Whitewater kayaker with unilateral pain on paddle control arm/wrist

by Scott Vogel
(Berlin, CT)

me whitewater kayaking...in the act of wrecking my wrist and getting tendonitis

me whitewater kayaking...in the act of wrecking my wrist and getting tendonitis

Hi there! So...my story........

I just started whitewater kayaking last summer and suffered no wrist pain/injury.

This year, however, after my first session (and yes....I probably overdid it a bit), by the time I got home that evening I had intense pain about 3in or so proximal to my wrist on the dorsolateral side of my forearm (thumb side).....slight swelling too.

I just figured I overworked it, so I went to CVS and bought a simple neoprene wrist support brace, iced it and took NSAIDs. I went paddling for the next 3 days and by the time that was all said and done, my symptoms got much worse.....I now have very clear crepitus when I flex, extend and adduct my wrist (i think that's adduction).....basically when I deviate my wrist sideways toward my thumb side.

I'm a critical care nurse and facile to the language of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, so I've started doing some research into this and I'm pretty darn certain that I have intersection syndrome and I do not think it's de Quervain's.

I do have a positive Finkelstein's test, which is traditionally used to test for de Quervain's, but I'm reading in the literature that intersection can also be positive for the Finkelstein's test. My pain originated at the intersection area and persists there.

Of course, I'm wicked bummed that it only took a few days to cause this but it's gonna take many weeks to hopefully resolve it! I am quite interested to start your icing therapy and see how it goes. I also plan to go purchase a thumb Spica brace as well.

Can you think of any other things I should be doing to resolve this?? I'm all ears!!

Thank you kindly,
Scott Vogel


Joshua Answers:

Hi Scott.

Sorry to hear that, it's a total bummer when something we love to do is suddenly not only painful, but something to be avoided. And white water rafting definitely requires some structural health, meaning, everything working like it's supposed to.

Yes, I can think of a lot of things. The ones I suggest most, and most highly, and to be used together synergistically, are in my Reversing Wrist Tendonitis ebook.

Sounds like you irritated a pre-existing injury and/or tendonitis dynamic (you can have tendonitis for years before ever feeling pain).

I would need to know more about your specific scenario but in general:

1. Wrist splints and braces don't work.

2. Rest doesn't work.

3. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen

4. How much Mangeisum are you currently taking? (Hint, it's not enough.) See:

5. The Finklestein test is good and all, but regardless of what your diagnosis is or may be, what you have is a Pain Causing Dynamic.

That's what makes up/causes ALL Tendonitis.

That's how you go from pain to crepitus...it's all the same progressive mechanism.

See: What Is Tendonitis

6. Ice Dipping done appropriately will bring pain levels down, but aren't a fix.

7. See: Magnesium for Tendonitis


Looks like you have some muscle on you. Are you a naturally big guy, or hit the weights, or?

I could say more, but would need more details/info from you.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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