Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

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roli_twambley
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Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by roli_twambley » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:45 am

Hello All,

I was just wondering if anyone else had the same problem as me when I boat for any period over about 20mins. I have a Dagger Nomad and it also happened in other big boats I have had (not a tiny playboat to cram myself into) but I always lose the feeling in my right leg when paddling. The feeling comes back when I move them around sat in eddies etc but it can take a couple of minutes. This makes things like rescuing and portaging/inspecting a real problem as I just get out of my boat and fall on my face.

Has anybody else had this problem, got any ideas or found a solution at all?

Cheers, Roli

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by chriscw » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:09 am

I found the real answer to me was to change the shape of my foot rests so that my heels were supported but my toes were more or less in free space. I think what happens is that if your feet are kept bent up in an acute angle the blood flow though them is restricted in some way and this obviously affects blood flow through the legs too. Others have found that badly shaped or positions thigh and hip braces can cause this problem.

My foot rests are thickish foam blocks attached to a plat and my feet point outwards so all I did was remove some of the thickness from the outside edge of the foam blocks.

Good luck with your investigations and experiments.
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:18 am

I had this problem when I stil had my Nomad, I was told that foam wedges under my thighs would help but I sold the boat after the alps and so never bothered trying it.
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plopster256
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by plopster256 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:19 am

Have a look at your thigh braces, if they are too tight they can cut off the blood supply to your legs! Have a search on the forum and there are quite a few topics about your problem!

Rich

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boosh
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by boosh » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:52 am

What style seat is it.

Ive got an old style seat with no support under the legs. I used to get dead legs all the time. A mate has a nomad with the new style seat (low at the back and angled up at the front) and that was fine.

The way I solved it was to create foam blocks that provide support to my thighs and push them into the thigh braces. The same as KrikkitWars suggested. Now no dead legs and the boat feels a million times better.

Any good kayak shop should have foam blocks and you dont really need that much. I know Sues Canoes had some last time I was there.
Pete

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by roli_twambley » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:37 pm

Cheers Guys! I will have a play :D

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Steve B » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:19 pm

All you can really say is it is probably caused by an ill-fitting boat - exactly where is harder to say. I solved the problem in one boat with padding under my ischial tuberosities (it's not every day you get to say that) which raised me up by a few millimetres and stopped the front edge of the seat pressing on the backs of my legs. But this is the exact opposite of raising the front of the seat which apparently works for some - so you just have to experiment.

I also noticed that I had the problem much less on rough water, which inspired me to try alternating the pressure on my feet in an exaggerated way when paddling on easier water - and it did help. I think it's because working the thigh muscles pumps the blood better and/or prevents continuous pressure in one place.
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Bewildered sassanack
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Bewildered sassanack » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:49 pm

Its due to pressure on your sciatic nerve as it exits under your buttock muscle and enters top/back your leg. It supplies movement and sensation to back of leg and virtually all leg below the knee.....which is why it goes numb and you fall over.

Its nothing to do with blood supply, this primarily happens at front of leg (femoral artery).

To recreate the problem sit on the loo for some considerable period of time (try a foreign diarrhoea)......this will cause the fabled "rim palsy" and send your leg to sleep in the same manner due to same cause.

So get pressure off top of leg/bottom of buttock muscle, problem solved.
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Bewildered sassanack » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:31 pm

For dead leg....

Image
Can I get stabilisers for this?

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by chrisps » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:02 pm

One thing I found really helped was reducing the pressure between my heels and the kayak. After switching to wetsuit boots with thick soles I didnt suffer from it nearly as much as I used to and since geting a Burn, hardly ever. I guess as people have said, its just about getting the angles and pressure points right

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by ShaneOHara » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:07 pm

chriscw wrote:I found the real answer to me was to change the shape of my foot rests so that my heels were supported but my toes were more or less in free space. I think what happens is that if your feet are kept bent up in an acute angle the blood flow though them is restricted in some way and this obviously affects blood flow through the legs too. Others have found that badly shaped or positions thigh and hip braces can cause this problem.

My foot rests are thickish foam blocks attached to a plat and my feet point outwards so all I did was remove some of the thickness from the outside edge of the foam blocks.

Good luck with your investigations and experiments.
I'm for this hypothesis after paddling a playboat with footpegs for extend periods this weekend I realised I didn't get cramp like in my large Burn (or Hoss before).
Only significant difference I could think of was that the footpegs supported the heel allowing me to point my toes relaxing my calf muscles (vague memories of static stretches shutdown muscles?).

