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With the growing popularity of paddle boards all over the world, some people want to join but are still worried that they could encounter some injuries during the water experience. Despite concerns, paddle board injuries only accounted for 1% of 326 injuries suffered by surfers. However, some potential risks may happen that paddle boarders should be aware of. Here are some of them:

  • Head Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Trunk Injuries
  • Shoulder/Upper Arm Injuries
  • Lower Back Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Ankle Sprain Injuries
  • Foot Injuries
  • Wrist Injuries

Top 6 Common Paddle Board Injuries

A study showed that the most frequent injured body location is the shoulder/upper arm (32.9%), followed by the lower back (14.3%) and elbow/forearm (11.8%). Meanwhile, muscle/tendon is the most common injury type (50.4%), followed by Joint/ligament (22.6%), and Skin (14.2%). Here are the top 6 paddle board injuries that you should know.

1. Shoulder/Upper Arm Injuries

Paddle boarding is a great way to have fun on the water, but sometimes some paddle board injuries could happen and make your shoulders and upper arm hurt.


Here’s why:

  • When you paddle, you use a twisting motion on your shoulders. Over time, this can lead to stiffness in the muscles in your shoulder.
  • Then, those strong muscles can pull your arm bone out of its normal position and squeeze the space in your shoulder joint.
  • This puts pressure on the muscles in your shoulders, especially those that help your hands hold them. This pressure is what causes the pain.

Some signs to watch out for shoulder and upper arm injuries while surfing:

  • Your shoulders suddenly hurt when you raise your arms above your head.
  • Pain when pushing the arm down, when coming back to the plank.

2. Lower Back Injuries

The paddle board allows us to enjoy the water, but the repetitive bending can strain your lower back. Here is the mechanics behind this potential injury:

  • Taking a step forward with each stroke always tightens the lumbar spine (lumbar spine), an area that is not designed to be excessively bent.
  • Leaning forward all the time can upset systems in your lower back, including muscle stiffness or irritability. Cramps can occur when your muscles are stretched beyond their normal range. Excessive flexion can compromise the natural curve (lordosis), leading to pain and instability.
  • In severe cases, a tight nerve in the spine or a herniated disc can compress the nerves to the lower leg, causing a sharp shooting pain that radiates down the leg, as well as discomfort in the spine.

Some symptoms of lower back injuries warning you should notice:

  • Back pain in general, especially after paddling.
  • Active with low shooting pain (indicating possible nerve involvement).

3. Neck Injuries

Surfer’s neck is one of the most common paddle board injuries that surfers often experience. It’s not very serious, but it can be uncomfortable and keep you off the wave for a few weeks. Let’s see why this happens.

  • This happens because paddling puts a lot of pressure on your neck muscles, especially in the back. So many muscles are stiff and sore from holding your head up for so long.
  • There are cushions between the neck bones. All that walking stimulates your neck a lot and can cause muscle soreness and even stiffness over time.
  • Muscles in your neck, like muscles and tendons, can become cranky. The sternocleidomastoid (SCM), the large neck muscle that rotates your head, is also often stiff and painful.
  • Moving so much can also lead to bone fractures in the neck bones. These lesions can crush muscles and cause a lot of pain, headaches, weakness, and stiffness.

Signs of a neck injury include warnings to look out for:

  • Arms, shoulders, upper arms (triceps) and back.
  • Headache.
  • Feel muscle weakness or fatigue.
  • Feel sick to the stomach.
  • Loss of feeling in certain areas.
  • Difficulty turning the head or stiffness in the neck.
  • Pain or lightness.

4. Ankle Sprain Injuries

Ankle sprains are common paddle board injuries for surfers who misjudge a step while carrying their boat. Here is some information and the mechanism of it that you should know:

  • An ankle sprain happens when your ankle twists outward, stretching or tearing the bands that hold your ankle bones together.
  • This usually occurs near the end of the day when you’re worn out or thinking about the rapids instead of where you’re stepping.

