Two Injury-Prone Areas Bow Hunters Should Look For
For many avid archery hunters shoulder pain can be a deterring factor to continue on with the hunt.
If you think about the basic actions of shooting a bow – pull back with the fingers and arm, rotate through the shoulder, hold, and release – it probably becomes clear why upper extremity conditions are some of the most commonly diagnosed injuries among bow hunters. The drawing back of the strings demands a lot from the smaller muscles of the rotator cuff, forearm, wrist, and fingers. Plus, repetitive target practice to improve aim, timing, and other hunting skills can easily result in chronic pain or injury from overuse.
When a hunter pulls a bow that is set at 60lbs of force and shoots it 30 times to sight in their bow, this equates to 1800lbs of force on the shoulder joints!
Let’s take a look at two commonly injured areas in bow hunters:
The Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that cover the top of the upper arm bone and attach to the shoulder blade, keeping the arm in the shoulder socket. It is a common source of shoulder pain, especially in bow hunters or people who perform a lot of overhead lifting, pulling, or rotating of the shoulder.
Three common sources of rotator cuff pain include:
Both of your elbows are subject to a lot of stress as you bring your bow to full draw. Your bow arm is held in extension and your lateral (outside) elbow muscles are doing most of the work. As you pull the string back your bowstring elbow is flexing and your medial (inside) elbow muscles are doing more of the work. Manyo archers have problems with elbow pain on the outside of their bow arm. The medical term for this is lateral epicondylitis. It is also known as tennis elbow.
Usually archers will complain of pain on the outside of their elbow after shooting. The pain will be most severe over the bump on the outside of your elbow. The pain will be worse when you straighten your arm and stress the lateral muscles. Repetitive shooting worsens the trauma to the area and increases the damage.
Medial elbow pain is slightly less common for archers. The medial muscles are stronger and your elbow is more stable in the flexed position. Still the repetitive trauma of shooting can cause inflammation and pain on the inside of the elbow. The pain will usually be located over the big bump (medial epicondyle) on the inside of your elbow.
The goal of any treatment plan is to relieve symptoms and restore function in the long-term, so that you can get back to the activities you enjoy. Our physical therapists can do a thourough evaluation of you. We will assess your condition, listen to your concerns, and develop a customized therapy program based on your individualized needs.
Please give us a call at 901-756-1650 and we can answer any questions you have about treatment options.