I'm now looking at ways to safely modifying the footplate in my Burn.

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:27 am

There are a few rather categoric diagnoses here which are going a bit far. I am with Steve B; the problem will be due to pressure on some nerve or blood vessel but you cannot be sure unless you are the victim. You need to play around with the outfitting to find out the source of the problem.

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Bewildered sassanack » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:22 am

What Steve B is describing is Sciatic nerve compression.....


.......if anyone can tell me what this magical (and previously unknown to medical science) blood vessel is that you can compress sitting in a kayak that makes your leg go numb I would be fascinated to hear.
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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:52 am

All I'm saying doc is that such an exact diagnosis seems strange for such an inexact description of the symptons. And I am referring to the original post. Is it really that easy to diagnose?

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Bewildered sassanack » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:08 pm

Yes, its a very common problem.

The final result is the same (dead leg), although different parts of the outfitting can be the cause i.e. the seat itself (direct pressure on nerve), or the hip pads (can't shuffle and redistribute buttock pressure) or foot blocks (can't shuffle and redistribute buttock pressure) or thigh angle (effects point of maximum weight on the buttock - depends on your individual bottom).

If he were just describing foot drop I would blame the common peroneal nerve (on the outside of the knee joint) where it touches the kayak hull (also common). Results in the wobbly portage foot, but not the dead leg.
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RichA
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by RichA » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:52 pm

Any point of contact in the boat can cause it. Sit in there and search around until you find a tight spot, i.e. thigh rest, back rest, front rim of seat, heels, toes etc. Anywhere that doesn't feel as comfortable as it could do is probably the problem. No science in that I'm afraid, just good ol' fashioned trial and error!

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by ChrisBainbridge » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:24 pm

I am sorry but
Any point of contact in the boat can cause it.
is wrong. Bewildered sassanack is absolutely correct
The final result is the same (dead leg), although different parts of the outfitting can be the cause i.e. the seat itself (direct pressure on nerve), or the hip pads (can't shuffle and redistribute buttock pressure) or foot blocks (can't shuffle and redistribute buttock pressure) or thigh angle (effects point of maximum weight on the buttock - depends on your individual bottom).
I think one of the common causes is actually doing the backband up too tight which pushes you against the front edge of the seat but there is only one fundamental cause - pressure on a nerve - almost certainly the sciatic.







And yes this is part of my day job. I have a special interest in all types of peripheral nerve compression
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by DaveBland » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:57 pm

I agree with the tight backband statement.
If the going gets rough, the backband gets tighter and my legs die within minutes.
Unless there's a need to be crammed in your boat, then it shouldn't be an issue. If you NEED to be that tight in, chances are you are not worrying about numb legs...
dave

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Bewildered sassanack » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:36 pm

ChrisBainbridge wrote:And yes this is part of my day job. I have a special interest in all types of peripheral nerve compression
.......me too, although I tend to cause them (with a variety of exotic needles and chemicals), but fortunately you seem to fix them. Good on you!
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:49 am

Over time you gradually get to appreciate who’s advice you can respect on the various issues which crop up on this forum, and not just about kayaking/canoeing. Many people have particular expertise which reinforce their contributions although it is not always apparent that they speak with this authority. Having been a contributor to the forum for some while, I am still learning who to trust, who to treat with scepticism and who to ignore.

Thanks to Tony and Chris for their contributions on this one.

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RichA
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by RichA » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:20 am

ChrisBainbridge wrote:I am sorry but
Any point of contact in the boat can cause it.
is wrong. Bewildered sassanack is absolutely correct
Fair play, I stand corrected. By 'it' I was more referring to discomfort in general (i.e. there should be no points of contact which 'stand out' as they can obviously cause discomfort).

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by ShaneOHara » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:00 pm

Don't stand corrected as you make a perfectly valid point, I think the boffins have made two mistakes here:

1 - They're taking the OPs language too literally when referring to Dead Leg, instead of standing back and thinking that maybe in this instance the OP could mean Dead Leg=Sleepy Leg=Cramp=Pins and Needles. If they had then maybe they would have realised that one of the less sensational causes can be a result of intermittent loss of blood supply from compressed arteries, which could potentially occur in any contact spot.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_he ... dles.shtml

2 - I have known (along with many other children) since my first P&E class that a Dead Leg is actually caused by somebody impacted their knee hard against your thigh muscle and not a trapped sciatic nerve.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/s ... 131683.stm

As for the rest of the posts in this thread they are all perfectly valid in the context of the OP, I salute you.

