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Why Do So Many Archers And Bow Hunters Have Shoulder Problems?


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#1 David Clayton Harrison

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:41 AM

Please help me avoid a shoulder problem. I don't have one and don't want one. Why do so many archers and bow hunters have shoulder and rotator cuff problems. I am shooting at 62#s, and when I get tired usually I stop but not always. Am I ok in avoiding a shoulder problem?

#2 Micky

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:44 AM

I do not know the answer for everyone. But, I would venture to guess that there are many that are shooting with too high of a draw weight.

Edited by Micky, 13 March 2010 - 07:45 AM.


#3 woodhick

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:52 AM

Is it just archers or just guys as they get older? I am not an archer and never have been and I have trouble with both shoulders a couple of my friends are in the same boat. I have a friend that is an orthopedic surgen I will have to ask when I see him.

#4 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 09:47 AM

I was an archer for many years. I am most likely the oldest person on this site and I do have shoulder problems to the point I cannot shoot a conventional bow any more. When I was shooting I shot all year long and I never owned a bow that was over 60 pounds draw weight. I sure shot a lot of arrows at lesser poundage though most of which were from a recurve. Of course a recurve differs from a compound in that you not only draw the full poundage but have to hold it at full draw too. In other words no let off. I do not blame my current joint problems on shooting a bow but to the ravages of time and age. I guess what I am saying is I can no longer shoot because of my problems but do not blame my problems because I have shot. Archery is a great form of exercise of muscle groups that may not get used that much. As with any form of exercise, start light and work up. Grabbing a heavy poundage bow that you haven't used for a few months can be a recipe for problems. I do believe that shooting a bow can and most certainly will accentuate upper body joint problems. When they get bad enough like mine I looked at a crossbow to somehow be able to get out there and hunt with stick and string. Arthritis has been prevelant in my family so I just figure that is where it came from.
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#5 Honky Cat

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 12:12 PM

I have heard it said that archery is a sport for the physically fit. That being the case, most physically fit people have had a life of physical activity which may have included some sports play. Even if you don't remember a specific tramatic injury, years of hard play and work takes its toll. So, bad shoulders and archery probably just coincide because serious archers stereotypically do more. I'm not an orthopedic expert or anything, but I doubt that you could cause anything more than muscle strain from drawing too heavy of a bow. If you can draw a particular bow without straining a muscle, it probably wouldn't damage the joint.
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#6 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 12:27 PM

O.K. Here's my light hearted take on bowhunters' shoulder problems. It could be as a result of any one or more of the following:

1. Bowhunters have to shake a lot more hands, or do more high 5s over the years because of all the friends they've made or from receiving all of the congratulations from taking all those trophy aninals! All that shaking and slapping high 5s really takes its toll on us baby boomers! Posted Image

2. A lot of us older bowhunters have been at it for a good many years, well before fall arrest gear came onto the market. At that time there was only two types of bowhunters, those who'd fallen out of a treestand, and those that were gon'na fall out! Shoulder injuries, along with concusions are likey prevalent with the silver haired...or bald...ing archers. Posted Image That's why it's not uncommon every so often to hear older bowhunters say, "Where in the heck am I?, or, "Gee I hope I shut the water off in the tub before I left!".

3. Older bowhunters tend to take bigger trophies as they've become selective in their golden years. Bigger trophies mean heavier weights to carry out of the woods. Heavier weights means more aches and pains! It's like I love going moose hunting, and really get caught up in the excitement when a big bull moose comes in, but all that enthusiasm quickly subsides once you're standing alongside your quarry and suddenly your smiles turn to the thought of, "Oh my gosh! Now I got'ta carry this 1200 lb thing out'ta here! Maybe next time I'll just shoot it with a camera!".

All joking aside, I think shoulder problems are more than likely just a sign of chronic aging. I believe older injuries from our youthful carefree days have a tendancy to come back and bite us. I think if we all think back, there have likely been times from our teens or 20s (or 30s or 40s for those of us who are foolish enough to continue to try and relive our glory days) where we were carefree and banged around like young bulls in a china shop. All those knocks and bruises from years gone by are potential chronic arthritic and rheumatoid kickbacks. Yes some of us have lived with the bigger is better syndrome in regards to bow poundages, but as we get older, some of us actually tend to get a little smarter, or at least exibit more signs of common sense, and come to the realization that sometimes less will still actually get the job done with fewer complications.

There are measures we can take to reduce the aging effects that mother nature throws upon us like ensuring that we eat things that are actually good for us. Calcium foods will help maintain strong bones and fruits and vegetables, instead of chips and high fatty foods will help keep your body mass to manageable weights. Excess body mass can play havoc on an overburdened skeletal frame. The first thing that a chiroprator will talk to a patient about is how excess weight, particularly in the stomache area, will weigh heavily on your spine resulting in back problems galore.

And exercise in the golden years is the key to staying young. If you remain active, and it doesn't have to be physically stressful like playing a team sport, you will not only physically feel better, but you'll also feel better about yourself. It's really just a matter of staying off the couch and in front of the television for hours at a time. Just get out and go for a walk or do something around the house that you enjoy like a craft or hobby.

I have been fortunate in that I have been fairly healthy all my life, but as I crowd my silver years, I do notice the aches and pains more frequently, but try and take reasonable measures to ease the transition. And at almost 58, I can still shoot my bow, shoulder pain free (touch wood).

TBow

Edited by Geoff / TBow, 13 March 2010 - 01:05 PM.

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#7 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 05:20 PM

And exercise in the golden years is the key to staying young. If you remain active, and it doesn't have to be physically stressful like playing a team sport, you will not only physically feel better, but you'll also feel better about yourself. It's really just a matter of staying off the couch and in front of the television for hours at a time. Just get out and go for a walk or do something around the house that you enjoy like a craft or hobby.

I have been fortunate in that I have been fairly healthy all my life, but as I crowd my silver years, I do notice the aches and pains more frequently, but try and take reasonable measures to ease the transition. And at almost 58, I can still shoot my bow, shoulder pain free (touch wood).

Bingo !!!! TBow the key is exercise, regular exercise, working the whole body but especially working on your core groups, your shoulders, back and arms.
I think most archery coaches will tell you get into a competitive position you have to strengthen yourself. Bowhunter probably don't exercise enough or ever, thinking they are strong enough to pick up heavy weights well over 60 pounds that they should be strong enough to pull 60 plus pounds with a bow. The shoulders then take the damage. The shoulders only have 4 short muscles and generally don't get much strengthen from daily use. The strain of pulling a bow and then holding at full draw puts a lot of pushing and pulling on that joint and those smaller muscles. They are weakest link in the group of muscles for shooting a bow. Like TBow said you have to exercise or you loose it muscle and if you loose it you possibly may get injured. Posted Image
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