Contributors to this thread:
For those of you who have or have had shoulder issues, was it your bow arm or draw arm shoulder?
I'm right handed, but due to a weak/lazy right eye since birth, I shoot left handed. My shoulder issue is my right shoulder, bow shoulder.
Both. I injured my right in 1988, never had any surgery, just toughed it out for a couple years until it got better. It's still not 100% but I've learned what to do when it starts bothering me.
The left one is more recent. I had PT on it about a year ago and still do some at home from time to time. It's probably 80%. My biggest problem with them is lifting above chest level. It's just not there anymore.
I shoot right handed. Have had multiple surgeries on both shoulders. They are toast. The deciding factor is age. One of the most detrimental thing I did to my right shoulder was repetitive shooting. I often shot 100+ times a day. Today, basically, I have no right shoulder. I cannot comb my hair, right-handed. Multiple surgeries did not help. Repetition is your enemy...ask any doctor.
I had a locked shoulder on my bow-arm (left). Had surgery on it in 2012.
It took over a year before I could draw a 55# bow again and that was marginal. My strength came back pretty fast, but it was really weird, I could draw heavy bows left handed but my left arm would collapse when I tried to draw even a very light weight right handed bow.
I was working in South America at the time and was not able to get any PT, so had to figure it out on my own. Bought some of the rubber bands and got some exercises off the internet. Worked out for about an hour every morning and evening and finally got the strength back to be able to shoot. Took a pile of bows down to S. America for myself and the family and started out with the really light bows and worked back into my hunting weight bows. Set up a hunt in Argentina for red stag/buffalo to give me a goal to achieve and shot several times a week. Was lucky enough to get a red stag, but did not feel comfortable with one of those massive buffalo...
Still have some loss of range of motion (can't get my arm to go straight up), but have been good for shooting my bows since then. Probably should do some work outs with the rubber bands through the winter to keep in shape, but hard to stay with it.
I'm right handed, and while neither is great it was my draw arm that needed surgery. In my case, several years of martial arts and too much shooting in high school primed them for issues, while a fall rock climbing led to a torn labrum that needed surgery at 29. I'm 9 months post surgery, and I wish I'd had it done sooner...I'm sure I'll have issues down the road but right now the improvement is incredible.
Listen to your body. Listen to your Dr. And for the love of all that's good do your physio exercises!
I shoot right-handed and had impingement surgery on my right shoulder in the fall of 2009. 46 years old. Painful surgery but rehabbed well and quickly. Had similar issues with my left shoulder but headed off surgery with PT exercises
Draw arm shoulder for me four years ago. Ortho surgeon ID'd a huge bone spur via MRI that everyone else missed.
Few months PT, good as new.
Right handed and tore my left rotator cuff about 6-7 years ago playing Hockey, Had surgery in early Dec that year and was shooting my hunting weight bow 10 weeks later with Dr. approval. that shoulder is now stronger than ever and never gives me any problem.
The shoulder I pull the bow back with (right). Got so bad I had a hard time pulling it back in cold weather. Switched to the other side (left) and shot that way for years then decided to try the other way again. Now I'm shooting the way I started.
Right draw arm for me with an 80% tear out of the rotator cuff and bone spurs. Took me a year to regain everything I once had minus about 10 lbs draw weight. Worse part was PT and the down time. No longer shoot 60 to 100 times at one session like I did as a youngster. No doubt 45 years of pulling heavy hunting bow weight will take its toll on most folks.
Both, but the bow arm injury was not archery related. I believe my drawing arm shoulder issues are 50% archery related from early 3D days, and 50% autobody repetitive use.
I had to use my daughters bow this year. Dr gave me a crossbow permit, but I was able to draw 40# on my daughters bow, so I went with that. For the record, I would indeed shoot a crossbow before I would sit at home not hunting.
Right hand, rotator cuff surgery March 13, could shoot bow by mid June and killed elk in September.
Bow shoulder for me. Torn labrum. Couldnt even pick up a plate from the dishwasher to the cabinet. Had surgery in February and started shooting mid July. Hunted that fall. Took a good year for it to feel good and strong. Lost a little range of motion but no problems since.
