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Common Paddling Injuries.(Repetitive, Ears, Nerves)

Every sport or physical activity comes with its share of injuries. How often we see a brilliant sporting career ending shortly due to a freak injury. Paddling is generally considered a pretty harmless sport.

Any major mishap rarely occurs during paddling. If you are a paddling enthusiast and love water sports, it makes sense to know about the common injuries related to this surfing activity.

This knowledge will ensure that you are better prepared to deal with any injury if and when it happens. More importantly, you can take precautions to avoid any significant physical harm.


Types of Paddling Injuries

There are two types of injuries that paddlers typically have to deal with. Repetitive and Acute. Repetitive injuries are caused due to repeating the same motion over a long period. Repetitive injuries are more common in paddling.

Paddling events requires athletes to repeat the same movement of stroking or paddling again and again. There are times they end up doing thousands of repetitions. As expected, it takes an enormous toll on the body and causes injuries.

Acute injuries are typically caused by major collision and reported very rarely in paddling events. 

Let’s take a look at few common paddling injuries along with symptoms, preventions, and cures.


Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, is the most common paddling injury. Although, It can be caused by sudden trauma or collision. However, primarily it is caused due to the repetitive motion that puts stress on tendons. It is characterized by the swellings and pain in the ligaments surrounding elbow, wrist, and shoulder joints. Athletes suffering from tendonitis feel great discomfort in their joints, and it limits the movement. If the condition is ignored for a long time, this may become chronic and take years to recover.

Preventions and Cure 

The best prevention to avoid tendonitis is to give your body a proper warm-up. Warm-ups can help you with most of the common injuries. Use of appropriate paddles; at times, paddlers end up using paddles that are not comfortable. Also, ensure the grip is light and helps you paddle freely. While in most cases, proper rest and medication are advised so that your muscle recovery. If the condition is severe, it may need surgery.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is also called Median Nerve Compression. It is caused due to pressure on the median nerve. A common symptom of this condition is numbness in palm and thumb or index and middle fingers. The hand becomes weak and makes it difficult to hold or grip things. Interestingly this condition can be caused due to a simple repetitive task like typing. Now imagine the plight of paddlers, who are into this repetitive motion sports. 

Prevention and Cure 

In case you start feeling this tingling pain and loss in strength of your grip. You should try changing the grip and lower the paddling movements. By all means, avoid extreme wrist flexion movements as this will aggravate the condition. Thankfully Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not a severe condition and can be cured easily. There are over the counter-the-counter medication available as well. On a rare occasion, surgery might be required. 

Exostosis (EACE) 

Exostosis or External Auditory Canal Exostosis (EACE) is commonly known as Surfer’s Ears. This condition typically occurs due to frequent exposure to cold water and wind. The inner ear creates a layer of calcium in the ear canal to prevent itself from cold water. This new bone may cause hearing loss. If you are lucky it may be painless, else you may end up facing extreme pain.

Prevention and Cure 

You can easily prevent this condition if you wear earplugs while paddling in cold water. The use of braces is also a great way to avoid this condition. This condition typically requires surgery.

Paddling events require excellent coordination between muscles and joints. The repetitive nature of the sport increases the chances of muscular injuries.

The good news is that the injuries can be easily identified if you are aware of the symptoms. Like any other physical activity or sports, you need to take care of the basics like warming up nicely and using adequate protective gear. However, if you get injured, ensure proper rest, consult a physician, and follow the instructions. It is vital to cure the underlying problem; otherwise, most of these conditions can relapse.

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