What causes bowling elbow pain. Tendinitis or “Tennis Elbow” is one of the most common causes. Repetitive stresses placed on the same tendons over and over cause injury. It is a very painful injury and I can tell you, once you suffer this particular injury, you will not forget it. It is in most cases a persistent, nagging injury that is hard to completely eliminate. And once you have it, you will likely have additional episodes of bowling elbow pain.
What is Bowling Elbow Pain?
It can vary between just a dull ache, or a sudden and sharp pain. If it is a mild form, some rest for a few days or weeks can help to the point it disappears. A major episode can nag bowlers for months, years or the rest of their life. This is one injury you want to rest and not continue to try to perform. It will aggravate the issue.
Bowling, tennis, and golf, are repetitive sports that cause tendinitis. Stress tears are formed by repetition on the same tendons over and over again. Some of the repetitive strain cannot be totally avoided. However, there are some things that might help lessen the extent of the injury.
Talk to You Doctor
The first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor and get a qualified opinion about how serious your injury may be. You may have some tests done to see the extent of your injury. When your doctor tells you to stop bowling and rest the injury, do it!
I have suffered the same injury, and I was told the same thing. I took a full year off bowling, because mine was nagging me for years, and I wanted to clear it up, once and for all if possible.
Because mine was a chronic injury, a longer period of rest was recommended.My doctor recommended 3 to 6 months of completely resting those tendons. I made the decision to take the entire year off. I followed a rehab program for about 8 week initially as well. It was the best decision I ever made.
Improper Bowling Technique Can Cause Bowling Elbow Pain
After speaking with other bowlers and coaches I found out that my bowling technique could be a cause as well. They told me that I had a specific problem with my bowling mechanics.
I did not keep my arm tucked in close to my body. In my approach,I got my elbow out too far from my body. And I did it much too often. Not only was it hurting my game, I was hurting myself doing it. This is putting too much strain on the elbow median tendons. I always had a sore elbow, and it never occurred to me that this could be the reason why.
Elbow Tendinitis Braces
When I did finally return to bowling,I wore an elbow tendinitis brace on my elbow. I still wear that brace every time I bowl to this day, as a preventive measure.
I also made a conscious effort to correct the defect in my arm swing that may have contributed to years of stress that was making my injury worse.
By keeping my elbow tucked in and close to my body as I delivered the ball,I reduced the strain on the elbow.
Now I do this much less often, and always support my elbow with a tendonitis brace.The combination of better form along with a brace has been the biggest help for me. My elbow issues are a now a thing of the past.
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Is Your Ball Too Heavy?
If this is a chronic reoccurring injury for you, then dropping to a lighter ball may help.It might just be the answer to relieve the pain. If you are using a 16lb ball, try using a 15lb ball for awhile until the pain has subsided.
A period of rest, is probably best at first, then gradually try to resume bowling, using a lighter weight ball. As you strength improves, you can go back to the heavier ball.
What Are Other Causes Bowling Elbow Pain?
Always have your equipment checked for proper fit anytime you experience pain. Maybe you need something adjusted.
Check Your Ball for the Correct Drilling:
If we have a span on our bowling ball that is not correct, it can lead to injuries like tendonitis in the elbow. If you just had a ball drilled for some reason, and your elbow begins to bother you, then common sense says, get the span checked for proper fit.
We tend to feel guilty if we are not bowling up to par, but maybe it isn’t our fault. Too much strain on the arm tendons can cause this as well.
Keep Your Body Limber by Stretching:
Proper stretching becomes more important as we age. A good warm-up routine before trying to bowl, or jog or any physical exercise is a good idea. Stretching is probably the most important thing we can do to help prevent all types of injuries, including tendinitis.
A cold muscle or tendon is not going to react well in any repetitive sport. Older muscles and tendons are a bit stiffer and are more prone to injury.
The repeated stress that is placed on our bodies, during our sport activities including bowling, tends to creep up on us over time.
Then, one eventful day it all comes back to haunt us as we try to use a cold muscle too quickly, and painful injury is the result.
Could we have prevented it? Perhaps. Better conditioning with weight training and proper stretching could have prevented it.
Does Bowling Cause Tendinitis Injuries:
When we do the same motion, over and over again, we are asking the same muscles, tendons and ligaments to do the same task again and again.
