Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Walking Wounded
I remember from my marathon running days the many discussions and problems we had about injuries. There were shin splints and pulled ham strings, to mention a few, and we all tried to keep running in spite of them. This, in turn, led to discussions along a common theme: did we become marathoners because we don't feel pain as much as most others OR did we feel less pain because we were marathon runners? We never resolved the argument, but I do wonder if the same isn't true of kayakers.

Injuries in athletes are usually due to one of two causes. Sometimes there is trauma at the root of the problem. These types of injuries are more common in contact sports such as football and, to be sure, boxing. Marathoners and paddlers, on the other hand, get their aches and pains from over use. These sports, with their endless repetitions of movement, wear out our parts more slowly but just as assuredly.
Just now, I have several aches and pains from paddling that I have not allowed to keep me off the water. In fact, it was not until I took my recent vacation that I realized how much some of them hurt. For instance, I have pain at the joints in my hands where the thumbs join the hand. This, I am told by my orthopedic colleagues, is a common problem among many laborers and one that used to be treated by fusing the joint. In my case, a one-time cortisone injection has been recommended. Still, I wonder how I will need to alter my hand positions in order to avoid a recurrence. More importantly, what am I doing wrong that has led to the condition? But I have really digressed.

to get back on track, we need to be aware of these over use pains as they are trying to tell us something. More over, if we ignore them we will eventually break down on some level. In addition, we can look forward to some arthritic changes to eventually attack those tortured joints. Having said all that, I know that most of us will push on and continue, in spite of the best advise, to paddle through our injuries. What the heck, there are only so many paddle days in a life time.

Paddle safe...


JohnB said...

Pain is a good thing, well at least our ability to feel "pain" is a good thing -- its an early warning system. Perhaps when my site gets back up I'll do a blog on it, but I won't go into it here (not wanting to be a parasite).

Silbs said...

Yeah, but so much of a good thing ain't wonderful (as Mae West had said) :)