Archery Season – Pounds Of Pressure = Elbow Pain

Yes, Fall has maybe unofficially arrived with the passing of the Labor Day holiday, even though if officially begins on Saturday September 22nd. But archery season for most states can begin as early as September 15th. 2018.  Good for them, maybe  not so good for the game!

Bow hunters after they’ve worked off the side affects of maybe  a little too much celebrating of the Labor Day holiday (too much food I mean!), start to feel the itch to go and get their hunting bows out of the hunter’s closet. Take them out and give them a good going over to see if the bow has any wear and tear that needs to be either worked on by a professional, or if some investment capital is needed to replace that bow with a new one.

One thing that the archer will be soon doing is taking their bow to a safe place for  some target practice in order to get their eye and draw ready to take on this  years various hunting  seasons.  That means a lot of practice, pulling back that bowstring, which in most cases has at least a pull weight of 40lbs. or it could be as much as 50 -60 depending on the size of the game you intend to go after. Shooting an elk for instance needs a pull of  at least 50lbs.

All that practice puts a lot of strain and tension on muscle groups that  probably haven’t  been used in this way for a while. Which means after a couple of hours of  practicing, your  forearms, shoulders and probably your fingers, (if  your using the old-fashioned recurving bow) will let you know its time to stop practicing for a while.

One  ailment that you  may not  associate with archery practice is “Tennis Elbow”.  That’s right, tennis elbow. It consists of pain occurring on the outside of the elbow after shooting.  The pain will be most severe over the bump on the outside of your elbow.  The pain will be worse when you straighten your arm and stresses the lateral muscles.   What is happening is that there is inflammation and micro tears in the area where the muscles attach to the outside of the humerus bone.  Repetitive shooting worsens the trauma to the area and increases the damage.  Treatment of lateral elbow pain consists of allowing the damage to heal and then preventing recurrences.  First you must allow the inflammation and micro tears to heal. This typically involves taking a break from shooting and taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.  When your elbow is no longer hurting you can gradually resume shooting.  Dropping your draw weight and using a bow with less hand shock will give your elbow a break.  A very slight bend in your elbow will also take some of the stress off of your lateral muscles.  Some people have great luck with a tennis elbow band.  It stabilizes the lateral muscles and helps prevent bow shock transmission into the elbow.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Tennis elbow is self-limiting, meaning it will eventually resolve without treatment. Despite this, there are treatments that help improve the symptoms, reduce the pain and accelerate recovery. Be sure to cease any aggravating activity and rest the injured arm.

Cold compress, such as Physicool Wrap,  to help reduce the pain and swelling

Painkillers and anti-inflammatories

Physiotherapy may be recommended by a doctor, although only in severe cases. Massaging the area may help the pain to subside and improve mobility of the arm

Surgery – although only as a final resort, to remove the damaged tendon

The PRICE approach is recommended by NHS Choices:

Protection – protect the injured area from further injury – using a support bandage if appropriate

Rest – stop the activity that caused the injury, and rest the injured joint or muscle. Avoid activity for the first 48 to 72 hours after injury

Ice – for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, apply a cooling therapy like Physicool

Compression – compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further

Elevation – keep the injured area raised and supported on a pillow to help reduce swelling

Physicool provides the key stages of PRICE in a single reusable bandage, providing protection, cooling and compression for the elbow injury to help the healing process.

A size A Physicool bandage should be applied to the elbow injury to draw pain and heat away from the injury by rapid evaporation. While the deep tissues are being cooled, the simultaneous compression effects of Physicool will modify the inflammatory response to soft tissue damage which helps promote healing.

So, go ahead archers, dust off that bow, stretch that bowstring and ease into drawing it back a few times, just to make sure everything is able to stand up to that old pressure and strain like it did last year  at this time. And make sure your  able to stand up to the pressure  as well.  But just in case, make sure  you have a package or two of the Physicool Bandage , in your  kit so that its there just in case you need it… Just like insurance, right?

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