Bowler’s Elbow and Other Common Bowling Injuries

Do you have pain after bowling? Read on to learn about common bowling injuries, how they are treated, and how to prevent them.


Is bowling becoming a pain in the arm?

Pain can often keep bowlers from one of their favorite weekly activities. And injuries can affect work life as well. If you’ve got aches and pains from bowling, we can help.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Common bowling injuries (causes, symptoms, treatments)
  • How to prevent bowling injuries
  • How Motus Rehabilitiation can help

Let’s start with a look at 3 common injuries:

Bowling Injuries

Bowler’s Elbow

Using improper form can lead to bowler's elbow and other bowling injuries.

Maybe you’ve heard of tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. But bowler’s elbow? It’s all “epicondylitis.”

That’s a the textbook way of saying that the tendons in your arms are inflamed. You experience this as pain in your elbow or forearm.

So why does bowling cause elbow pain? Like golf and tennis, bowling requires a frequent, repetitive movement of your wrists. This puts a strain on the tendons in your elbow.

Do you have bowler’s elbow?

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Dull aching forearm pain that gets worse when gripping
  • Pain with flexing against weight (like a bowling ball)
  • Pain that spreads to your forearms and wrists
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Weakened grip

How do you treat bowler’s elbow?

  • Rest: Stop bowling for a while
  • Physical therapy: Exercises to strengthen your elbow. A brace might also be used
  • Surgery: The last resort. A doctor will replace diseased tissue with healthy tissue

Shoulder Tendonitis

Shoulder tendinitis can cause shoulder pain after bowling.

Having shoulder pain after bowling? You may be dealing with shoulder tendonitis, or “tendonopathy.”

This is common in sports that involve throwing. And, like Bowler’s elbow, shoulder tendinitis is likely with repetitive motion.

Throwing the ball too hard or with too much force can cause tendonitis as well. In some cases, you could even tear shoulder tendons in this way.

Do you have shoulder tendonitis?

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Dull aching or pain after bowling
  • Sharp pain when moving the shoulder forcefully
  • Pain that radiates to the upper arm
  • Shoulder stiffness

How do you treat shoulder tendonitis?

  • Rest: A break from bowling will help
  • Physical therapy: Exercises to strengthen your shoulder
  • Surgery: Again, this is the final option. But it may be needed if you’ve torn something

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger can cause hand pain after bowling

Trigger finger can be caused by repetitive strain on the fingers. It can also result from a lot of activity that requires gripping.

Think of what’s required to hold and throw a bowling ball over and over. That movement can cause trigger finger.

Do you have trigger finger?

Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Hand pain after bowling, particularly in the fingers
  • Clicking or popping with finger movement
  • A finger becomes “locked” in a bent position

How do you treat trigger finger?

  • Rest: Put bowling on hold for a while
  • Therapy: Exercises can help improve your finger strength. And splinting the finger in place may improve the condition.
  • Surgery: If all else fails, a hand surgeon can perform a “trigger finger release.” The surgery will allow your finger to move more freely.

How to prevent bowling injuries

For the most part, injuries like the three we’ve mentioned here are preventable. Bowling naturally causes some stain on your arms. But you can decrease the chance of getting injured by it. Here’s how:

Improve your technique

Using bad technique over and over is a recipe for injury. Make sure that you’re using the proper form. This is especially important when it comes to spinning the ball. Check to make sure that your grip isn’t putting too much strain on your hands.

Use the right ball

The ball you’re using might not be the right fit for your hand or your strength. The holes might be too far apart and causing strain on your fingers. Your ball might be too heavy, which strains your arm.

Bowl less often

Overuse contributes to most of the injuries we’ve mentioned. If you’re a die-hard bowler, you may be using your arm too much. Cutting back, even if only for a while, may do you some good.

Get in better shape

While bowling may not be as strenuous as other sports, it still requires your body to be up to the task. Bowling depends on a strong arm. If your muscles aren’t in shape, getting hurt is more likely.

How can Motus help?

If you’re feeling pain after bowling, Motus Rehabilitation can help you recover.

Physical therapy

Ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you. Let your doctor know that Motus Rehabilitation can help.

Contact us for more information, and to make an appointment.

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