GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Although gun season isn’t until November, bow hunting is in full swing across the state.
Specialists at OSMS of Green Bay are already starting to see bow hunters, treating them for injuries. If you think about the basic actions of shooting a bow, you’ll understand why upper extremity conditions are some of the most commonly diagnosed injuries among bow hunters.
“People come in, they tell us what happened- usually they have some kind of splint or ice pack on,” says Dr. Ben Zellner, Orthopedic Surgeon at OSMS of Green Bay. “We get them into a room, we take x-rays almost right away- particularly when they have trouble walking or use of an extremity. We get the x-rays, they see a physician that day and we have people available just in case they need two. We can get them squeezed into the schedule and get them seen promptly and then go from there.”
The rotator cuff, arthroscopic repairs and injuries to the forearm are common sites doctors at OSMS see during bow hunting season. Quite a lot of the upper body is used during the activity- from pulling back with the fingers and arm, rotating through the shoulder, to holding and releasing an arrow. The good news is there are a few solutions bow hunters can take with them to feel prepared when they head out to the woods.
“Overall fitness, I think, would be helpful,” says Zellner. “If someone is pretty sedentary and they’re going out into the woods, it’s harder to get around safely. So overall training and trying to keep people’s endurance and strength up as well as balance would help prevent some falls. You could also consider bone density so if someone has stronger bones, that’s helpful. People who are a little older may have weaker bones so maintaining your bone health is also a priority.”
First, specialists recommend hunting during the day as opposed to at night. Doing so will help with visibility and prevent any potential hazards of falling out of a hunting blind. Specialists also recommend becoming acclimated with your hunting gear. Understanding how your bow operates and becoming comfortable with its restrictions will make it easier on one’s body.