Kayaking And Hip Pain: What You Should Know

My hip pain started after I did a bit of kayaking, and now it’s just something that comes with the territory.

If you’ve ever experienced an achy hip after some kayaking, then this post is for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Yes, kayaking can cause hip pain.
  • The main reason for this is because of the way you sit in a kayak.
  • Kayaks put your hips in an awkward position and can cause pain over time.
  • You can do some things to avoid or lessen hip pain while kayaking.
  • If you do experience hip pain, some treatments can help.
Kayaking And Hip Pain_ What You Should Know
Kayaking And Hip Pain_ What You Should Know

Can Kayaking Cause Hip Pain?

It’s important to note that hip pain can be caused by kayaking. It can also be caused by poor form, wearing the wrong gear, not stretching or strengthening your hips, and not resting as needed.

A little tentativeness is healthy regarding topics like this—we’d all like to think our activities are harmless and will never cause any harm—but we also want to keep things real so you know what you’re getting into before you get into it.

Kayaking Can Put Strain On The Hips And Lead To Pain

Kayaking Can Put Strain On The Hips And Lead To Pain
Kayaking Can Put Strain On The Hips And Lead To Pain

When you’re kayaking, your hips must do a lot of work. They are the largest joints in the body and have to support your body weight and act as shock absorbers when you paddle through waves and rapids.

Even if you’re just doing recreational kayaking, which involves less physical exertion than whitewater or sea kayaking, there’s still a risk that all those paddling motions can lead to hip pain.

The hip joint comprises the ilium (the top part) and the pubic bone (the bottom part).

These two bones meet at an angle known as the acetabulum. This socket allows for smooth rotation around its axis. This ball-and-socket joint allows for serious mobility—your hips can rotate 360 degrees.

Poor Form While Kayaking Can Exacerbate Hip Pain

You’ve been kayaking for years. You know the basics of paddling and operating a kayak, and you’re pretty good at staying upright in the water.

Sure, sometimes you need to adjust your position for comfort’s sake or because of inclement weather conditions—but generally speaking, you’re a pro at this whole kayaking thing.

But as we all know: practice makes perfect—and if there’s one thing that can make even a seasoned paddler feel like an amateur again (or just someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing), it’s hip pain while kayaking.

So what exactly is causing all these aches and pains? And how can you make sure they don’t happen again?

Wearing The Wrong Gear While Kayaking Can Also Cause Hip Pain

Wearing The Wrong Gear While Kayaking Can Also Cause Hip Pain
Wearing The Wrong Gear While Kayaking Can Also Cause Hip Pain

I’m not going to lie—I was excited when I started working at the gym. After all, I love being active and thought working out would be a great way to improve my health and overall well-being.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before my excitement turned into dread as my hip pain worsened.

I first assumed that it might simply be a case of exercise-related soreness. Still, after a few weeks of feeling awful with no relief in sight, I knew something more serious was happening.

It turned out that the gear I was wearing. At the same time, kayaking (and most other activities) caused me serious discomfort in my hips over time.

Stretching And Strengthening The Hips Can Help Prevent Or Reduce Kayak-Related Hip Pain

Stretching and strengthening the hips is important for all kayakers, especially those who have experienced hip pain.

The most common symptom of kayaker’s hip is a dull ache around the top of your thighbone (femur).

This can happen when you’re paddling downriver or touring in a river canyon with lots of rapids; your knees will be bent more than usual, putting a lot of pressure on your groin area and thighs.

One way to treat this type of pain is through physical therapy exercises such as stretching and strengthening exercises for your hips and core muscles.

You can also try switching from an inflatable boat to a sit-on-top kayak that allows you a greater range of motion than an inflatable boat.

Suppose these methods don’t work for you, though. In that case, other treatments might help relieve symptoms, like ice massage therapy or acupuncture treatment.