As remarkable as our bodies are, they age and break-down. The older we get, the harder it is for our bodies to repair themselves, and eventually we have some issues.
Sometimes the tendons are injured after years of tiny tears that can suddenly cause one major injury.Too much pressure applied suddenly causes tendons to fray and tear loose.
When we get older this happens more frequently because tendons are no longer as flexible as they once were.
Check Your Mechanics
A sore elbow in bowling is common because of repetitive tendinitis in the elbow. Improper technique could be the cause. This is a common problem with bowling.
When we incorrectly swing the ball with the elbow too far out from our side, we put all the weight of the ball directly on the elbow joint.
This is referred to as chicken-winging the ball. I am here to tell you this will cause a very sore elbow in bowling.I know because I did it. Have someone watch your bowling style, and be sure you are keeping your elbow tucked in.
Is Your Arm Swing Free or Are You Helping the Ball
Another cause of the excessive strain on the elbow comes from pulling the ball from the top of your swing. If you try to help the ball, and apply excessive force to bring the ball forward, you will also cause some tendonitis in the elbow.
When you do this, chances are you are clenching the ball as well. You grasp the ball tightly, to apply more force to the ball. Multiply that action by 30 or 50 or more times per night and you have some idea of the strain your elbow and arm tendons are going through.
Try to be as Smooth as Possible
Tendinitis is also seen in youth bowling, where tendons are still flexible. They are still growing and also learning the game and learning to develop their form as well. The lack of coordination at younger ages, and awkward motions can cause injury.
Very competitive and aggressive adult bowlers will suffer this type of injury as well. Trying to “hit the ball” or aggressively lifting the ball to generate more turn on the ball will cause this type of injury.
What are Some Elbow Tendinitis Treatments?
R.I.C.E. Treatment Method is a Common Recommendation.
- Rest the elbow tendons: Take some time off to let the elbow rest and heal.
- Ice the tendon: Use ice to be sure to keep inflammation down to help with healing.
- Compress: Use a compression type support to help support the elbow.
- Elevate: Keep the elbow raised as much as possible to help avoid any additional fluid buildup.
Rest the Elbow
You likely will want to take a few weeks off bowling to let the elbow heal up some. The tendons in your arm have basically torn or frayed from constant use. Resting it is the first and best choice. Using ice to keep the swelling down.
Take some anti-inflammatory medications called NSAIDs which include: aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Naproxen (Aleve). These will help to relieve pain and also reduce the swelling. These also can be taken a few hours before bowling to help reduce pain and swelling while bowling. Avoid acetaminophen because it does not address swelling.
Ice the Tendon
If you use Ice, do not place the cold ice directly on your skin. Use a towel between the skin and the ice to protect against frostbite. Put the ice on for about 20 minutes at a time, every few hours.
I personally like to alternate it with some warm heat for 20 minutes. I have gotten some very good results with this alternate method. Some doctors say no heat. Chinese ancient medicine does not believe in using anything but heat for healing the body. Follow your doctors advice.
A good quality elbow brace that protects the sore spot is a good idea as well. It will give support as well as relieve pain. Some compression may help to restrict movement while the tendons heal.
Avoid those pronation movements that cause excessive strain on your arm and elbow. This is the motion used to tighten screws when using a manual screw driver. Try to use the powered version instead.
Elevate When You Can
Keeping the injury elevated helps with swelling. This is especially true during the initial icing. Sometimes it is painful to try to elevate an injured area. Anything that makes the pain worse, you should avoid doing.
Tendonitis can develop anywhere we put our bodies through repeated stress. It can affect the shoulders, hips knees and ankles. as well as fingers, wrists an elbows. A prescribed treatment option is Cortisone shots.
They work well for some people and some they do not. Once again, speak with your doctor, and weigh the risks and benefits, then make your own decision.
Rehab Is Helpful
A Physical therapist can also be quite helpful, and prescribe specific exercises to help a tendon repair itself. Tendons that are stretched properly, while healing respond better. Ultrasound treatments and low level light therapy is helpful as well.
New Elbow Tendinitis Treatments
A new treatment called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is also being studied. PRP treatment uses your own blood that has been reduced to a plasma, and then injected back into the tendon. Studies indicate it reduces inflammation and speeds healing in this type of injury. Ask your doctor.
If this article has helped you, please let me know. leave a comment below.
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