Archers are athletes. At a tournament, for example, archers walk at least five miles each day and can burn between 100 and 150 calories every 30 minutes throughout the day.
As with any athletes, archers are prone to specific injuries. The muscles most important for drawing and aiming a bow can quickly become injured from overuse, improper technique, poorly-planned training, and inefficient gear.
Whether you're a novice or an archery expert, injuries happen. Get back in the field or back to archery training more quickly by knowing how to avoid these four common archery-related injuries:
1. Rotator Cuff Injuries
The shoulder joint is especially prone to injury from archery because drawing puts consistent pressure on ligaments and muscles. Specifically, the top of your humerus is round and rests in the joint of the shoulder like a ball in a socket. A network of muscles, ligaments, and tendons hold the shoulder and arm together. This structure allows a wide range of motion and helps archers raise the bow to aim precisely. However, due to its complex construction and the huge array of connected muscles in the back, arm, chest, and neck, the rotator is very prone to injury from repetitive motion.
Rotator cuff injuries vary greatly, and so treatment is rarely straightforward. In severe cases, such as when muscles tear, steroids and surgery may be required. Often, however, rest and ice do the trick.
To avoid injuries in this area, practice smart training. Be sure to complete stretches both before and after shooting or using bow trainers. When returning to the sport after an injury, try using archery rehab devices to prevent further archery shoulder pain. Finally, adjust weight resistance in bows gradually to prevent sudden over-strain.
Tendinitis is a general term for overstretched, painful tendons, which are the flesh that connects muscle to bone. Tendinitis can occur in the wrist, elbow, shoulder or anywhere else in the body where bone meets muscle. Like the rotator cuff, tendons are particularly prone to injury from repetitive motions, and therefore archers often find themselves dealing with this painful condition.
Tendinitis is more common in older archers, but anyone can sustain this injury.
Unfortunately, once it starts, tendinitis needs several weeks of rest and mild painkillers before it can heal. To prevent tendinitis, practice stretching to boost flexibility, as well as an archery strength training routine to build overall muscle to support archery movements. When getting back into the sport, consider using archery rehab devices to get practicing gradually and to protect against further injury.
While archers can face a variety of smaller injuries, like scrapes, bruises, and achy muscles, rotator cuff problems and tendinitis can become serious if not treated properly. To keep doing the sport you love, practice good injury prevention techniques, and give your time body to heal if it becomes overstrained. Using archery rehab devices, good stretching regimens, and strength training routines, any archer can protect their favorite bow-shooting muscles from harm.