If You Experience Hip Pain While Kayaking, Stop And Rest As Needed

If You Experience Hip Pain While Kayaking, Stop And Rest As Needed
If You Experience Hip Pain While Kayaking, Stop And Rest As Needed

If you experience hip pain while kayaking, stop and rest as needed. If you are in pain, take a break. Make sure to stretch your hip muscles before and after kayaking. Use a kayaking seat that is supportive and comfortable.

Consult A Doctor If Your Hip Pain Persists Or Is Severe

If you experience hip pain while kayaking, stop and rest as needed. If your hip pain persists or is severe, consult a doctor. A doctor can help you determine if you have a medical condition causing the pain.

How To Avoid Hip Pain While Kayaking?

How To Avoid Hip Pain While Kayaking
How To Avoid Hip Pain While Kayaking
  • Use a kayak that fits your body type.
  • Wear a hip belt.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Wear a PFD (personal flotation device).
  • Practice good posture.
  • Use the right paddle length for your body type. Not too long or too short.

In summary, if you follow these steps, you should be able to avoid hip pain while kayaking.

How Is It Treated?

If you’re experiencing hip pain and can pinpoint the cause, you may be able to treat it yourself with a few simple steps.

  • Rest: Give it some rest if your hip is sore or stiff. Don’t push yourself too hard or do anything that hurts. For example, if you’re trying to avoid turning in bed at night because of pain in your hip, practice slowly moving around during the day and slowly build up strength while sitting at home or work until you’re ready to move freely again.
  • Ice: Apply ice packs several times a day for 15 minutes, then let them sit off for 20 minutes before applying them again (this helps reduce inflammation). You can also try cold baths if ice isn’t available or comfortable enough for you; just make sure not to get chilled! Remember that this should help ease the pain but won’t cure the problem.

Prevention Of Hip Pain From Kayaking

If you’re prone to hip pain, kayaking is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the water. However, if you have hip problems, there are certain precautions that you should take before embarking on your next trip.

To avoid suffering from a painful injury while paddling around in your kayak, make sure that you:

  • Avoid sitting in the same position for too long. Make sure you take frequent breaks and move around, so your muscles don’t become stiff or sore.
  • Wear the right gear when kayaking. This includes using good-quality footwear and wearing a lifejacket while out on the water—even if it’s just as far as the boat ramp below. You never know what can happen, and being ready can literally save lives.
  • If possible (and if allowed by local regulations), try not loading too much weight into one boat unless necessary–this will help prevent uneven distribution, which could lead towards injury over time.


If you’re experiencing hip pain after kayaking, it’s important to seek medical attention. There are several possible causes, and only a professional can determine the best course of treatment. 

In the meantime, take it easy on the kayak and focus on stretching and strengthening your hips.

For more information on kayaking and hip pain, check out other articles on our website. And be sure to stay up-to-date with our website for more tips and tricks for staying healthy while enjoying your favorite outdoor activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can hip pain cause me to lose balance while paddling?

Hip pain can cause you to lose your balance while paddling, but this is usually only a problem if you can’t stay sitting in the same position for very long. If you’re having trouble balancing, take frequent breaks and move around, so your muscles don’t get stiff or sore.

What should I do if my hip hurts and I can’t paddle or walk appropriately?

If you can’t kayak or walk properly because of hip pain, it’s important to seek medical attention. In most cases, hip pain can be treated with rest and medication. If the pain is severe, surgery may also be an option.

What are some common treatments for kayak-related hip pain?

Pain can often be treated with medication, rest, and/or physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary if hip pain is severe or doesn’t improve after treatment.

What are the symptoms of hip pain from kayaking?

Symptoms of hip pain from kayaking can vary. Still, they often include pain when getting out of the kayak, difficulty walking or moving quickly, and limited range of motion.

If you’re an avid kayaker, you may have experienced hip pain at some point. But is kayaking the cause? We explore the possible causes of hip pain from kayaking and what you can do to prevent it.