7 Most Common Kayaking Injuries

Though Kayaking injuries are less common among paddles as observed by NCBI. The outdoor activity is least affected by injuries, but incidences have been reported around the world where boat owners have lost their lives.

In this article, we review the major types of kayaking injuries that require adequate precautions. The most common injuries and sickness associated with whitewater rafting and kayaking are drowning, dislocation, and fracture, abrasion, tendonitis, contusion, sprain, and hypothermia attacks.

Canoe and Kayaking injuries Study result

Water sport outdoor activities are becoming popular among outdoor enthusiasts. It is noted that rafting has attracted more than 10 million people, while kayaking is rapidly gaining popularity (NCBI). With such tremendous growth, one would expect injuries to be in the rise. However, according to research conduct by the National Center for Biotechnology Information depict a small percent of about 0.55 and 2.9 per 100000 user day.

Let’s break the figure and subject kayaking injuries to the highest occurrence percentage, which is 2.9 of 100000, which translate to 2900 fatalities. That is the number of paddlers who have suffered from the study conducted.

Types of Muscles Kayaking Injuries

Paddling involves the use of the body muscle to paddle the kayak. When roaring against the strong winds and tides, a paddler may experience pains in the muscle joints. Besides, paddlers may be affected by acute injuries resulting from incidences, such as transferring water to the shoulder, and high impact from objects when swimming. Moreover, such incidences are prone when a kayaker get into contact with another paddlers kayaking equipment.

Research reveals

A research conducted by Amanda Haley, MD and Andrew Nichols, MD (2009) on athletes had varied results about muscles body parts with extreme to low pain after kayaking competition. The most affected body parts are the shoulders, with about 40% of respondents acknowledging having shoulder problems.  The survey further suggests that the wrist and hand are ranked second, followed by the elbow and the neck.

For the paddlers, the study reveals that you are likely to get infected by skin lacerations and other skin infections due to the Ultra Violet rays. If you love paddling among the coral reefs, you have higher chances of getting infected.

When you are likely to experience injuries when kayaking

New paddlers are more prone to kayak injuries than seasonal paddlers. Further, those who love long-distance kayaking are likely to suffer injuries as opposed to short distance paddlers. With long-distance kayaking, that is to paddle for more than 30 kilometers, you are likely to be affected by the certain disorder as opposed to short distance rafters.

Sea creature kayak injuries

Sea kayaking is famous among paddlers. It involves kayaking heavy tides, waves, and winds. But behind all that glimmering sea beauty lay its deadly dwellers that you ought to know.  Several studies conducted suggest that you are more prone to injuries from coral reefs, box jellyfish, animal and insect bites. Beware of the roaming sharks, there are several species with different behaviors, with some acting friendly to water users, while others will waste no time turning a paddler into a meal.

Injuries in whitewater kayaking

A survey was conducted to determine the types of white water kayaking injuries. The study is relevant to assist paddlers who want to venture into the sphere of fast-moving rivers. Moreover, it is more useful to those already accustomed to rafting because Injuries you are likely to face have been identified leaving you in a position to take appropriate measures.

Now let’s define what a whitewater kayaking is.

This is where “Kayakers sit in their hard plastic boats with a “sprayskirt” around their waist which keeps water out of the boat. A quick pull on a drawcord allows a “wet exit” from the boat if the kayaker is knocked upside down and is unable to (Eskimo) roll back up” (DC Fiore, J D Houston). To Kayak, you need a double blade, such as the aluminum oar for propelling the boat in the desired direction.

Adventure sports

It is estimated that the number of paddlers joining whitewater kayaking to increase at the rate of 15% annually (DC Fiore, J D Houston). The increase is likely to push the cases of injuries to another high level and medics to expect more patients shortly. Though many regards whitewater kayaking as a high-risk outdoor watersport, the types of injuries are not well documented to validate this notion.

Similar results

The article by DC Fiore and J D Houston has almost similar result posted by the NCBI study. The documented problems are a muscle strain, low back strain, blisters, sprains or tendinitis, and submersion trauma. But the results point out that using poor kayaking technique is a major contributor to human injuries. Therefore, before lowering the kayak for the pleasure, ensure to follow the right paddling techniques. You are likely to experience stress in the upper extremity when you do not adhere to paddle stroke techniques. Besides, put on the recommended kayak gears, such as the recommended type of personal floating device, headgear, kayak gloves to avoid blisters, and more.

When you are likely to get injured

From the survey, it is prudent to take note that you are more probable to get injured while rafting in the river. However, the paddlers get involved in kayak accidents when swimming to safety as a result of the Kayak flipping into the first moving water. When you unexpectedly capsized, your PFD device should be your number one safety clothing. But many ventures into rapid waters without wearing the lifejackets. Other injuries occur off the water, and especially when a kayaker is walking or portaging. Portaging incidents happen when you are traveling difficult terrains or places you are unfamiliar with.

Causes of whitewater injuries

As a paddler, you are likely to get injured when; the plastic kayak strikes a hard object on fast-moving water flipping the boat. The injuries further results from traumatic stress. For example, a person whose body temperature cannot cope up with the water temperature is likely to suffer from kayak hypothermia attack. When such incidents occur rendering you unconscious, you are likely to fall in the water and into debris or sharp objects. Further, when there is a high impact of the water against your body or the kayak, you are prone to suffer from injuries.

Coping with bad weather condition requires one to have warm kayak clothing kept in a dry backpack for kayaking which is waterproof and can float.

Glacier can cause Injuries and traumas

Beware of your surroundings, not long ago kayakers escaped unhurt from the collapsing glacier the pair were kayaking in Alaska when all over a sudden the glacier came tumbling. It was such a terrifying ordeal for the two paddlers Josh Bastyr and Andrew Hooper who were paddling the Spencer Glacier located about 84 kilometers from Anchorage. The survivors narrated how “several pieces of ice from the initial splash it him in the hand and the ribs, but noted the enormous wave that came after posed an even greater threat.” (news.sky)

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