Rowing and Reynauds Syndrome

Reynauds Syndrome and rowers

I suffer from Reynaud’s syndrome (white hands in cold weather) and have a locker filled with pogies that do not fill the bill to keep my hands warm while rowing. Help!

Reynauds is certainly a pain to live with  for rowers.  I suffer from it myself.  Here’s advice from the Rowperfect community on how to manage this condition.  The new Winter Rowing Gloves we sell may help some people.

Reynauds Syndrome and rowers
Reynauds Syndrome and rowers

My primary way of dealing with it is to use pogies of different fabric weights and waterproofness to get me through the cold wet winter and shoulder rowing seasons, including the erg bay.

Last year I wore them at least once in every month. I have several that I gravitate to, including a pair from Rowperfect that is great for sculling and another from JL Racing with fleece-lined Gortex that is a bit looser for the fatter sweep blades.

But the pair I use most often were custom made for me by a rower here at the Vancouver Rowing Club and they have small pockets stitched inside that I can load up with a hot shot or two. (hand warmers) They keep me toasty warm when nothing else will.

My doctor prescribed the vasodilator Adalt, which I use if the symptoms set in before I can get into pogies – when rigging a boat before a race, for instance. But I’m not sure it has a strong enough effect and may be more psychological.  A couple of scoundrels here have suggested Viagra but …..

Another rower says

I get Reynauds and I notice it mostly when I’m going out to race in cold weather.  I lose feeling in my hands and sometimes I

Shooting mittens for Reynauds in Rowers
Shooting mittens for Reynauds in Rowers

race with so little feeling in my hands that I don’t know if the oars are squared or feathered.  I just have to get on with it!  I don’t like this at all.

The best solution I found are shooting mittens a bit like those pictured.  These are sheepskin and allow me to grip the oar in my palm unencumbered.  What’s strange is why something warm on only the back of your hand keeps your fingers warm… but it does.

My pair are less “wrapped around” my hand than those in the picture.

 

Anyone else got solutions?

4 thoughts on “Rowing and Reynauds Syndrome

  1. Christopher George says:

    I have exactly the same problem and not only does it affect me in the cold but also in boiling hot weather (90 F) when I HAVE to race 1000m with no proper warm up. This is typically the case in Veteran racing on a man made course. I use single layer sailing gloves which largely does the trick. It is much more of a problem with my Ironman racing where even with a wet suit I get it and the only solution is to get an exemption and wear neoprene gloves in the swim.

  2. Maureen says:

    Try adhesive-backed toe warmers on the inside of your fleece or Gortex pogies, right over your fingers, on super cold days. I got a big box of them at Costco. They will keep your whole hand toadty warm and last a llong time. Remember to pull off the backing to start the heat activation 15 minutes before you row.

  3. Peter Jago says:

    Keeping your hands warm and dry is probably the best advice. I found that mittens are far better than gloves for this for myself. Pogies work in a similar way. When winter Head racing in my 1x, I also used to take a re-useable chemical handwarmer (availbale in outdoor shops), which I prepped by boiling the pouch in a pan the night before. It is activated by breaking the metal strip inside. I would set it off 10-15 mins before the start of a race after waiting around at the start for ages together with anything else I could think of to keep my hands warm prior to the start. Once it sets in, the only cure is putting your hands in a bowl of warm water for 5 mins when ashore.

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