Bowling Wrist Pain: What Causes It?

Larry Schroeder
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The Different Causes of Wrist Pain When Bowling

Pain can be caused by too much wrist position change, wrist action or even when you spend a long duration bowling. Pain can be felt immediately, however, most people only start to experience pain after about two or three weeks after bowling.

Some of the common pain felt by bowlers include thumb and wrist pain. Bowler's thumb is caused when the ulna nerve constantly presses against the bowling ball. The wrist pain, on the other hand, comes from swinging the back and front of the hand causing friction as the hand moves over the portion of the bowling ball.

The following are some of the most common things that can contribute to your pain when you bowl:

  • High gripping action- this is common among those who are inexperienced with bowling and can be corrected with ease.

  • Excessive wrist bending with the arm in a flexed position as the hand approaches the ball and the wrist is both the cause and effect.

  • Wrists that are weaker than the rest of the arm- for those who experience this, there is a possibility of stress injury and may need to take some rest from playing the game.

How to Limit Wrist Pain When Bowling

Bowling is a pretty simple sport. You just need to throw a bowling ball down a lane. Although it looks relatively easy, even professional bowlers can injure themselves as this sport means added stress on your body.

Whether you are a professional bowler or someone who bowls for the first time, your bowling wrist can experience some wrist pain. It is a common condition. You are likely to deal with it if you bowl a lot.

Here are a couple of simple tricks that can help you overcome bowling wrist pain.

Go for the Right Fit

You need to choose the right sized bowling ball for you. The perfect bowling ball fit is the only way to prevent experiencing bowling wrist pain. You may feel some wrist pain if the bowling ball does not fit your hand properly.

To find the right fit, you can do some research on bowling ball sizes, materials and types at home. Testing different sized bowling balls will also allow you to see which bowling ball is perfect for you.

So if you have long fingers, you should go for a ball with a larger circumference. However, if your fingers are shorter, you should prefer a ball with a smaller circumference.

Using a bowling ball that is the right fit will prevent wrist joint stress and wrist pain when you are playing the game.


Every professional athlete knows that the body needs more water. When you are bowling, your body loses lots of fluids. The more you sweat during bowling, the more fluid you are losing. If you get dehydrated while playing the sport, health problems can occur. You need to ensure that you stay hydrated when bowling.

How to Alleviate Wrist Pain

Due to repetitive action, overuse, and lack of support, the repeated strain on the wrist can lead to pain in the wrist. This pain is called wrist pain.

It can also be caused by conditions like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Are you a bowler who is constantly suffering from wrist pain? If wrist pain is a problem for you, you are not alone.

A study conducted on Malaysian bowlers showed that 10 subjects from the 39 subject interviewed had some form of wrist pain between 1 to 6 months after the pain was experienced.

The pain on the wrist can range from a mild pain to a nagging pain. The pain can also be accompanied by some inflammation.

Can Bowling Cause Carpal Tunnel?

One of the most common problems that men and women of all ages face while bowling is pain in the wrist and pain in the forearm.

During the initial phase of practice, you will probably feel a bit of discomfort. But this discomfort is temporary and is the result of strains and muscle soreness.

Overuse of the wrist causes tendon inflammation, which leads to nerve inflammation (carpal tunnel syndrome). Strain during bowling can happen due to incorrect technique and this strain will eventually result in wrist pain.

Preventing bowling-related wrist pain is something that you can work on, and by following the proper bowling techniques, you can overcome injury. You can prevent severe strain on your wrist by:

  • Keeping your head up, your shoulders' squared and your eye on the pins
  • Have a ball that is the right fit for you
  • Try to stay as relaxed as possible before you release the ball
  • Remain balanced all throughout the bowling process
  • Keep your arm straight or lightly bent as you bowl
  • Ensure that your wrist is relaxed

Can You Sprain Your Wrist While Bowling?

This is a very common injury that bowlers may experience. When bowling, the wrist is usually forced into hyperextension. This is termed as wrist extension. It is the opposite motion that you see in forearm flexion.

The wrist has two common ligaments. One of them is the triangular fibrocartilage complex. This is a structure that is basically in charge of connecting proximal end of the radius to the ulna.

You can easily see how when your wrist goes from flexion to extension, it gets stretched. This causes the triangular fibrocartilage complex to tear. Injury does tend to happen when you release the ball during the bowling process causing the wrist to go from flexion to extension.

This can be prevented by keeping your release as gentle as possible. Never jerk your fingers out of the bowling ball too fast.

What Does a Wrist Brace Do For Bowling?

If you have bowling wrist pain, then you know first hand the annoying and disruptive effects it has on your game. If you want to keep bowling and play pain free, then a bowling wrist brace is a great solution.

By supporting the wrist joint, a brace for bowling will stabilize the joint, decrease pain and offer some relief.

What are the Best Wrist Braces for Bowling?

It’s important to choose a bowling wrist brace that is designed for your specific kind of pain and uses a sturdy material for increased support. You want the brace to be large enough to cover the areas that are causing you pain, but it’s better to have a brace that has a slightly more loose fit. This will allow you to slide your hand out easily without a struggle.

Some of the top brands that are well known for quality and for their support of the game are the:

The Storm brand is one such brand that offers a variety of wrist braces for different kinds of pain.

One wrist brace size does not fit all. Make sure that the brace you intend purchasing fits securely with minimal movement. Don’t be afraid to try a couple of wrist braces on before you settle on the perfect one for you.

What is the Purpose of a Bowling Glove?

One of the most overlooked and most essential parts of every bowler’s wardrobe is their glove.

The bowling glove is also a functional tool. While it is pretty easy to assume the purpose of the glove is to protect a bowler’s hand from being injured during a bowling session, the real reason why a bowler wears a glove is to protect his or her hand from the action of the finger holes during the release.

These bowling gloves helps to protect your fingers from serious harm during this action.

What is Bowling Tape For?

Most bowlers experience a strange pain on the outside of our wrist in the area of the thumb. These bowlers usually don't give it a second thought until the pain comes back.

Most of the time the pain is associated with repetitive, high force activity which later manifests itself as pain outside of the wrist.

Closing Thoughts

In bowling, you are expected to release the ball underhand.

In bowling, though, a great deal of responsibility falls on the bowling wrist-and this is where the trouble arises.

In the traditional bowling overhead throwing motion, the wrist is relaxed until the release, when it snaps over into extension.

During the release, the thumb stays curled under the ball until impact. At impact, the thumb flick snaps it up, and into the proper release with, and the hand rotates 360 degrees to help in the follow-through.

Bowing and baseball pitching are very similar in this respect, and it’s one that causes a lot of pain.

Sometimes this bowling injury spells a recipe for disaster and eventually develops into a major, chronic condition.

Any sharp pain in the wrist or thumb area should be addressed immediately to avoid long-term damage.