Tingling pinky and ring fingers

5 years 5 months ago #23615 by sammclean
Hi everyone -

A couple of times I've come off 1-2 hour training paddles and found my pinky and ring finger on the left are tingly/numb. From googling, it seems like ulnar nerve entrapment or similar. Does anyone have experience with this, or advice on what I might be doing wrong in my stroke?

Thanks
S

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5 years 5 months ago #23616 by Hansie
Is it not maybe just from being exposed to cold water and wind for extended periods of time, I get the same problem in my pinky toe and (ring?) toe, if I swim in cold water for a long time.

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5 years 5 months ago #23617 by sammclean
I don't think so - yesterday I was paddling in 26 degree Sydney summer, and the next day I still have the tingles.

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5 years 5 months ago #23618 by Marieski
It does sound a lot like ulnar nerve. You should be getting numbness of the pinky and of the outside (pinky side) of the ring finger but not of the inside. The nerve can get trapped at a number of spots including the neck, the elbow and the wrist. The most likely ways of doing it while paddling is overusing the muscles that flex the wrist and move the hand toward the pinky side; or exerting too much pushing force, putting pressure on your wrists. One way of addressing both of these is to concentrate on not cocking your wrists outward and allow your outside fingers to relax. You should be able to maintain a full power stroke without tension in these two fingers. You might have noticed some good paddlers even have their pinky fingers out, like holding a teacup daintily.

It is possible to overdo this: I managed to give myself a forearm compartment syndrome when working on my stroke power, resulting in tingling of the middle, index and thumb as well as weakness of the hand. This gradually got better when I backed off and went at the building up process a bit more gradually. I think my problem wasn't really wrist position, but too much too soon, so keep that in mind.

Good luck. If getting nowhere, go see a physio, preferably one who paddles.

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5 years 5 months ago #23619 by crallan
I get the same. In my case it's on my right hand and almost only in flat water paddling. I get it from gripping the paddle to tight. I change my grip constantly with my left hand due to the 30 degree angle on the blades on my paddle. And in grinding (booring) conditions I forget to ligthen my grip during different parts of the stroke, bad tecnique i guess... But I get the same sensation during other sports, like riding MTB or motorcycles when I grip the handlebars to tight when I get tired. My 25 cents

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5 years 5 months ago #23620 by JonathanC
I used to get some tingling problems in both hands and noticed that I was constantly paddling with my top hand wrist cocked upwards, particularly my right hand. I changed the paddle angle form 60 degrees back to 45 and it made a huge difference. Also the gripping too tight thing, have to constantly remind myself to relax my grip and keep my shoulders and neck engaged but relaxed.

Sounds odd but I think that properly padding the boat to my hips let me actually relax my whole upper body, release my death grip on the paddle and ultimately get rid of the tingling.

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5 years 5 months ago #23621 by sammclean
Thanks so much , everyone. I'll keep an eye on the angle and grip and see how I go. If I find a physio who can advise I'll share back to this thread.

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5 years 5 months ago #23622 by Marieski
Just went out for a paddle and thought about it a bit more. An additional adjustment you can make is to shorten your paddle by a couple of cm. This will have the effect of lessening the angle your outer fingers have to work against, as well as diminishing the torque on your forearms. If you think you aren't going fast enough, increase your cadence. You will soon find out this gives you a real cardiovascular workout.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7
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5 years 4 months ago #23624 by sammclean
I think you're spot on there. I just realised that the tingling started after I increased my paddle length by 8cm (not by choice but because I had to tape it up to stop it rotating). I'll epoxy instead and reduce the length. Thanks!

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