Feet Going Numb? Solutions for Kayakers

Do you get dead legs or pins and needles in your legs or feet while paddling? You don’t need to accept this discomfort - it can be fixed. We have some easy solutions to manage the uncomfortableness. 

Keep in mind that Jackson boats often keep your knees low and straight. Pyranha often likes to keep the knees more wide and bent. Dagger and Liquidlogic fall somewhere in the middle.

Pyranha Kayaks Whitewater

We have a few solutions for fixing this problem. Please note that two differently shaped people can fit differently in the same kayak, so we suggest trying a variety, if not all, of these suggestions until you feel comfortable in your boat.

  • Move your bulkhead forward or backwards.
  • Remove foam or add foam near your hips. Pinching in your hips can cut off circulation to your legs.
  • Add thin foam to the bulkhead to make micro-adjustments to bulkhead positioning.
  • Add a foot wedge to your bulkhead so the top of your foot is further away from your body. This helps relieve pressure on ankles by essentially tilting your foot forward and preventing your ankle from straining backwards. 
  • Loosen your backband.
  • Move the hip shims forward or back
  • Experiment with foam on top of your seat to raise or lower your position in the boat.
  • Try putting a heel cutout in the center pillar of your foot block. This may allow your feet to rest in a more natural position.
  • Jackson makes a variety of alternative outfitting options that can be significantly more comfortable for some paddlers. Check out the Jackson Happy Feet, Sweet Cheeks, and Happy Seat.

Russia Kayak Whitewater

Another alternative could be purchasing a newer boat, which have improved outfitting and are more comfy than older boats. 

More non-technical solutions:

  • Practice yoga sequences to increase flexibility
  • Stretch before paddling - loose hips do not sink ships in this scenario
  • Pay attention to your posture and good paddling technique

Photos from Rolf Kelly.

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