Newbie Injury Question - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-05-2016   #1
 
Manchester, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 2016
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 3
Newbie Injury Question

Hi everybody. I was hoping to gain some advice and thoughts on whether kayaking (and eventually whitewater kayaking) will be a viable pursuit for me to adopt following a recent injury I suffered. I've always been attracted to kayaking despite being a little long in the tooth and was recently invited by a friend of a friend to go along and give it a try. Unfortunately, before I could take up her kind offer, I suffered a rather nasty injury to my ankle (stay away from trampolines! Death traps!) Following an operation, some pinning of bones and 6 weeks in plaster, I am now back on 2 feet and mobile. However, as I'm sure you can imagine, my ankle is neither as strong or flexible as it once was, so certain sports that I used to enjoy, such as running, have had to be put temporarily on hold. Although I understand that kayaking (whitewater especially) requires a high level of fitness, do you think that my weakened ankle will pose a barrier to my entering the sport? Or is it fair to assume that the strength of my ankle (hidden down at the bottom end of the kayak) would be secondary to overall leg, core and upper body strength? I hope this is making sense and not coming across as a whole bunch of waffle.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-05-2016   #2
 
modesto, California
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 28
Not sure about anyone else.....but when I use to hard-shell I used my ankles a lot

You might look into going with inflatable kayak (IK)
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Old 07-05-2016   #3
 
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 182
Only way to find out is try. Your feet should be engaged when paddling but not with super human strength.

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Old 07-05-2016   #4
 
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Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 312
I've seen a few videos of a paraplegic doing nasty class 5 whitewater. The ankle isn't that important for kayaking. Your biggest limitation would be getting to the river itself, but the easier runs tend to have easier to get to put ins and take outs. Swimming could leave yourself more vulnerable to re-injuring your ankle, but as long as you are ok with it, you can kayak.

And there is nothing in the kayaking rule book that says you have to push yourself to running the gnar. A lot of kayakers enjoy class 3 water a lot, and never go beyond it.

If this guy can do it, I'm sure a weakened ankle isn't too big a limitation. You can engage your core simply by rotating at the waist. The legs don't have to be used at all:
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Old 07-05-2016   #5
 
Essen, Germany
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 29
I have kayaked while recuperating from torn ligaments and a bone bruise in my ankle. Now the injury wasn't fresh, but at the time running still hurt.

I was wearing a stablizing ankle brace, "orthese" in German; this was mostly an issue at the put in and the take out, though. In general, I had a great time.

YMMV, also depending on how ambitious you are. But in general, as long as you can avoid further injury, a weak or unstable ankle is not going to be a major issue for a beginner or intermediate kayaker from my point of view (except for when you carry that thing)
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Old 07-05-2016   #6
 
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 152
I've paddled with Greg (video) and agree that you can paddle just fine with no leg function. Recovering from a swim, getting to a complicated put in, and scouting will require a little more care. And Bystander is right on - what you don't see in the sponsored videos is that a good day in big class 3 water with friends can be about as good as it gets - you don't need to huck waterfalls or push your limits all the time. I vote that you find out for yourself. And, as someone who was middle aged some time ago and is still paddling a lot, I can only roll my eyes at the long-in-the-tooth comment.
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Old 07-05-2016   #7
 
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,498
For what it's worth, I kayaked comfortably with a broken foot a few years ago. Pitonning (hitting a rock with the bow head on, with speed) certainly hurt, but less than the pain of not kayaking.
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Old 07-05-2016   #8
 
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 152
DanOrion's comment reminded me - I paddled several days on a remote multi-day trip after breaking a metatarsal on day 2 (note to self re. being between a "soft"boat and a rock..) - it was easy boating, but paddling was a blissful relief from limping around camp and, once I was in the boat, was pain-free.
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Old 07-05-2016   #9
 
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulster View Post
DanOrion's comment reminded me - I paddled several days on a remote multi-day trip after breaking a metatarsal on day 2 (note to self re. being between a "soft"boat and a rock..) - it was easy boating, but paddling was a blissful relief from limping around camp and, once I was in the boat, was pain-free.
Twas a metatarsal for me too...
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Old 07-05-2016   #10
 
GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 733
My right ankle is proper fooked from decades of abuse and injuries in my previous passions. I walk with a limp all the time, and running is more or less impossible.

Right now it is extremely painful to sit in a hard boat for more than a few minutes. I spend most of my time in packrafts, largely because they are more forgiving to my ankle issue.

Before ruling anything in or out, go and sit in a boat somewhere, and take the time to fit the outfitting (have someone help that knows what they're doing) to get an idea if this might be an issue for you.

If it seems like it might be an issue, there are *lots* of ways to make yourself more comfy in the boat. Time, creativity, and some minicell foam can go a long ways.
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