Having grown up near Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) in the 60’s – 70’s, I was right in the middle of a bowling hotspot (remember Happy Days & the “Fonz”?). It was a big part of life back then, either casually, or as part of a league. So it was only a natural progression that I became part of a bowling league for a couple years when I was in my 20’s. I had great fun in trying to better my skills and aiming to increase my average.
Since it’s been quite some time since I was an active bowler, I had no idea how popular it still may be. After some research, I was rather surprised at what I found. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 100 million participants, 10 million competitors and 250,000 bowling lanes, making it one of the largest and best organized sports in the world!
As one would expect, when you’re young and healthy, bowling has little impact on your body. You can position yourself exactly as needed to give you the best chance for the ultimate score time after time.
However, when time catches up to you, and you still wish to continue with your passion for bowling, this may no longer be the case. As it turns out, this seemingly benign sport can have some damaging repercussions on many joints in our bodies over time.
- Ligament sprains
- Lateral Epicondylitis (chronically stressed tendons in the elbow – i.e. “tennis elbow”)
- Shoulder Tendonitis
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Shoulder Instability
- Knee Meniscus and Ligament Tears
- Patellar Femoral Syndrome (PFPS) (the back of the knee cap rubbing on the thigh bone)
- Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITB) (connective tissue on the outside of the thigh)
- Hip Bursitis
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Sciatic Nerve Irritation
- Low Back Pain
- Herniated Disc
- Lumbar Strain and Sprain
- Spondylolysis (stress fractures of the lower back or neck vertebrae)
Sounding Rather Bleak?
After I did this research, and for those of you reading this, one wonders why anyone would take up a sport with the possibility of so much long term damage? Well, I guess it’s like anything that you’re passionate about – you do it for as long as you’re physically able.
If any of these symptoms are creeping up on you and inhibiting your game, there is hope! As long as nothing has become too advanced, there are herbal remedies (my preference) to reduce inflammation and even help restore damage (glucosamine for instance for cartilage repair).
Once the inflammation is addressed, support is the key to further help the affected joint repair. There is a specific brace for each of the joints listed above.
If pain is hindering you from fully enjoying your passion for bowling, I truly hope I have given you some guidance on getting back in the game at a higher level.
All the best!