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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 171-173

Injuries in pin bowlers

Department of Orthopedics, CM Chungmu Hospital - General Hospital, Seoul, South Korea

Date of Web Publication28-Sep-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anant Kumar Singh
CM Chungmu Hospital - General Hospital, 93 Yeongdeungpo-dong 4-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
South Korea
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.187555

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The increasing acceptance of pin bowling as a sport, as well as the keen competition among bowlers, necessitates the identification of different injuries found in bowlers. Bowling, like all other sports, has very sport-specific stresses and stressors all impacting the body in various ways. To the best of our knowledge, there has been very minimal research and information on bowling-related injuries. With many adults opting professional bowling as a career option, we need to better understand these injuries pathophysiology so that better training programs can be planned. The study objective is to describe the pattern of injuries in pin bowler and to locate the factors that may predict these musculoskeletal disorders.

  Abstract in Arabic 

إصابات لاعبي البولينج
الأقبال المتزايد على رياضة البولينج ، فضلا عن المنافسة القوية بين الرماه، يتطلب تحديد الإصابات المختلفة الموجودة في رماه. البولينج، ومثل غيرها من الألعاب الرياضية، لديها من الضغوطات التي تؤثر على الجسم في مختلف الطرق إلى حد علمنا، هناك هناك قدر ضئيل جدا منالبحوث والمعلومات على إصابات البولينج. مع أنه هنالك الكثير من البالغين الذين يختارون البولينج المهنية خياراً مهنياً، ونحن تحتاج إلى فهم أفضل لهذه الإصابات الفيزيولوجية المرضية بحيث توضع برامج تدريبية أفضل يمكن يتم التخطيط لها. وتهذف هذه الدراسة لوصف نمط الإصابات في رماة البولينج، وتحديد العوامل التي قد توقع هذه الاضطرابات العضلية الهيكلية.

Keywords: Injuries, pin bowlers, overuse

How to cite this article:
Singh AK, Lhee SH. Injuries in pin bowlers. Saudi J Sports Med 2016;16:171-3

How to cite this URL:
Singh AK, Lhee SH. Injuries in pin bowlers. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Oct 6];16:171-3. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2016/16/3/171/187555

  Introduction Top

Bowling is a very popular indoor sport and is played by most generations. Bowling is generally recognized to be a safe sport but can place considerable acute or repetitive stress on the body. Bowling, like all other sports, has very sport-specific stresses and stressors all impacting the body in various ways. Repeating a motion over and over again places many physical stresses on the joints including bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other supporting tissues.

Bowling has undergone a major transition over the past several decades from being a recreational sport to being included in Commonwealth Games 1998. There is also an active movement to make bowling an Olympic sport. As bowling becomes more and more popular as a sport, [1] we need to focus on injuries in pin bowlers so that preventive measures can be taken well in advance.

  Wrist and forearm injury Top

In bowling, the repetitive motion of the release and delivery is the main stressor on the wrist and forearm, which requires increased levels of physical fitness to support the activity; without it, a breakdown is sure to occur. The most common physical problems that bowlers incur are tendonitis of the wrist flexors and extensors, de Quervain tenosynovitis, compartment syndrome of the forearm muscles, trigger fingers, and arthritis of wrist and finger joints. [2]

The simplest treatment for this is rest from bowling along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or local steroids injection. However, once acute symptoms are alleviated, the most important thing in preventing recurrences is to strengthen the muscles and stretching exercises. [3]

  Hand injury Top

Perineural fibrosis of the proper ulnar digital nerve of the thumb, so-called "bowler's thumb is very common in pin bowlers." Dobyns et al. reported 25 patients with pain and hypersensitivity over the ulnar digital nerve of the thumb, with palpable thickening of that nerve. [4] Of these, 17 were keen ten pin bowlers and played 5 times a week or more. In this type of bowling, the thumb is put into a hole in the bowl, and it was thought that this had caused the fibrosis around the nerve which was found in most patients who were explored although one also had a chronic proliferative synovitis which seems to arise from the sheath of the flexor pollicis longus tendon. [5] The simplest treatment for this is rest from bowling. A change in grip may be effective; however, some patients were relieved by wearing a plastic thumb guard for from 6 weeks to 6 months. Surgical neurolysis is helpful in resistant cases.

Apart from this stress, fracture of the ring finger, flexor tendon pulley injury, and palmar fracture-dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the middle finger in a bowler have also been reported. [6],[7],[8]

  Elbow injury Top

Competitive bowlers are at great risk of elbow injuries, primarily from the increased amount of bowling along with the often fatal desire to create more ball motion. Chronic tendon irritation, commonly known as bowler's tendonitis or medial epicondylitis, is a problem both youth and competitive bowlers face frequently. [9],[10]

Treatment of this consists of allowing the microtears to heal and then preventing recurrences. Nonsurgical management is generally effective in reducing daily symptoms and allowing return to sport at preinjury levels. However, for athletes with distinct tendon disruption or patients with symptoms that are refractory to nonsurgical treatment, open debridement and simultaneous treatment of secondary pathologies can be beneficial.

