Bowler’s Hip: It’s for real

By , July 17, 2008 5:53 am

<image: owie hip>Ever since we started bowling so vigorously three months ago, my left hip has been in a lot of pain. It usually begins to flare up towards the middle of the second game. By the third game (and there’s almost always a third game), I am almost hobbling back to the seating area after I play.

Then, for the next few days, I am in quite a bit of pain whenever I get up out of a chair, or sometimes even when I am just walking around. The pain never really goes away completely, because we go bowling almost every three days.

Everyone keeps telling me I need to stretch out before I play. Fine. I’ll stretch out. BUT HOW to I stretch out my hip area?! (No perverted suggestions – you know I’m talking to you!)

I imagine that if I got rid some of the extra weight I am carrying around it wouldn’t hurt so much. But what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

18 Responses to “Bowler’s Hip: It’s for real”

  1. diane says:

    That muscle is the hip flexor–it is a huge muscle and tends to hold stress pretty easily. I need to stretch mine regularly. I think office chairs contribute to the damage.
    Do a Google search on “stretches for hip flexors” and I bet you’ll find good ones. The best I’ve found involves sitting on the floor, rolling back on your butt, pulling one knee toward your chest and crossing the other leg so that your ankle is against your knee, on the side closest to your chest. Your two legs should form a 90 degree angle. Lean back and pull your knee closer to your chest.
    I hope that makes sense–it is hard to explain stretches through text!

  2. Felicia says:

    Boot camp is coming in handy…..to stretch your hip, grab on to a chair, wall, or fence place left foot on right knee and go into a mid-air seated position (Like you are actually sitting in a chair but without one under you). Repeat with the other foot on the other knee. We usually do it for a minute on each leg. It is great way to stretch out the hip area!!!

  3. marissa says:

    ouch. that sounds painful! i would seek the advice of a personal trainer or fitness professional. or maybe even try a yoga class??

  4. ajooja says:

    Looks like Diane and Felicia have better ideas than me. I can’t get my mind to focus on anything that’s not perverted. :)

    My daughter has a strained bicep from playing Wii, so I can’t even come up with a good joke.

  5. Nilsa says:

    Yeah, I was going to suggest googling stretches for the IB band which runs the length of the outside of your leg. I’d imagine stretches for that area would also get your hip. Hope you feel better (and keep kicking ass!).

  6. Cat. says:

    Can someone videotape you bowling so you can see if you’re standing/walking in a twisted position?

    Also, are you absolutely sure it’s muscle pain and not sciatica? Because I have another friend who bowls and she has said frequently that there are times when the bowling aggravates her sciatica. If you hurt (as opposed to that semi-unpleasant tired muscle ache) while standing, sitting, lying down and walking, it’s probably NOT muscle pain–one of those positions would be ‘safe.’

    Whatever, I agree with Marissa that getting some professional advice is the way to go. If you try any of those exercises–which are excellent, by the way, and thanks to you guys who posted them because I’ll be using ‘em too!–and you get hot flaming arrows down your butt/hip/leg, STOP! Muscles don’t shoot pain all the #&* over the rest of your bod! Flaming arrows is more like sciatica.

    [I'm the fount of cheer this morning aren't I? Maybe it's because that stupid list I keep blogging about is overflowing with posts again! :-)]

  7. martymankins says:

    As someone who bowled back a few years ago (on a league), It was all alcohol that loosened up my hips to keep bowling…. LOL

    Seriously, it’s all in the stretching out first, as others have said. The first few times I bowled, my legs and sides hurt a lot. Then I saw a couple of people stretching out before playing and the next time, I didn’t hurt as much. Each week, I hurt less…. and that’s before the numbing effects of jello shots took over.

  8. Kyra says:

    Ok, from a personal trainers perspective, you need to take a step back from the pain and look at this from a different angle. Maybe it IS your hip that is wrong, but chances are it’s a different part of your body that is off the mark, should be strengthened and stretched, because where the pain lands is not always where it starts.

    You could be wearing bad shoes. Your knees could be twisting awkwardly. You could be moving your arm wrong when you throw… it could be a LOT of things. Your body will compensate and break in different areas. It’s a chain, it’s all connected. So you need to look at the whole picture before settling on hip stretches – and by the way… *ahem* NEVER STRETCH AN INJURY unless your physical therapist has told you to do so, how to do it, and for how long.

    (what soap box?)

  9. Angela says:

    Bowler’s Hip? I have NEVER heard of that. I’d probably just reccommend some oblique stretches. Yeah? I don’t know. I hope you figure out how to make it better.

  10. tori says:

    I wish you belonged to my gym because the trainers are awesome for stuff like that. Maybe I could pretend I was the one in pain and see what they tell me to do?

  11. Stephanie says:

    Yes, as Diane said, that is your hip flexor. I have had problems with my hips for a long time (basically injured the ligiments, and now the joints aren’t supported correctly) and I always hurt after I bowl. (As someone mentioned, it is possible that I have sciatica, but no one can confirm this).

    A stretch that I LOVE for that area is this – it looks funny and it’s hard to explain, but feels awesome:

    get on your hands and knees, and then bring your left leg up and lay it down cross-wise (so that your left knee is up behind your left hand and now your left foot is between your right hand and right knee, laying basically 90 degrees from the rest of your body.)

