sciatic nerve

Again, im a very new paddler - 6 months. Initially I had problems with my foot falling asleep which I was told is normal and will go away as I learn to not lean on my ama so much. Some days its fine, some days not. Any suggestions as to something I could put on my seat or do to it to help with this? For now I have a Hypr canoe but am thankfully getting a new Pegasus in about 6 weeks - so stoked! Even when I padle on the right side and make my ama come up with every stroke it will still do it a little but. Just looking for suggestions. Thanks.

Submitted by jpi92109 on Sun, 03/02/2008 - 9:38pm

banana's help with ciculation. and toe wigling

#1 Sun, 03/02/2008 - 10:29pm

People say you get used to it. Don't settle for that answer.

I'm no doctor but my understanding is that the pain is caused by the compression or impingement of the sciatic nerve which runs close to what is commonly known as the a$$ bone (for lack of the proper medical term) which continues down to the back of your legs. Its the same sort of impingement or compression that causes your leg or your arms to fall asleep after you've been sitting or lying in a certain position for an extended period of time. Beginner paddler are often prone to this problem because they tend to lean heavily to the left to prevent themselves from falling to the right. As paddlers gain experience and learn to balance, the weight becomes more evenly distributed to both cheeks and the problem lessens. The key is to avoiding the pain is to minimize the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some individuals (like me) accomplish this by putting two 2"+ holes on the bottom of the seat where the butt bones contact the seat. The holes help to spread the weight to the surrounding areas and guarantees that the part of your butt where the nerve runs never makes contact with the seat. It works for me as well as a lot of other paddlers.

#2 Sun, 03/02/2008 - 11:32pm

I think I saw something like that on the new boats being made in hilo. Thanks. Ill give that a try. I am new but i feel like i am to the point where im not leaning on my ama enough to justify the result im getting. I could be wrong but i think its maybe the seat so thanks. im gonna hack away at my seat in the morning.!

#3 Sun, 03/02/2008 - 11:46pm

No need to hack away at the seat, go to my blog and there is instructions and pictures on how to construct an insert. I just recently paddled 404kms in 5 days with this mod and had no ass problems at all. Here's the link

Cheers Rambo

#4 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 12:56am

right on, thanks rambo!

#5 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 1:28am

404 in 5 days, mean, inspirational!!!

#6 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 1:33am

Mariano said:
404 in 5 days, mean, inspirational!!!

Yeah, still suffering the side effects though ... still haven't got my boat speed back yet. That sort of distance ruins your 1 hour time trial times. I'm about 80% of where i was before the race.

Long hard road back to medium distance (15-20k) fitness.

jpi92109, your welcome to the info, hope it helps you.

Cheers Rambo

#7 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 2:40am

Rambo's seat mod is spot on. Did it to mine last week. Definately more comfortable and simple to do.

#8 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 4:08am

Hey Rambo,

I was wondering if you modified your peggy's seat as well?

#9 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 4:39am

The original seat for my "old style" hurricane came with a hard plastic shell under the seat. The new ones are sort of similar which sort of makes it difficult to custom shape it to your butt. Putting foam padding with holes in it on top of the original seat is one way to do it but I think you're still limited to the contours of the underlying seat. This probably works if your butt fit the seat well to begin with. However, since you don't have holes going all the way through the seat, you may have to build it high enough to achieve the same results. This may raise your center of gravity. If you've got a buffalo butt, you may find the seat unconfortable because of the contours of the underlying seat. I chucked the original seat on my Hurricane and made my own seat from a 14" X 14" blank I purchased from OC Connections. Putting holes in the seat was just a matter of using a 2" hole saw.

#10 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 9:50am

Yes Watersledder, i have made an insert for the Peggie also, but using only 2 layers of 1/2 inch foam. The Peggie seat is a little wide for me so the insert gave a snugger fit on the sides and the two holes (50mm on the bottom layer and 90mm on the top layer) eliminated the pressure on the sciatic.

Snarffy, i've not noticed any negative impact by raising the center of gravity with the insert in either the Hurri or the Peggie. I guess if you measured the increase in angle from the ama to the seat top before and after, it would be very minor (using the Ama as the pivot point).

In my book, comfort in the saddle is No 1priority, nothing will kill your speed, technique and mental state quicker than a aching ass.

Cheers Rambo

#11 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 11:47am


I also don't have any problems with the fact that the hurricane's seat is on top rather than imbedded in the canoe like the other canoes. I actually sort of like it that way and suspect that adding foam to my seat as you've suggested wouldn't detrimentally affect my paddling.

Seat comfort is definitely a priority. We all have enough things going on in our life we can use as an excuse not to paddle. We definitely don't need another one.


#12 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 6:04pm

Snarfy, i too like the higher paddling position on an OC1 and having feet lower. There must be a point though where you lose leg drive. Different in an OC6 as you have better bracing from the gunwales and one foot forward one foot back paddling position.

Don't seem to make me go any faster though. cry ...cry.

Cheers Rambo

#13 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 6:59pm

I read that thighs close to horizontal is good/best, because it allows good torso rotation.
I don't see you elevate your seat to a level that your thighs would point down ? ;)
leg drive is hindered by those huge rudder paddles - I am currently using a tiller bar. It seems to work just fine. It certainly allows to put pressure on the foot plate.

Obama, please ( sorry, I don't qualify to vote )

#14 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 7:50pm

If anyone knows the Hypr seats please feel free to "chime" in. Im thinking I might just dig out soime holes in that one but when my Pegasus arrives im guessing I should try Rambos method? I seem to have fairly good balance on my canoe so it shouldnt throw me off too much??

#15 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 10:39pm

Rambo - are you still using the after market rudder on the Hurricane ? Do you have a picture of it ?

#16 Mon, 03/03/2008 - 9:48pm

I had a similar problem that turned out to be related to the muscle that runs from the lower back through the hip down into the leg. Symptoms were very similar to sciatica. Massage and stretching a lot pretty much fixed the problem.

#17 Tue, 03/04/2008 - 8:29am

that's the psoas muscle.

it behaves as the 'hamstrings' if you will. A 'shortened' psoas muscle may put your pelvis out of balance: the sitbone - sacrum -and iliac joints become wrongly aligned and that's how you get the pain in that area.

Good posture and stretching helps, chiropracitice may be needed for chronic problems.

#18 Tue, 03/04/2008 - 12:39pm

Hey, I hate to revisit this topic..but I will anyway. I've made a sand mold and hypercal "model" of my boney a$$. I've not been able to locate any supplier locally for closed cell foam. I've looked on line for foam and have found a wide variation in type, density, thickness, etc. What type foam did some of you guys use for making your pads? I have a big chunk of grey seat foam, but I preferred to use thinner layered pieces with concentric circles similar to Rambo's design. I also toyed w/ cutting the holes in my existing seats, however I'd rather try to make a pad that I can transfer from boat to boat. Thanks.

#19 Mon, 03/10/2008 - 4:41am

Aspen Seating,, uses a closed cell prous composite made by Brock USA,, to make custom fabricated wheelchair cushions.

• Contoured cushion designed and fabricated from a shape captured impression of the user.
• Contoured and shaped to the user.
• Designed for sling or rigid wheelchair seat surfaces.
• Can be notched for front rigging.
• Cover included.
• Lightweight.
• Designed so that dampness flows down and away from cushion surface.
• Special modifications and adjustments by request.
• Uses orthotic & prosthetic design principles.

The same could be done for OC seating.

#20 Tue, 03/11/2008 - 6:35am

Please register or login to post a comment.

Page loaded in 0.192 seconds.