Avoiding Common SUP Injuries - Shoulders
How to avoid and treat paddle boarding Shoulder Pain
The injury rate is 3.63 percent every 1,000 hours of SUP, most of which occur in the shoulder or top arm. Impingement of the shoulder is one of these injuries.
The Most Common SUP Injuries Cause of Shoulder Pain
The shoulder damage among paddleboarders is by far the most common. I got to know everything about this painful condition since I have had problems with my shoulder for decades.
My shoulder problems began many years ago when I tried a too weighty shoulder-press as a young buck. I felt a twin of pain and kept throwing weight stupidly.
About twenty years later, and I continue to pay for this error. The problem will be exacerbated by diving, surfing, and paddleboarding. So I was proactive and had to find a way around my low shoulders.
I want to give you the tips that helped me to keep paddling despite bad shoulders.
Impingement of the shoulder can lead to further problems such as rotating mango tears and tendonitis. Take the time to deal with any shoulder pain. If it happens, you should see a physician before it gets worse.
What is the impingement of the shoulder?
The top of the arm bone is fitted with a ball into the shoulder body. Shoulder impingement is caused by a space between the head of the brain bone (ball) and the acromion (bone above the ball) of the inflamed shoulder material.
The inflamed materials are the revolving cuff tendons and the subacromial bursa, a fluid-filled sac that stands between the ball and the acromion above the arm bone ball.
These materials are inflamed by constant overhead movement, in specific, repeated internal shoulder rotation. Another aspect leading to impingement is that the muscles that hold the ball balanced in the socket are weakened, tight, and off-balance.
Impingement of the shoulder is a frequent injury among swimmers, surfers, and paddler boarders. And it’s uncomfortable enough to discourage you from taking part.
To make matters worse, the inner rotators are reinforced and stressed while the external rotors are neglected and weakened.
When we sit over a screen or slurry behind a steering wheel, our shoulders are rotated (internally rotated); think of pushups, banks, and shoulder presses. These joint exercises are the inner rotation of the shoulders. Bad posture with the hunched foreword shoulders is rotated internally.
The effect is an imbalance of the small muscles in the shoulder socket based on the ball. And that adds to the impingement of the arm. Robust and tight front muscles that rotate our shoulders internally. And thin, loose muscles in the shoulder back, which externally rotate the shoulders.
What’s a magnet rotator?
Your rotary cuff is composed of four little muscles (and tendons), which hold the ball balanced in the shoulder of your upper arm. It also lets you lift your arm and rotate it.
These four muscles are called the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The subscapularis is mainly used for internal rotation. The remaining three are used to rotate externally.
Pain-Free SUP Shoulders Tips
Use these tips for paddleboarding to get painless shoulders.
- The Skip
Reduce the paddle
Reducing your paddle’s length will lower the top arm and decrease power around the entire back and shoulder. A shorter paddle is also a shorter lever that gives less energy and, therefore, less stress to your joints. It would help if you tried to dial the correct length of the paddle. A too-short paddle will strain your lower back.
Make the shaft flexible.
A flexible shaft decreases the impact of your joints before and throughout the dynamical capture phase. The stiffest and most inflexible post on the joints is carbon fiber. Next is wood and bamboo, fiberglass.
Using a little blade
Using a smaller blade on your shoulders is much simpler; as per stroke, it requires less strength. For that reason, I prefer a shorter blade myself.
- Proper technology
I’m not the technique of paddleboarding king. All these rules I broke. And my methodology still has work to do. However, these tips are real and will save your shoulders.
- Hold your top hand under the eye and …
- Hold your top elbow beneath your back.
- The less tension exerted on the rotator cuff muscles, the lower your top arm.
- Do not extend during the stroke reach process.
When the top arm is extended during the stroke reach stage, the internal rotator cuff will be directly stressed.
Keep the lower arm upright.
Hold your lower arm straight when paddling, which allows you to use torso. Your hands should be regarded as hooks. Your arms and shoulders are on the way. Your stroke is not significant from the shoulders. The torso from your feet produces the power. Each stroke can rotate your back/core/torso.
Moving your bottom-hand paddle up
Don’t take your paddle with your top hand out of the water. Force it out of the water with your bottom hand instead. Your full hand should almost be put on the top of the t-handle and raised.
On your paddle, do not use a “death grip.”
Both hands should be as loose and light as possible on your paddle. A strong, white “death grip” knuckle forces a severe and unnatural stroke to strain the hands, arms, and shoulders.
Turn your shoulders externally (lightly) with your top hand.
Turn the shoulders slightly externally when paddling. Place your thumb on or over the t-handle. Never put your thumb under the t-grip. Your knuckles should be either smooth or better, or you should have an index finger knuckle higher than the other knuckles. You rotate your hands slightly out of your body, which opens the arm.
Throughout the stroke, you can keep your thumb and shoulders open.
- Your body-mind
If you are having discomfort …
If you don’t rest on the shoulder, it may keep you from paddling for years, maybe forever. This is no joke. That’s no joke.
Take rest days between sessions.
Rest does marvels for bare shoulders.
How do you feel after a supp session the day after?
When paddling, tendons don’t always hurt. It might take a day to feel some pain. Take a day off and touch your shoulders.
Warming and cooling with mobility exercises in the shoulder
Do some versatility of your shoulder before and after your supp. Before any swimming, surfing, and the super boarding session are extremely necessary!
- Extend and reinforce the muscles of the rotor cuff
Usually, the internal rotator (subscapularis) is massive and has to be extended with shoulder impingement. The pectoral (chest) and deltoid front muscles are muscular and stretched. And the back capsule (a small force behind the deltoid that helps hold the ball in the shoulder socket) is tight and must be extended.
Meanwhile, three externally rotating cuffs (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor) must be reinforced. These muscles can only be improved by exercises that specifically target them.
Youtube is packed with excellent videos about how to stretch these muscles and strengthen them. This is a crucial move. You can keep your shoulders safe with a few workouts and even rehabilitate your already injured shoulders. These are fast and straightforward exercises. Don’t skip this step. Don’t miss this step.