Introduction: Bowling is an immensely popular, but scarcely researched sport associated with overuse injuries in its participants. The purpose of this study was to investigate and report on the incidence of common upper extremity complaints in elite bowling athletes.
Materials and Methods: All Malaysian national level bowlers (n=39) were evaluated via questionnaire on their upper limb symptoms. A focused, relevant clinical examination was performed on each subject to exclude de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, tennis and golfer's elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger. The athletes were then allowed to resume bowling for 2 hours before completing another symptom-related questionnaire.
Results: Pain was the predominantly observed symptom, with a predilection for the wrist, ring and middle fingers, and thumb. de Quervain’s tenosynovitis was found in 53.8% (n=21) of the subjects, with 52.4% and 42.9% of them experiencing pain during and after training, respectively. Other repetitive injury-related disorders were also considerably more common than in their non-playing limb and the general population.
Conclusion: The incidence of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis was exceptionally high in this population. Further studies on sports kinematics are needed to prevent long term morbidities in these athletes.
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