Dead Leg Problem

13 years 10 months ago #4822 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Thoughts from my wife, an OT (Occupational Therapist):

Got to reading your dilemma, over the shoulder of my kayak racer husband and had a few thoughts for you:

Sitting in a chair requires placing 30% of our body weight on our feet and the rest on our bottoms, favoring sitting squarely on the ischial tuberiosities,or rather, "sit bones" and lower quadrant. This is accomplished with the pelvis in a neutral position, i.e. not too far flexed or extended, not too far forward or backward. The knee and ankle are at 90 degrees.

Put that in a surf ski and everything changes. But we can tilt the foot plate or at least adjust the tension on the rudder pedals to keep the feet/ankles closer to 90 degrees. And why not try padding the sacrum to nudge the pelvis forward into neutral, instead of padding the whole hip joint, buttocks, and back. This keeps pressure off of the piriformis muscle through which the sciatic nerve travels (often a culprit in pain travelling down the outside of the leg and foot). I'm suggesting a pad that is more like a triangle in the middle of the sacrum, gently moving it forward to neutral if you tend to lean back too far, with a cutout for the coccyx if needed.

And stretch those hamstrings, glutes and hip rotators! My favorite: lying on your back, crossing one leg over the other and pulling the lower leg slowly towards you. Vary the amount of crossing of the legs and the closeness to your chest and the rotation of your hips as you pull the lower leg forward. Hold 90 seconds. Rest and repeat. You are going to feel it!

I've had lot's of PT and that has allowed me to paddle a Think Fit kayak (I know, not a surf ski!) for the first time in my life. We must take care of our bodies for them to perform properly! This includes strengthening and stretching along with proper body mechanics. Take care, J.
The following user(s) said Thank You: softnotes

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 10 months ago - 13 years 10 months ago #4830 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Excellent reply Mrs Red Pepper! ;)

If the message isnt starting to sink in yet...STRETCH STRETCH STRETCH :woohoo: !

Although I have the dead leg problem sorted without any padding etc just from more flexibility B) I am getting some side of the leg pain but being an adventure racer I am cycling and running several times a week on top of paddling and had put it down to that :dry: , but now that you bring it up I have lifted my paddling to 3 times per week so I may need to do more work on the hip flexors, sometimes as much as we know we need reminding of these things! :blush:

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 13 years 10 months ago by AR_convert.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 9 months ago #4945 by candela
Replied by candela on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
My dead leg update.

As mentioned previously I was getting a dead leg on two different ski's which then led me to purchase a V12 since it was the only one at the time that didn't give me a dead leg (V10 was also fine).

I've ordered my V12 and I'm due to pick it up on Tuesday. While I've been eagerly awaiting my new ski I've been working on my hamstring strength and flexibility, just basic exercises while watching TV at night or before a paddle. I've still been paddling the Red7 demo while waiting for the V12 and I've now eliminated 99% of my dead leg problem! The dead leg was the main reason I crossed off the Red7 and EOS 660 from my list of ski's to consider.

It took a few months of stretching and strengthening but it seems to have done the job. What this has taught me is how important flexibility is regardless of the activity.

Either way I'm still VERY excited about picking my new V12 up next week.


Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 9 months ago #4946 by superted
Replied by superted on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Good work Candela, you have reinforced what a lot of people have said without beating the product drum. Good luck with the V12.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 9 months ago - 13 years 9 months ago #4948 by Andrew Losli
Replied by Andrew Losli on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
This thread is just what I’ve been looking for… I purchased a Huki S1-X Special about three weeks ago and started having this dead leg problem. This problem is new to me and I have been paddling a Futura II and an older Fenn Millennium for a couple years now pain free. So I have got to jump in and say it must be a conflict between the cockpit design, and my body as I realize many people paddle Huki’s without this problem and I don’t have it with the Futura or Fenn. For me I’m thinking it’s the angle of the foot plate because when I lift my heals off the foot plate I gain some relief, but then loose stability. I’m thinking of cutting a wedge shaped block out of mini cell foam to bring my heal out about an inch from the foot plate with the transition lessening as it gets up to the pedal where it will be flush. But before I go to the trouble am wondering if anyone has tried this and what was found?

-Andrew Losli
Last edit: 13 years 9 months ago by Andrew Losli. Reason: spelling

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 9 months ago #4955 by Robmobius
Replied by Robmobius on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Hi Andrew,

Sorry to hear about your numbness. It really sucks when it stops you enjoying your brand new boat.

The heel wedge can work but if you read back thru these posts you'll notice its a combination of factors that solves the problem, its seldom a 1 wonder fix. In your case, the wedge is reducing the stretch in your calves and hamstrings, which in turn is reducing the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Logically the same result can be achieved by increasing the flexibility of your pelvis, gluts, hamis and calves.

Surf ski season here has tailed off so I have moved back in to k1's and k2's and the numbness problem has reared its head again. I have put my multi factor theory to test and I have managed to eradicate the problem completely very quickly.

First, stretch, stretch, stretch. Every day, before and after paddling. Then get your boat set up correctly in terms of pedal angle and knee bend. I then spend a lot of time working on the seat, getting it padded in the right areas to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.

For me that means 1 thick pad with a raised section in the middle like a bicycle saddle. Then I cut out 2 large sections of the pad under each sit bone. The result is the pad has an exaggerated egg timer shape when viewed from above. The raised central section and the lack of padding laterally, removes most of the pressure from the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve. As long as the raised central section is kept to a minimum this set up is quite comfortable, a lot more comfortable than the alternative.

Check out for some deeper insight.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 9 months ago #4966 by Mark8712
Replied by Mark8712 on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
I remember the move from the floor of a K1 to learn balance then on to higher seats and found that as my butt moved higher than my feet, that the same problem disappeared. The other key seemed to be working on good rotation such that my core was active and so to then the drive and subsequent movement in my legs. The problem has never re-occured.... Mark

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 9 months ago #4986 by Draftbuster
Replied by Draftbuster on topic Re:Dead Leg Problem
Hi there im very new to this sport and have only been paddling for the last 3 months.The dead leg thing was never an issue to me at the start as I couldn't stay in the boat long enough for this to occur.But im now paddling for an hour and by the thirty minute mark I have lost all feeling in my feet and legs.I tried pads on my seat,wearing compression socks but no real effect.Last attempt at fixing this was to roll up a newspaper wrap it in plastic an jamb it against the foot plat so that my heels were resting against it.SO I then went for a paddle a little over an hour and I could feel the familiar tingle in one of my toes,but this went away almost immediately,not to return.For me the dead leg problem is beat.So far.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics