben Wulfsohn
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13 years 11 months ago #4086 by Ben Wulfsohn
Replied by Ben Wulfsohn on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Rather than changing boats what about changing posture etc. Not sure where you are based but I am dealing with my muscular-skeletal problems with a holistic chiropractor in Durban. Not too much "ruk en pluk" (for Australians roughly = push and pull). Rough is the operative word. Could be issues of pelvic tilt while sitting? My problems have been lower and mid back vs dead leg so no personal experience there.

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13 years 11 months ago - 13 years 11 months ago #4087 by superted
Replied by superted on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Have you tried this first.....make sure the foot pedals are not to vertical, keep them at a slightly more relaxed angle then the fixed heal plate.
Last edit: 13 years 11 months ago by superted.

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13 years 11 months ago #4088 by AntonH
Replied by AntonH on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Yes thanks, I have tried this. Seems that I will need more than just a relatively minor adjustment...

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13 years 11 months ago #4090 by garykroukamp
Replied by garykroukamp on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
How much do you want for the Fenn Elite? Carbon or Glass?

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13 years 11 months ago #4091 by AntonH
Replied by AntonH on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Glass. I will only sell if I find a ski that significantly improves my dead leg problem. Around R6500.

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13 years 11 months ago #4092 by Paul101
Replied by Paul101 on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
I had the same problem with the Elite. In fact if you look back into the old posts you will probably find me asking the same questions.

After trying nearly everything possible, I found the combination between making the foot pedals less vertical and a seat pad the best (although not great) solution.
Eventually I gave up on the Elite and changed ski’s to a Red7 which has fixed the problem for me.

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13 years 11 months ago #4093 by AntonH
Replied by AntonH on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Thanks Paul! How did you go about trying out the Red7? I assume most dealers do not lend out new models to be tried out in the water?

I'm new here how do I search the old posts?

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13 years 11 months ago #4095 by Paul101
Replied by Paul101 on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
There was a demo Red7 at the local surfski shop that I tried out.
Otherwise you could try and borrow a boat from other paddlers?

What I took from my experience is that I won’t buy a ski again without first trying it.

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13 years 10 months ago #4266 by Robmobius
Replied by Robmobius on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
I have the same problem as yourself.

My lovely new elite is giving me dead leg to the point that I am scared to paddle. 15 min in and the agony starts. By 30 min you could amputate my leg and I wouldn't feel a thing. My back ground is sport science and anatomy so I have taken this on as a challenge and I am determined to find a cure. I have improved things to the point that I can paddle for about 40 min before symptoms set in but by 60 min its getting pretty bad so this is a work in progress. Heres what I have learn't so far.

One of the causes of the problem seems to be reduced blood flow to the sciatic nerve. This can be caused by compression of the sit bones and / or being squeezed by a tight and round a cockpit. So how to fix this?

You can relieve pressure on sit bones by building up the fore aft central line of the cockpit with padding. So you end sitting on the surfski equivalent of a bicycle saddle. This works well but the discomfort from balancing on your nether regions can rival the pain from a dead leg. For me this is not a satisfactory solution.

The next step was to try and remove the roundness from the cockpit, and give it a flatter base. This helps alleviate the squeeze of the narrow cockpit. I built up the centre of the cockpit then covered it in a thick but pad to spread the load and flatten the base. This did not really help as the thick but pad was actually increasing the side ways squeeze.

What I have done currently is to trim the but pad so that it is just wide enough to reach beyond my sit bones. From there I have chamfered the pad down to the gel coat so the cockpit is as wide as possible and the base as flat as possible. As I mentioned this setup has improved things from 15 min to 45 min before getting dead leg symptoms.

I could build up the central ridge even more and put a thicker or multiple but pads in to flatten the base further but this has the side effect of raising the seating position and making an unstable ski even more unstable.

I have moved the pedals closer so that I have a normal knee bend but I am can put significant pressure on the heel plate with each stroke. This has the effect of pushing my but back and up the aft section of the cockpit and lifting my sit bones up off the base of the cockpit with each paddle stroke and roatation. This works really well but is hard to do consistently in rough conditions as it makes me quite unstable. I had to cut the back of the but pad away as this technique was leaving my coccyx sore and chafed. I also needed to expose gelcoat so there was no friction to allow me to slide.

I am seriously inflexible and that is a huge factor, particular if your hamstrings, calves and glutes are tight. The sciatic nerve is threaded thru these muscles. Tension in the muscles will squeeze the sciatic nerve making the situation worse. A stretching programme targeting these muscle will help tremendously, neural stretches must be included.

In this vein, setting the predals fwd will help relax the calves and reduce the neural tension. But if the neural tension is in the hamis or glutes this won't help tremendously.

The shorter seating position will also help ease this neural tension, ie a higher knee posistion. But if you go too short then you increase the psi on the sit bones which can make the symptoms worse.

I believe its finding a balance between all these factors that works for your body shape. But to do this effectively its important to understand the factors involved.

