5 Most Common Bowling Injuries
While bowling is a non-contact sport, players may sometimes suffer injuries due to the motions of their throw. Read on to learn more about the most common injuries in bowling and how they happen.
What are the Most Common Bowling Injuries?
- Bowler’s Elbow
- Bowler’s Thumb
- Shoulder Tendonitis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Wrist Tendonitis
1. Bowler’s Elbow
Bowler’s elbow is epicondylitis, the inflammation of the tendons in the elbow. It is the most common bowling injury. Bowlers can get bowler's elbow through the constant movement of their wrist, which eventually strains the overall arm and elbow. This occurs each time they swing and release the ball. Bowler’s elbow requires rest from bowling and sometimes even physical therapy or surgery if the condition does not get better from rest.
2. Bowler’s Thumb
Bowler’s thumb usually occurs in experienced players who add spin to their ball. When bowling, using the right size ball for your hand is key in your success and safety as a bowler. If the thumb hole is too small, this can also add extra risk to the bowler's thumb. Rest can help heal a bowler's thumb and specific care to the type of bowling balls used can help prevent this injury. Bowler’s thumb can also happen to players with hard throws who play frequently and sprain the tendons in the thumb.
3. Shoulder Tendonitis
The repetition movement of the shoulder to swing the ball makes shoulder tendonitis very common amongst both frequent and new players. Throwing the ball with too much force is one way shoulder tendonitis can occur. This injury is less common among professional bowlers, as they have typically mastered the proper techniques to avoid injury. Stretching before game play is always recommended in order to prepare arm muscles for the muscle stress of strong swings.
4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may not be as common as the others, but is a specific injury that surprisingly occurs often among bowlers. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes tingling and numbness over the hand, fingers, or wrist. It makes the hand weak and needs to be treated right away. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome needs to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. It is common among bowlers because of the finger movement in the ball and swing in the wrist when throwing.
5. Wrist Tendonitis
Just like the shoulder and elbow varieties, wrist tendonitis is also common among bowlers. Bowling takes a lot of effort and strength from the player’s power arm. The swing and movement is enough to sprain and inflame the tendons in the wrist just as much as the elbow or shoulder. Wrist tendonitis needs to be treated with rest in order to avoid any more serious complications and injuries. Stretching and focusing on proper form and technique can help avoid these types of injuries in players. While wrist tendonitis is common, it is not as common as shoulder or elbow who are typically harmed more by the repetitive forceful swings.
What is the most common injury in bowling?
The most common injuries in bowling are bowler’s elbow and bowler’s thumb. Both injuries result from wear and tear associated with bowling movements. Bowler’s elbow results from repeated stress on tendons in the elbow, while bowler’s thumb results from wear to the tendons in a bowler’s hand.
How do you avoid bowling injuries?
While some bowling injuries are hard to avoid, there are things you can do as a bowler to decrease the likelihood that you will incur a bowling injury. The most obvious course of action is to improve your muscle strength and flexibility in the areas of the body used in bowling, including the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, and core. Other ways to avoid bowling injuries are by wearing bowling braces on the elbows, wrists, and hands, as these will help support your muscles and prevent them from straining themselves.