  Shoulder injury Top

The deltoid is the larger of the two muscles covering the shoulder joint while the rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles that serve to hold the humerus bone securely in place. Ultimately, both are used extensively in all throwing sports, especially bowling. Rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff impingement, and bursitis are various shoulder injuries found in bowlers which once happens, can be very devastating for their career.

Stretching a muscle increases muscular and joint specific flexibility while reducing the risk of sprains and strains, soreness, and tensions and improves overall joint integrity. Therefore, every bowler must exercise and strengthen this area of the body to maximize our potential and minimize the risk of the injury. [11]

  Back injury Top

In sports, back problems are relatively common and most often result from congenital conditions, mechanical problems, or traumatic factors. In bowling, the traumatic and sometimes mechanical factors are the primary causes of lumbar injuries. Each bowler repeatedly swings 11-16-pound ball between 72 and 126 times per day during the qualifying rounds of a tournament (12-21 swings per game, six games per day). Over the course of several games and many days of continuous bowling, the lower back becomes fatigued, taxed, drained of energy, and downright tired. This is when injury susceptibility is the greatest. It has also been seen that most of the injuries in bowlers occur in the first few minutes of bowling, which may be due to improper warm-up. [12]

Exercise along with good warm-up has been found to be an effective means for preventing and treating low back injury enabling individuals to restore proper muscular balance and low back and hamstring flexibility. [13]

  Knee Top

The knee generally sustains large amounts of stress in most of the sports. Fuller et al. defined the differences between acute and chronic injuries. Briefly reviewing, acute injury usually results from a traumatic incident or experience such as a collision or sudden stop. On the other hand, the chronic or recurrent injury tends to develop over time resulting from repetitive motions. [14] Both acute and chronic injuries to the knee can be detrimental to a bowler's performance and future.

Since bowling is a noncontact sport, requiring the participant to perform a specifically learned sports skill, the most common injuries are of the chronic nature-like patella tendonitis or "jumper's knee" and knee bursitis. Although acute injuries such as ligament sprain and meniscus injury do occur in bowling, it is less frequent. [15]

  Conclusion Top

These days' bowlers are becoming far more strong, powerful, and throwing the ball much differently than ever before.

As a result of this uncanny need for power and the execution of biomechanically incorrect styles to generate more power, your body incurs a greater amount of unnecessary stress and strain. To the best of our knowledge, there has been very minimal research and information on bowling-related injuries. The status of injury, frequency of injury, management of injury, and prevention of injury are the areas of study that requires our global and national governing body's attention and investigation. Bowlers and bowling coaches alike are in need of some serious injury management information to assist their bowling and coaching activities. As our sport becomes more physically demanding, more competitively demanding, and more professionally taught, understanding and managing injury should become one of a host of subject matters of importance.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kerr ZY, Collins CL, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of bowling-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments, 1990-2008. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2011;50:738-46.  Back to cited text no. 1
Miller S, Rayan GM. Bowling related injuries of the hand and upper extremity: A review. J Okla State Med Assoc 1998;91:289-91.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ilyas AM, Ast M, Schaffer AA, Thoder J. De quervain tenosynovitis of the wrist. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2007;15:757-64.  Back to cited text no. 3
Dobyns JH, O′Brien ET, Linscheid RL, Farrow GM. Bowler′s thumb: diagnosis and treatment. A review of seventeen cases. J Bone Joint Surg Am 1972;54:751-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kisner WH. Thumb neuroma: A hazard of ten pin bowling. Br J Plast Surg 1976;29:225-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Fakharzadeh FF. Stress fracture of the finger in a bowler. J Hand Surg Am 1989;14 (2 Pt 1):241-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
Fukui T, Ishida K, Shoji T, Ito K, Matsushima S, Kuroda R, et al. A palmar fracture-dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the middle finger caused by bowling: A case report. J Sports Sci Med 2009;8:144-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Patel P, Schucany WG, Toye L, Ortinau E. Flexor tendon pulley injury in a bowler. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2012;25:282-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
Amin NH, Kumar NS, Schickendantz MS. Medial epicondylitis: evaluation and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2015;23:348-55.  Back to cited text no. 9
Briggs Consulting. Injury management II: Bowler′s tendinitis. Asian Bowling Dig 2001;50.  Back to cited text no. 10
Sherman AL. Arm and elbow injuries. In: Gotlin RS, editor. Sports Injuries Guidebook. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2008. p. 99-120.  Back to cited text no. 11
Kujala UM, Salminen JJ, Taimela S, Oksanen A, Jaakkola L. Subject characteristics and low back pain in young athletes and nonathletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1992;24:627-32.  Back to cited text no. 12
Briggs Consulting. Sport science and bowling. Asian Bowling Dig 2000;49.  Back to cited text no. 13
Fuller CW, Ekstrand J, Junge A, Andersen TE, Bahr R, Dvorak J, et al. Consensus statement on injury definitions and data collection procedures in studies of football (soccer) injuries. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:193-201.  Back to cited text no. 14
Griffith HW, Friscia DA. Complete Guide to Sports Injuries. New York: Berkley Publishing; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 15


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Wrist and forear...
Hand injury
Elbow injury
Shoulder injury
Back injury

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