When you have these symptoms, you might have ankle sprain injuries: A sprained ankle will be swollen and bruised on the outside, and it will hurt way more to walk on than to look at.


5. Foot Injuries

Paddle board fun can be met with a surprising foe – foot pain! Let’s see the reasons for foot injuries while surfing and some symptoms you might not know.

  • Some new paddlers often clench their toes to feel secure, but this tightens the foot muscles and cuts off blood flow, causing pain, numbness, or cramps.
  • Beginners haven’t found their balance yet, so they rely more on foot tension to stay upright, which worsens the problem. Remember that gripping doesn’t help you balance, the key is to relax your feet and let them make small adjustments.
  • Walking on uneven surfaces without proper shoes can also contribute to foot pain before you even hit the water.

Some symptoms paddle boarders may experience when suffering foot injuries:

  • Pain ranging from mild discomfort to sharp aches.
  • Loss of feeling in the feet.
  • Sudden and involuntary tightening of the muscles may lead to cramping.

6. Wrist Injuries

If you have pain in your wrists after surfing, it could be due to your wrists being out of alignment. Here’s an in-depth look at how poor alignment can lead to injury and the warning signs to look out for:

  • If your wrists are not in the right position while running, it puts additional pressure on the muscles connected to your muscles and bones.
  • This repetitive pressure irritates the muscles, causing inflammation.
  • Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting the injured area, but it can also cause inflammation and block fingers from moving the mouth again.

Pay close attention to these symptoms, especially if they appear after paddling:

  • Pain in wrists and fingers when running.
  • The area around your fingers may be swollen and swollen.
  • Running or any activity that involves finger movement can be very painful.
  • If left untreated, the pain and swelling can worsen over time, restricting your toe mobility and potentially ruining your next shoe trip.

Effective Stretches to Prevent Paddle Board Injuries

To ensure a safe paddle board experience, take a look at this exercise, which will help prevent paddle board injuries and speed up recovery:


1. Side Bends

  • Step 1: Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Imagine holding a paddle overhead, arms straight up and wide.
  • Step 3: Shift weight to your left foot and lean to the side, reaching your right arm higher for 3 counts.
  • Step 4: Return to the center with the weight evenly distributed.
  • Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4, leaning to the right side with the left arm reaching high for 3 counts.
  • Step 6: Do 5 leans on each side for a total of 10 repetitions.

2. Shoulder Flossing

  • Step 1: With your legs about hip length, step in front of you in model shoes, arms wider than shoulder width for ease of movement.
  • Step 2: Extend your arms straight out and slowly move the shoe over your head, reaching back to touch your back (or as comfortable).
  • Step 3: Keep your shoulders relaxed and carefully lower your shoes back down and touch your stomach.
  • Step 4: Repeat 10 times, focusing on slow and controlled movements.

3. Figure Four Stretch

  • Step 1: Start standing straight with your legs between your shoulders width apart.
  • Step 2: Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, just above your knee. This creates a “figure-four” pattern. Push your hips back slightly and bend your left knee until it is at a 90-degree angle. Turn your chest forward as you feel your right arm gently extend.
  • Step 3: Keep your core engaged and back straight. Bend your knees slightly, then lift your hips and straighten your left leg as much as possible. You should feel your right leg extended further.
  • Step 4: Repeat this movement 10 times. Focus on gentle and controlled movement as you bend and straighten your left knee.
  • Step 5: Release the fourth photo and remove your leg. On the other side, cross your left ankle over your right thigh and repeat steps 2-4.

