Common Paddling Injuries and Injury Prevention Tips
By Samantha Todd, DPT
It has been another hot summer in the gorge, and a great one to get out on the water. For those of you who SUP, paddle a canoe, or a kayak, you probably already know that the most injured body part for paddlers is the shoulder. The most serious injuries are generally suffered by white water enthusiasts when rolling or falling out of thier boat.
Flat water SUP-ers and recreational paddlers tend to have lower injury rates than their whitewater counterparts, but can suffer injuries related to overuse, or incurred while falling off a board. Balanced shoulder strength can decrease risk of overuse injury and make shoulders more resistant to light trauma. This includes strengthening the shoulder girdle and upper back as well as maintain a strong rotator cuff. Some of our favorite exercises to strengthen the shoulders involve rows and box arms with a suspension trainer, and don’t be shy with assisted pull-ups! Building shoulder girdle strength can go a long way in preventing injury.
  1. Edwards, P., Ebert, J., Joss, B., Bhabra, G., Ackland, T., & Wang, A. (2016). EXERCISE REHABILITATION IN THE NON-OPERATIVE MANAGEMENT OF ROTATOR CUFF TEARS: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 11(2), 279–301.
  2. Furness J, Olorunnife O, Schram B, Climstein M, Hing W. Epidemiology of Injuries in Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (2017). Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 5(6):2325967117710759. doi:10.1177/2325967117710759
  3. Holland, P., Torrance, E., & Funk, L. (2017). Shoulder Injuries in Canoeing and Kayaking. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 1. doi:10.1097/jsm.0000000000000472