It was my bow arm shoulder. Rotator cuff tare. Surgery. Physical therapy. Then to shoot again I had to switch to left handed,...still dealing with that!
Right handed rotator cuff surgery on left shoulder 3 yrs ago long recovery of course being 70 years old didn't help Lewis
I am right handed and due to freak accident on both six months apart. Left is worse than right . I did pt to get back to shooting a bow . Have dropped 10 lbs in draw weight and have been able to hunt the last five years since it happened. This year has been a struggle though my left arm is trying to cave in again . Thinking about surgery on it again . Good to hear some people have done great post surgery.
I started having issues with both shoulders about 12 years ago. Thought it was weird that both would give me trouble. Turns out I was born with bad bones in the shoulders. Dysplasia in both so I had a lot of slop in my shoulders which eventually led to severe arthritis today. PT got me through the year before last but I really struggled this past season. My right arm is still decent but my left (bow arm) is bad and hurts to draw and hold the bow now. Probably will be down to 50 pound bow this fall.
Right arm/ bow arm. Chronic pain from a 20 year old injury compounded, by shooting a 70 pound bow after the injury. Have since reduced my draw weight, but I struggle with this shoulder, and can see the need for surgery down the line.
Best of Luck, Jeff
Both. Right shoulder dislocated many times from a football injury. Been good for 20 years.
Left "bow" shoulder torn labrum which I did About 8 years ago drawing on a doe in an awkward position. Both are about 80% and both rehabbed without surgery.
Bow arm, impact fracture from rollerblading years ago. In the words of a shoulder surgeon "you're balancing your golf ball on the wrong end of the tee." I had to go through PT to get the pain to go away, and abandon shooting a longbow. My bow arm, if I torqued it a little inward, would collapse without warning. Holding 50-60 lbs didn't work. Holding 12-14 with a compound, works. I owe the animals a duty to be accurate in my shot placement.
I was born with loose tendons in my shoulder. Growing up and playing football and lacrosse, the hitting took its toll and I probably dislocated each shoulder a minimum of 50 times. It got so bad that at the end, when I would roll over in bed it would dislocate. I ended up having to have surgery where they cut through my rotator cuff, and then shortened my tendons (which had detached from the bone) and then anchored them to the bone. I was in a sling for 6 weeks and then had massive rehab as I had to get back in time for the spring lacrosse season in college. I had my right one done in August of 2002 and the left one in October of 2002. Luckily the surgeries were a complete success and I have not had a single since then and in fact now my shoulders are pound for pound my strongest body part, allowing me to should press 110 pound dumbbells for reps at the gym.
I detached my bicep tendon from shoulder one cold morning drawing on a montana muley. felt it tear and pop....ended up killing the deer though. My bro-in-law is a shoulder surgeon and I called him when I got home and surgery wasnt an option as it had been a few days. Bicep looks weird as it appears to be a tennis ball under skin. It is my right arm [draw]
String arm: bike wreck 20 years ago, surgery, arthritis, hurts but works except I'm out of the running for Cy Young
Bow arm: gradual old-man arthritis, pain will come and go but less if I keep working out. Getting tougher and tougher to handle 53# recurve which I only use in Wyo for elk then drop down to mid 40's for local deer.
Draw arm ligament tears. But it wasn't from archery. Had to start at 50lb draw after surgery.
Right shoulder [draw arm] Subcoracoid decompression surgery years ago. But shooting my bow had nothing to do with it. Other factors - i.e work realated
I have had my right (draw arm) shoulder repaired twice. First was a torn labrum next was a rotator cuff re-attachment. I initially tore it doing dips and finished it off taking a slap shot while playing hockey . I also have an impingement issue with bow arm but, luckily it hasn't given me trouble for several years now.
Bow arm. Injury wasn't from archery but shooting didn't help. Bad arthritis/bone spurs. Shoulder replacement in the future unfortunately
I have concluded that we are a broken up bunch of old farts........
Three total. Two surgeries on my draw arm. One on my bow arm.
I shoot right and left handed, and used to compete in Bionic Bow pulling contests. Even built my own 135# workout bow. I shot heavy bows for years.