I would love to hear all feedback possible as I don't have this problem licked yet and need all the help I can get.
The following user(s) said Thank You: zachhandler

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13 years 10 months ago #4268 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Robmobius, it sounds like you've certainly given the elite a good try. I've had that problem in K1's and skis before and no amount of futzing around with pads and seats seemed to totally cure the problem. Methinks that boat fit and sciatic nerve irritation/dead leg syndrome might be immune to the principles of science and logic, and that there might be more to it than simply the proper fit of a bum on a seat. I say throw in the towel and trade the elite for a ski that has a flatter seat bottom and a steeper backside and an overall different feel. The Fenns, V10's, synergy have roundish bottoms. The V12 and Uno have flatter and wider bottoms less likely to result in hip pinch or sciatic irritation - assuming that is the culprit offense, but, like I've written, I think there is more to it than that. I can't remember what the seat was like in the red7 . . . - of course try one first. Erik

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13 years 10 months ago #4276 by Cameron
Replied by Cameron on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Hi
I have exactly the same problem, I paddle an Epic V10, and after about 20mins my left leg goes completely numb and i'm in pain for the rest of the paddle (the same thing has happened when I paddled the Think Uno). I have tried padding my seat with closed cell foam with limited success, and currently trialing a gel pad in the seat.
I have tried stretching alot more, as I am extremly tight through my hamstrings. I can now get upto about 40-45mins before my leg goes dead but is still very uncomfortable.
Its a bit of a squeeze for me to get into the ski, so have a bit of pressure on my hips, but its not painful. But i'm also quite lean and have seen much bigger guys than me paddle with no problems.
Is there anyone else who has any ideas on what could be causing the problem, or ideas to fix it?

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13 years 10 months ago #4277 by thebigadski
Replied by thebigadski on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
I have previously made a comment regarding this issue somewhere in another thread, so to add to the previous comments;

I think 1 key factor us as paddlers tend to forget is muscle strength, especially in the butt.

When I suffered the same symptoms I was told I had a definate weakness, like many males, in the Glute Muscles.

So I went about doing some major strenght traning (including flexibility) to focus and isolate the different muscles in the glute area, all which help protect the nerves mentioned.

I am sure with an appropriate strenght & conditioning period and with the help of some padding the symptoms can be relieved.

With the Avon coming up, I am currently re-visting this area to make sure I don't fall victim again to the dredded dead leg syndrome!

:)

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13 years 10 months ago #4280 by Scott Kelly
Replied by Scott Kelly on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
The condition your are describing is called paresthesis and is quite common in surfski and outrigger paddlers. This condition occurs usually from poor boat fit, poor posture and/or both.

Other common examples occur when sustained pressure has been applied over a nerve - inhibiting/stimulating its function. Removing the pressure will typically result in gradual relief of these paresthesias, often described as a "pins and needles" feeling. Another cause could be if the leg is bent at the knee for a long period of time, then released, the same effect ensues. This is because the blood circulation is cut short while leg is bent.

Scott Kelly PT; ATC

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  • pilbaralad
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13 years 10 months ago #4282 by pilbaralad
Replied by pilbaralad on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Thanks for the info Scott, but excuse my ignorance..what the hell is
PT: ATC :blink:

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13 years 10 months ago #4283 by Cameron
Replied by Cameron on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Thanks Bigadski

Any suggestions on strength training for the glutes, I assume squats, lunges and leg press a good place to start?

Cam

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13 years 10 months ago #4285 by Scott Kelly
Replied by Scott Kelly on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Physical Therapist, Athletic Team trainer. I was the head therapist at the 84 Los Angeles Olyimpics

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13 years 10 months ago #4286 by Scott Kelly
Replied by Scott Kelly on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Cam - those protocols are great! However, neutral spine, proper spinal alignment are core for no nerve interactions..

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13 years 8 months ago #4681 by candela
Replied by candela on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Glad I found this topic, I'd been wondering how common the problem is.

I'd been paddling a spec ski for a few years recreationally and never experienced the problem, even when I started training on it I never had an issue.

This is my story.

V12
Paddled in rough canal conditions for 50min with no problem.

EOS 660
In smooth canal & ocean conditions, dead leg after 20-30min

Red 7 Pro 70
No problem the first few 50min paddles, started thinking this was the ski to buy..
Now the dead leg has appeared after 35min. I played with the peddle layout brining them slightly closer, bending the knee a bit more which helped a little. I'm going to also change the pedal angle today and see if that helps.

I'm trying another V12 and V10 tomorrow and hopefully I'll get enough time to see if the dead leg appears. But in saying that the Red 7 took a few runs before I noticed the dead leg. I do suffer from the odd cramp in the left hip area while paddling and I have a tight left hamstring which I try to stretch before each paddle which probably doesn't help either.

And here I was thinking I just needed to find a fast stable boat, now I've been thrown a curve ball like many others. :(

Mart

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13 years 8 months ago #4684 by Cameron
Replied by Cameron on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Yeah its a very frustrating experience.

For what its worth I think i've finally resolved my issue with dead leg. In combination with alot of stretching and strenthging work on my glutes and lower back, i've also started paddling with a 1 inch think piece of high density foam.
I have now done paddles in excess of 2 hours now with no problems. Previously I could only do about 20mins before I had to stop so is a huge improvement.
I have also tried a gel pad with limited success.
My advice is just to keep trying things until it works. Also if your flexibility is a problem (like it was for me) a regular sports massage has been very beneficial.

Good luck with it, I know how frustrating it is until you get it sorted.

Cam

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