Anyone ever had temporary paralysis of the legs after boatin - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-09-2004   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 178
Anyone ever had temporary paralysis of the legs after boatin

My girlfriend is getting into paddling and she just bought a Wavesport T2. She bought it because it was the most comfortable boat she could find, and that is really important to her, but we were paddling on the Poudre last weekend and after a long day of paddling her foot fell asleep.

Now I know that everyone's feet fall asleep in their boats but her foot is still asleep and it has been 4 days. Last year, while paddling my creek boat with a wetsuit on she had the same problem, but only this time it was her entire leg and it lasted for two months.

We are trying to figure out what is going on, she is pinching a nerve somewhere in her leg, but we are not sure where or how to alleviate the problem. She really enjoys paddling, but not at the expence of her body/health. We have tried moving the thigh braces and were thinking of raising her butt in the seat so the bottoms of her legs are not pressing as hard into the edge of the seat, but we are not sure what else to do. Any suggestions, inquireis, or other stories of similar problems would be great. Thanks for any help.


Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
- Mark Twain
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Old 06-09-2004   #2
A-Town!, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Foot asleep for 4 days, and the last time it stayed asleep for 4 months? It sounds like she has some sort of circulation problems. Maybe she should go see a doctor about it. Bummer.
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Old 06-09-2004   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 245
second, I would seek med advice on that one, likely a nerve pinch!

good luck!!
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Old 06-09-2004   #4
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 123
Yes, this is a problem I have experienced. It was a total pain in the ass. First, let me state that I am a nursing student and don't claim to be a total authority on the central/peripheral nervous system, but when I was hurt I did ask some doctor friends and my professors about it. What she is experiencing is called Foot Drop, with it extending up her leg. What I suspect I did, and she has done, is damage the common fibular nerve, AKA the peroneal nerve. This is a lower branch of the Sciatic nerve which is the largest nerve that supplies the lower limb. The peroneal nerve inervates the knee, lateral calf, muscles of the anterolateral leg, and the foot. If she injured this she will be experiencing everything you mentioned. I did it when I didn't have time to stretch real well one evening before boating. Another thought I had was my padding was compressing the nerve somehow. I couldn't get in my playboat for a few months without it going numb. I ended up only paddling a boat that I could get my legs out of the thigh braces from time to time to wake up my leg. She will need to let it heal. I wouldn't get back in a boat until she feels 100%. Then she should pay close attention to when her leg is falling asleep and get out fast. Don't let it go totally numb. Again, she needs to let it heal. This happened to me last year and after being real careful with it, I think its all good. But I always stretch and the second it starts getting numb, I get out and walk around. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often.

Hope this helps.

BTW, I never changed anything in my boats.
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Old 06-09-2004   #5
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 115
Excellant advice from the nursing student. The healing time is important since the nerve is irritated and there is most likely inflammation. Check with a MD to make sure there isn't more going on than meets the eye. If pain is a problem she can try heat and or cold to the area, nerve pain is finnicky some like heat some like cold. She can also try a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory=ibuprofen) for the inflammation.
Strider, RN
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Old 06-09-2004   #6
Join Date: Mar 2004
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now this is turning into a medical discussion post. I agree somewhat with the foot drop problem but since the commlon peroneal is a branch (or continuation) of the sciatic if it pinched in the pressure point (up in the butt) you would get symptoms all the way down. I would think that this is a circualation problem that needs to addressed--mainly becuase feeling should return quickly to the area. Go see a doctor WHILE IT IS STILL NUMB--they can then ask for specific sensory or motor losses and rule things out. If you wait until it goes away they will tell you to come back if it happens again.
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Old 06-09-2004   #7
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Thanks for the information on what the problem is, she has seen doctors about it and they all tell her it will go away eventually and it isn't a real big thing to worry about.

But nevertheless, it sucks and we are trying to find a way to relieve the pressure on her nerves/circulatory system etc. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how this can be done or is she just doomed for life unless she gets a huge boat that doesn't fit? THanks again for all the advice.

Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
- Mark Twain
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Old 06-09-2004   #8
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 75
this happened to me as well and it scared the hell out of me. took my leg 6 weeks to recuperate and for half that time i thought had permanently damaged my leg and was doomed to walk around like Fred Sanford for the rest of my days. Went to an osteopath and he told me that if i wasn't careful i could permanently dmage my sciatic nerve. that's why i only paddle comfy boats anymore and get out when my leg goes numb.

on the bright side, it doesn't seem to have caused any perm damage
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Old 06-10-2004   #9
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Technology Partner, Littleton, Colorado
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had it happen to me in many of the various boats I've owned... even once in a Cessna 152 (made landing in a x-wind interesting with numb feet). Just never knew what the deal was... now I know... thanks for the info
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