Bow hunting is a sport that requires a great deal of shoulder strength and stability. Even though today’s bows are extremely easy to draw and hold, the slightest disruption in the muscles activated during draw can limit the capability of any archer. Shoulder injuries can negatively impact performance, and could even prohibit someone from shooting a bow altogether. I talked to Orthopedic surgeon and hardcore hunter Dr. Argo about shoulder injuries, here is what he had to say.
“I see patients in my office daily with shoulder pain. The shoulder is used for such a wide range of activities. These activities include: throwing a baseball, golfing, playing tennis, bow hunting and many other activities. A common source of pain in the shoulder is from rotator cuff inflammation or a tear.
Common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are:
• shoulder pain at night when trying to sleep
• weakness or pain with overhead activities (i.e., reaching for a cup off the top shelf, throwing a softball, combing your hair, etc.)
• decreased range of motion
• pain radiating to the upper arm
• pain with reaching behind the body (i.e., fastening a bra strap, reaching into the backseat of the car)
The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles that attach the scapula (shoulder blade) to the humerus (upper arm bone). These muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis (SITS). These tendons form a “cuff” of tissue that is responsible for “rotating” the arm. The most commonly injured muscle of the rotator cuff is the supraspinatus, although any of the rotator cuff muscles can be involved in a tear.
Rotator cuff tears can vary in size and location. Both the size and location of the tear will determine the appropriate treatment plan. Treatment plans can include:
• physical therapy
• corticosteroid injections
• surgical intervention
Surgical procedures for rotator cuff tears have become much less invasive over the past several years. I perform all rotator cuff repairs using the arthroscope. This technique uses small incisions instead of a large, invasive incision. Through these small incisions, a camera and special instruments are used to visualize and repair the rotator cuff. This allows for less tissue damage and a faster recovery, getting you back in the woods chasing after that buck of a lifetime.
If you feel you have any of the symptoms listed above and don’t want to jeopardize your hunting future, go the safe route and get checked out.
Visit Dr. Argo online for more information.