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:22 pm

ShaneOHara wrote:Don't stand corrected as you make a perfectly valid point, I think the boffins have made two mistakes here:

1 - They're taking the OPs language too literally when referring to Dead Leg, instead of standing back and thinking that maybe in this instance the OP could mean Dead Leg=Sleepy Leg=Cramp=Pins and Needles. If they had then maybe they would have realised that one of the less sensational causes can be a result of intermittent loss of blood supply from compressed arteries, which could potentially occur in any contact spot.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_he ... dles.shtml

2 - I have known (along with many other children) since my first P&E class that a Dead Leg is actually caused by somebody impacted their knee hard against your thigh muscle and not a trapped sciatic nerve.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/s ... 131683.stm

As for the rest of the posts in this thread they are all perfectly valid in the context of the OP, I salute you.
As little as I like the idea of the "appeal to authority", the boffins do seem to accurately explain the cause of the problem, you haven't managed to show how a boat could cut of blood supply (or indeed how this could happen for more than a few minutes without pain and tissue death occuring).

Also the concept of "Dead Leg" as occurs when your mate wallops you in the leg for a bit of a joke, is wholly unrelated to the chronic loss of feeling being described.
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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by ShaneOHara » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:05 pm

TheKrikkitWars wrote: As little as I like the idea of the "appeal to authority", the boffins do seem to accurately explain the cause of the problem, you haven't managed to show how a boat could cut of blood supply (or indeed how this could happen for more than a few minutes without pain and tissue death occuring).
For my explanation of how this may occur in a boat see my post above.

For your other point, surely you've had pins n needles before? What more do I need to say, you get pain and you react instantly by moving your leg/arm/whatever to relief the pain/sensation. In a kayak I might move around, reposition or get out and stretch. I don't think you'd bear it long enough to allow muscle tissue to die (if you had an option).
TheKrikkitWars wrote: Also the concept of "Dead Leg" as occurs when your mate wallops you in the leg for a bit of a joke, is wholly unrelated to the chronic loss of feeling being described.
The term Dead Leg was specifically used to argue the case for a trapped sciatic nerve.
Bewildered sassanack wrote:For dead leg....

Image


What is being described in the OP? Pins n needles?

I'm not saying the quacks are wrong, but to discourage all other input is, especially in light of the flaws in their process. It could just as easily be (and most probably) pins n needles than a trapped sciatic nerve.

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:09 pm

The insult is unnecessary.

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by ShaneOHara » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:13 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:The insult is unnecessary.
What insult?

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:30 pm

Sorry, you came across as intelligent. My mistake.

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by JeffTyndall » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:54 pm

This is all good to know as I had the same problem in our club Karnali. Got out of it and fell straight in the water with a totally dead leg.

I have just bought a new Burn and guess I may have the same problem with that, but at least there's now some things to try out!

I don't get it in my Z-One, but wonder if that could be because I have the knee pads further towards the front of the boat????

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by ShaneOHara » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:03 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:Sorry, you came across as intelligent. My mistake.
If you class words like "boffin" and "quack" as insults then aren't you sensitive, Boris Johnson (figure of authority) uses words like that in everyday speech. But if they offended the people in question then they have my sincere apologises, I used those words to try and keep the topic light hearted.

Do you mind me asking what your role is on this forum? Are you some sort of invigilator?

Observing your input into this thread you exhibit quite significant negative behaviour:- Criticise/Discourage input/Reject the different ways people work/Micromanage/Inflict blame

Back on topic? I say pins n needles you say sciatic nerve?

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Re: Dead Leg- Does any one else get this problem?

Post by Quibble » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:17 pm

JeffTyndall wrote:This is all good to know as I had the same problem in our club Karnali. Got out of it and fell straight in the water with a totally dead leg.
.... I can sympathise (and maybe help a little). Although I can paddle both and both would at least appear to fit, a medium Karnali = dead leg and falling over, a large Karnali = comfort and no pain.

As others have said, boat fit matters - it may be pressure on the back of the legs, it may be the spread of the knees, the angle of the foot.............

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