Kitesurfing, Foot Injuries and Back Pain


In Kiteboarding and Windsurfing, ankles take a fair beating from jumps. Any kind of injury not only affects the foot, ankle or knee, it can lead to other back pain related issues. Without knowing it, you are creating habits that can remain for life even if you’ve only injured your foot once. Life doesn’t stop because of a sore foot, so while you’re getting on with it, there are a number of things to notice so that you’re not creating long-term consequences.

How to Injure Your Foot, Ankle or Knee in Kiteboarding or Windsurfing

It’s pretty much par for the course to tweak your lower extremities in such an athletic sport as kiting and windsurfing… but what you do during the aftermath will determine whether life goes on as per usual, or you set up a whole bunch of other ripple effects through your body.

You already know how to injure your foot, knee or ankle… just land badly and bang there it goes. I can’t teach you how to land better… that’s basically a trial and error thing like falling off a bike.

However, the most important asset you have in kiting and windsurfing… and every daily activity, is a strong back. Imbalances just have a way of creeping up on you and then it’s regular trips to the chiropractor or physio to alleviate the pain.

Or… worse, gym and core exercises to “strengthen” a “weak” back.

If you’re kiting and windsurfing… it’s guaranteed that you’ll be strengthening your back already. The pain or discomfort isn’t a sign that it’s weak.

It’s a sign that you are unbalanced and therefore recruiting the wrong muscle groups for the job.

This unbalance can grow out of injuries or even slight tweaks to your lower limbs.

What Happens When You Injure Your Foot or Knee

Obviously, you have to limp off the pain for a while. It’s a normal reaction to allow healing to take place.

The unnoticed consequence of limping is how you use different muscles in your back to lean. This leaning develops a habit quickly and before you know it… the limp is part of your gait.

This means that a habit has formed and without someone else noticing it… you’ll probably carry the limp the rest of your life.

You’ll notice it as one shoe wearing out sooner than the other in the short term. In the long term, the other side of your body begins to take the toll of uneven weight balance. In other words, your knee… hip or lumbar musculature on the opposite side starts to offer up symptoms. They come “out of the blue” and because they’re not related directly to an injury or specific event, you have no way of tracing them back to a foot or ankle injury from years prior.

This isn’t rocket science and I like to explain all of this in non-scientific terms because the simple mechanics of the situation are all we need to know to inform on the next step.

What To Do After Every Kite or Windsurfing Session

As soon as possible after every kite or windsurfing session, it is essential to release all of the muscles that have been used in the workout. By letting go I mean, complete relaxation in a fully supported position. Not on the couch or in bed… on your back in the Relaxaback® position.

There is no other place your core and postural muscles get to undo the habits, tensions and reactions to heavy athletic activity. Any effort to stretch your back out, to help replenish the discs after compression is just contracting muscles and adding to the overall strain. Letting go is the secret.

My Neighbour the Windsurfer

This blog was inspired by a neighbour of mine who windsurfs. He told me one morning on our landing that the windsurfing was off the agenda for a while so he could recover from a sprained ankle.

A month or so later I spotted him walking on the street from a distance and noticed him limping. When I asked if he had done his ankle again, he said, not for ages…but my back is playing up.

This is from a young guy in his late 20’s who wants to keep a sporting, active lifestyle for many years to come. If he continues to ignore the habits he’s building up from injuries and unbalanced coordination he’s just creating a pandora’s box of symptoms that the physio will chase around his body later in life.

Can he do exercises to rebalance? Perhaps, but that is the topic for another chat… and it’s high tech. The simple solution for the immediate short term is to allow everything to rebalance and align. That’s why I created Relaxaback®.

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