Lower back pain and footplate angle

1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #38482 by Jipsu
Hi, Newbie here..

I have paddled surfskis since 2015. I have Stellar SEL g1 and SR g2 and they are just great boats. My paddling is mainly long distance orientated on flat water conditions (steep, short and choppy lake waves up to 70 cm).

However, last summer I tried to paddle 100 km distance with my SR, and it was very promising up to 40 kilometres. I got my speed over 9 km/h easily, but then something happened - my lower back started to hurt, and last ten kilometres were horrible - I had to stop just after only 50 kilometres.

After that experience I have been thinking what happened and why. I have usually paddled ultra long distances with fast sea touring kayaks with no problem, and I have used my skis for training and shorter distances up to 20 - 30 kilometres.

I find Stellar seats just ok, but now I have been thinking that the problem could have been caused by footplate position. - This spring I noticed that I feel better when I dont push my heels to footplate - of course I lose some support then, but it feels somehow more natural. It also seems to have influence on my overall posture, which turns a little bit more forward. So - now I have been thinking that perhaps unsuitable footplate position might have been the explanation for my back problem.

Has anyone of you guys had similar experiences?

Artisan g1
Seabird Designs 600 Sport
Avalon Melanie
Stellar SEL g1
Stellar SR g2
Kirton Tiger K1

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #38483 by zachhandler
The more vertical the footplate is the more strain and stretch it puts on the posterior chain, especially hamstrings and low back.  That tension also causes the pelvis to tip back, which forces a bend in the mid back, and that slouched posture in turn puts the shoulders in less than ideal position. I know because I have struggled with this for 20 years. Lengthening hamstrings and calves through diligent stretching will help, but it takes a really long time and is hard to maintain.  Some footplates like nelo allow you to adjust the footplate angle. On others I have had success just gluing a strip of closed cell foam where the heels touch the footplate.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #38484 by waverider
I attach a heel block/wedge to bottom of foot plate. This makes it more akin to my K1 set up so it is easier to switch between the two.  Ball of the foot also takes some of the load rather than whole on the heel.

Seat/hump size ergonics can have an effect too, which is simply a characteristic of each particular boat.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #38486 by manta
Hi 

As other posters have mentioned, biomechanics issues can be the main problem. Look up Lordosis of the lower spine on google. Check the pictures and compare with yourself. That tilt of the pelvis with a tight ankle and hamstring can lead to severe lower back pain when sitting for extended periods. 

There are two things that you can try, active mobility for the hamstrings and ankles (not stretching it is mostly useless) for mobility look up Dr Kelly Starrett, he has a some amazing books on the subject and one is focussed on watermen, so has a lot of relevant advice for paddlers. The link to that book is here  Waterman book

The second thing is a lot of paddlers assume because of paddling that their core is strong. This is actually not the case. You have to specifically work the core and in different plains of movement. The one place most paddlers are weak is in anti rotation. I know what you are thinking, we rotate all the time why would we want to be strong in anti rotation? The reason is the rebound effect, if your core is strong against anti rotation, when you rotate and slightly relax you will find your body will go back to neutral instinctively and then you rotate to the other side. Over thousands of repetitions in a paddling workout, this slight relaxation of the core to neutral stabilisation makes a huge difference. 

You can look up anti rotation exercises online but my favourite is the Pallof press 
Get strong in this movement pattern combined with the mobility exercises and you will be able to paddle as far as you want to paddle. It may take a while but I have seen decent results in as little as 3 weeks.

Sorry for the long post but I hope it will help you out. 

M
The following user(s) said Thank You: ErikE, Atlas

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 4 days ago #38502 by Jipsu
Thank you all for your tips. I must say that foam roller and fascia ball have been close friends on mine and seem to help.

Howevever, I made one fix on my ski, you can see it on the picture attached. I just simply removed another of the footplate/hull rail attachment screws and then I was able to tilt the whole thing forward. Now, as it is supported by one scew only, it may not be so durable, but that may be rather theoretical problem. And as that supporting angled stainless steel plate is so simple, I can make different versions of them easily if necessary.

I havent tried my boat on water after that modification, but on dry land I felt my posture better. Perhaps this helps...

Artisan g1
Seabird Designs 600 Sport
Avalon Melanie
Stellar SEL g1
Stellar SR g2
Kirton Tiger K1
Attachments:

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 4 days ago #38508 by waverider
A couple of notched hard rubber blocks under that lip will help keep the strain off that screw, otherwise foot pressure is likely to pull it

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 2 days ago #38517 by Jipsu
So... Two evenings in different conditions with this setup now... Both 10 km quickies.

I must say that it feels better. However, I might still need to tilt it 1-2 cm more.

I can say that after that little modification my rotation got "better" (read: more efficient) and I was able to maintain better speed. - Stability felt different (wobblier) in side chops, but that is just a ghost of the change, I guess.

So, some more metalwork and core training could be enough to make my day (or even summer). - If not, thats the point when I try modify so called "seat" of my vessel.

Artisan g1
Seabird Designs 600 Sport
Avalon Melanie
Stellar SEL g1
Stellar SR g2
Kirton Tiger K1

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Aided remount? (10 Posts)

1 day 13 hours ago
rhainan's Avatar

Epic Pro Grip (2 Posts)

1 day 23 hours ago
Protected by R Antispam