Four Most Common Bowling Injuries

13 September 2021

By Kevin Walsh, M.D., sports medicine physician at Premier

Bowling is a fun sport that can be enjoyed at all ages, amongst friends, or played in a professional tournament! However, whether you’re bowling leisurely or professionally, it’s important to understand the most common injuries associated with the activity and learn how to prevent them.

When bowling, the shoulder repeats fast swinging motions frequently, which can lead to shoulder tendonitis. The repetition of the bowling motion makes this injury very common, whether you’re a professional or amateur. Shoulder tendonitis can occur from improper technique, such as throwing the ball with too much force. To avoid this injury, players need to stretch their arm muscles. This will aid in preparing their shoulders for the repetitive swinging movement.

While it’s not as common as shoulder tendonitis, bowlers can suffer from wrist tendonitis. This typically occurs from the swinging and twisting motion of the wrist, which can cause sprains and inflammation in the wrist tendons. The best way to avoid this form of injury is by stretching and ensuring proper form when playing. If a bowler is feeling pain or discomfort in their wrists or is diagnosed with wrist tendonitis, it’s imperative that they rest to prevent further damage or serious injury.

“Bowler’s elbow,” also known as epicondylitis, is a common injury amongst professional bowlers. This is when the tendons in the elbow become inflamed due to the constant movement of their wrist, which puts strain on the elbow. This injury occurs from overuse and repetitive motions – specifically when bowlers swing and release the ball. Treatment for "bowler’s elbow" typically requires rest. However, in some cases, physical therapy and/or surgery may be needed.

“Bowler’s thumb” is another injury that occurs amongst experienced players, typically when adding spin to the ball or throwing it too hard. To avoid this injury, it’s important that players find a ball that best fits their fingers. Having a thumb hole that is too small will cause strain, resulting in an injured finger.

Kevin Walsh, M.D., is a non-operative sports medicine physician. He sees patients in our Bryn Mawr and King of Prussia offices. To schedule an appointment, please call 610-520-6170.