    Once your left knee is in place, slide your right foot back and drop your upper body down on top of your leg, moving your arms in front of you to rest on your forearms, so basically you’re laying down on top of the leg that is folded under you.

    You might have to wiggle around a bit to find the stretch in the right place, but when you find it, you’ll know. Hold it for 10 seconds, then do the other leg. Getting out of the position is tough – I can’t do it gracefully. To extend the stretch, lay your upper body flat down (dont lean on your arms).

    Do this about 5 times for each leg before you bowl – it’ll really help. It helps me.

  12. javaqueen14 says:

    Bowlers hip? OMG, no- I had never heard of that. Sounds like you need to get into a hot tub. Ha! The bathtub is my “cure-all”. When anyone complains, it’s always my first suggestion…. my 16 year old son just dies laughing when he comes to me “I have a headache” and I say “Why don’t you go take a soaking bath?” Ha! Ha! So, I say to you, my friend, GO TAKE A BATH :)

  13. Odie says:

    My guess is that it’s more about your form when you bowl. Be sure to bend your knees, and try to swing your arm in a straight line. Most people tend to twist in a funny way when they release the ball, trying to ‘muscle’ the ball and throw it harder. Your slide foot should end up pointing the way you want the ball to go. Be sure to roll the ball at the line, rather than throwing it half way down the alley. My mantra was always ‘slow down, roll the ball, let the ball do the work’.

  14. Gina (Mannyed) says:

    YOGA! :o)

  15. Kevin says:

    K – great meeting you with Beth in Chicago. I feel your pain. I worked in the yard for 5 minutes the other day and I can barely walk. I’m getting old at the ripe age of 37. On a funny note – when we first got our Wii, I played the Wii Bowling so long I couldn’t move my arm for 3 days. I hope you get to feeling better. Pain sucks.

  16. kilax says:

    diane – I so happy someone else has heard of stressing this area. And your explanation DOES make sense. I am going to try that! Thanks :)

    Felicia – That sounds like a good way to stretch the hip! I will just have to be careful that I don’t fall! Ha ha.

    marissa – I think that WILL be the best way to go if I don’t figure it out. The thing is, I devote a lot of my free time to bowling, so I may have to give that up if I talk to a professional or start doing yoga!

    ajooja – I knew you would know… I was talking to you! ;) I’ve actually heard of other people hurting their biceps playing wii. That just blows my mind!

    Nilsa – Ooo, that is also a good idea! I am glad I wrote about this here. I didn’t think anyone would care, but I am getting A LOT of good suggestions. I have hope again! :)

    Cat. – I had to look up what sciatica is. I am so dumb. If that is the joint between the two, that is likely what hurts. Steven has had his hurt before too. What does your friend do?

    martymankins – Why didn’t I think of that? The alcohol will surely help! LOL :D Maybe I will watch some of the people stretching at league to see what they do. That is a good idea.

    Kyra – I don’t even know where to start to identify what might be causing it. Maybe I am off-blanched or something. I noticed it really hurts after I bowl, when I do a 180 pivot on one foot to walk back to the seating area. How weird is that?!

    Angela – I hadn’t heard of it either… but I was happy to find out I am not just crazy…

    tori – Ha ha! If you want! Or you could do the classic “I have this friend…” but it would really be a friend then ;)

    Stephanie – I had to read your description a few times to get it, but that actually sounds like it would really help. I will make sure I do it in a carpeted area, for the eventual fall when I am trying to get out of that position!

    javaqueen14 – You know what? I LOVE HOT BATHS and I haven’t had one in a LONG time… even though Steven bought me special bubble bath! I SHOULD take one tonight! :)

    Odie – Today, I actually concentrated on slowing down, and after I was doing that, my hip wasn’t hurting as much! The first two games were awful though. I was just hurrying or something.

    Gina (Mannyed) – I should get into that. Maybe it would help me be more graceful in the long run! :)

    Kevin – HI! It was fun meeting you too… I am jealous Dave got to see you and Beth this weekend. When are you coming back? ;) And… this pain does really make me feel old. I am actually kind of embarrassed about it. Oh well. At least it is from REAL bowling! JUST TEASING! :P

  17. Sal says:

    The injury is real. I pitch modifed fast softball (often called bowling style) and I have the same injury. There is a large set of tendons that attach the Illiac crest to the outside of the femur. It helps hold your hip socket together. That set of tendons have been injured. i find that I get increased pain as I get lower to the ground on release. You probably have a 90 degree angle between the lower leg and femur on release of the ball. I am trying to find the answer myself, that is why I googled “bowlers hip”. I figured the motion is the same so there may be some info on it. I think the only answer is rest, and then muscle building exercises to strengthen that area such as squats and the like. Stretching, after it is healed won’t hurt. But I believe we must strengthen the area or the same will happen again. All my opinion only.

  18. kilax says:

    Sal – I’ve been trying to exercise and stretch that area out. I don’t want to rest for a long time… but maybe that is the answer. Thanks for stopping by and leaving input! I wish I could tell you I figured something out by now, but it was hurting again on Sunday!

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