4. Standing Cow Face Pose

  • Step 1: Stand tall with fantasy shoes worn directly behind you.
  • Step 2: Grab the top of the waistband and bring your right hand to the shoulder. Place the paddle shaft flat on the spine. Turn the heel of your left leg and reach behind your back until it becomes spontaneous, and through your leg.
  • Step 3: Engage your core, stand tall, and relax your shoulders.
  • Step 4: Visualize the slow tug-of-war. Pull your right arm up for 3 seconds, then turn and pull it down with your left arm for 3 seconds. Keep a steady back-and-forth.
  • Step 5: Pull back for 30 seconds, then release the grip, switch hand positions, and repeat for another 30 seconds on the other side.

5. Standing Twists

  • Step 1: Stand with shoulders extended and knees slightly bent. Hold your illustrated foot behind your head, gently resting it on your shoulder. Loosen your shoulders and elbows.
  • Step 2: Slowly twist your torso to the left, reaching as far as you can, and holding for a moment.
  • Step 3: Return to center and repeat the breath on the right side, holding until you pause. Relax your knees and hips throughout.
  • Step 4: Do 10 reps, keeping your hips and upper body parallel.
  • Step 5: Complete another 10 turns, focusing on keeping your hips tight and isolating your upper body.

6. Lower Back Twist

  • Step 1: Stay comfortable.
  • Step 2: Extend one leg straight forward.
  • Step 3: Bend your other leg and land flat on the extended leg.
  • Step 4: Reach across your body and move one hand through your bent knee.
  • Step 5: Using your hands as a guide, gently twist towards your sunken knee. Hold for 20-30 minutes or 5 breaths.
  • Step 6: Release the twist and come back to start. Repeat on the other side.

7. Wrist Extension Twist

  • Step 1: Keep your chest up, back straight, and core engaged. Look at your face.
  • Step 2: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out.
  • Step 3: Keep your shoulders intact throughout the movement, you can even pull back a bit for better posture.
  • Step 4: With your elbows turned inward (supinated to pronated position), curl the weight as you bring the dumbbells to your shoulders. Control the movement, and avoid using speed.
  • Step 5: Do 20-30 reps, stopping before reaching muscle fatigue.

8. Seated Biceps Stretch

  • Step 1: Find a comfortable spot on the floor and keep your glutes (butt) on the floor.
  • Step 2: Bend on both knees, with your feet flat on the floor in front of you.
  • Step 3: Extend your arms behind your back and place your elbows on the floor, palms pointing away from your body.
  • Step 4: Slowly move your glutes (butt) forward on the floor, inching closer to your hands. Keep your back straight and avoid bending forward. You should feel stretched out on the bike.
  • Step 5: Hold this position for 30 seconds, feeling your upper arms extend. Next, move your glutes back to the starting position.

Tips to Improve Paddle Board Techniques

As overuse and poor technique may cause injuries, you need to prepare carefully before hitting the water. Here are 4 key tips you should know:

  • Achieve proper stance: Proper standing posture affects your balance, stroke, and paddling. You should try to find your centre point, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees slightly. Then, tip your toes slightly forward to paddle faster.
  • Correct posture: Good posture will help prevent aches and boost the efficiency of the SUP experience. To get a proper natural posture, stand stall with a straight back. The key is to focus on your core to improve balance. With a strong foundation, you can glide across the water much more easily.
  • Get paddle grip right: Gripping too close or too far apart may reduce stroke efficiency. To grip the paddle correctly, mind your hands! Place your top hand firmly on the T-bar, then secure your bottom hand around the paddle shaft. This will help prevent some possible paddle board injuries.
  • Perfect your stroke: Listen to your body! Pay close attention to your muscles to make appropriate adjustments. Also, make sure your feet are bent away from you and keep your arms well apart. Don’t splash! remember to reach, dip, and then pull to your feet.

Enjoy A Smoother Experience After Injuries with Boost Fins


If you have paddle board injuries that affect your health and surfing skills, Boost Fins can help you! Boost Fins allows you to experience smoother rides, less strain, improving stability, and boosting efficiency – even with injuries, to rediscover the joy of paddling.

Upgrade your SUP game and get the right equipment with Boost Surfing now!

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