Tore my right rotator cuff splitting wood, so I switched to splitting wood left handed and hurt my left shoulder. Then a spooked horse played pinball with me and that really did it for my right shoulder. Drawing a bow with either arm hurt.
For over a year I could not comb my hair with my right arm or lift a gallon of milk. Brushing my teeth hurt. I did some PT, and took cortisone shots, but refused surgery until I absolutely couldn't take it. Dropped my bow weight 10-15#.
I have no problems with either shoulder today, and comfortably shoot 65-68# compound, 60# recurve. But I no longer try to pull my workout bow!
fighting pain in my right shoulder which would be my draw arm, just hate going to doctors.
Tore the tendon off that attaches the supraspinatus muscle in my left bow holding shoulder on April 14, 2017, had surgery on May 8 to screw the tendon back to the bone. Back shooting a bow at reduced weight@50 pounds. I did shoot a little bit at 55 pounds but it was uncomfortable. gottoohunt
Both of my shoulders are shot but I can still shoot a recurve (50#) and compound bow (65#). When I do my left shoulder hurts worse than my right and I pull the string with my right hand. My right shoulder is probably injured from pulling too much weight with my bow in Jr High and High School and finished it off when it popped out of the socket doing military presses with too much weight when I was 18. My left shoulder popped out of the socket and was tore up in a skateboarding accident. They both healed on their own with no surgery but I have a feeling I could use some help with both from a surgical standpoint.
I have had multiple surgeries on my bow arm shoulder. Been stable for awhile now but it’s like glass. If I over do it, I suffer. Mine was not a specific injury, just years working in the trades. Still able to shoot and hunt but I don’t shoot 100 arrows to practice anymore.
Bone spur impingements on both shoulders. Left in 2007, right in 2010. Now I'm having really weird pain/tightness in right again. Hope it's not doomed for another surgery.
I am right handed and I have had two surgeries on the left and one one the right. 54 years old
I shoot right handed. I've had years of shoulder issues.. Due to years of abuse (football, powerlifting, etc.) In November of 2012 I had a partial shoulder replacement in my left shoulder, replaced my humorous head (I had a bone spur about the size of my thumb ), after lots of hard rehab, I was ready to go my next archery season. I do however still have some pain in both shoulders due to arthritis.. my right shoulder will soon need a surgery as well, hopefully just a scope.. some days are better than others shooting my bow but for the most part I've gotten used to the pain
Right shoulder complete Rotator Cuff terror...long head of Biceps torn....arthritis in A/C joint....all repaired but Bicep not reattached. Left arm complete Rotator Cuff tear....long head Bicep torn....repaired and Bicep reattached....why he didn`t reattach right Bicep, no idea....I am right handed.
Back in 2004 while in pursuit of a bank robber - the way he was driving he was going to kill someone - when I took him off the road, we both crashed. I've had issues with my left rotator cuff (partial tear) ever since. As a matter of fact, I just had another cortisone shot about 5 weeks ago.
**Just FYI***After we crashed, as I was trying crawl through the window of my squad, he ran across the street to a gas station and took a vehicle at gun point, crashed that, took another vehicle at gun point again, crashed into 4 more squads (it was January with ice covered roads and most of the squads were sedans - he was in a 4 wheel drive truck) until we finally got him about 15 miles later, as he was attempting to break down the door into a day care full of little kids. He is still a "guest" of the state of Minnesota.
I am right handed. Had my left shoulder operated on in 2012 . It was tore up pretty bad with a torn labrum, RC, and biceps tendon also torn. I had to take a year off from bow hunting it drove me nuts. I had the right RC repaired in 2017. Age probably has an effect on how one heals. I am 55 but feel 70.
Man, this is becoming geriatric Bowsite
Tore my Labrum real bad in my bow arm 25 years ago. While I was waiting for surgery bow season opened. I could not even hold a bow up due to the pain but I found out I had little pain drawing a bow with that arm(left arm). I borrowed a left handed target bow that had an electric purple riser and white limbs set at 42#s. I bought it home and sighted it in using headlights of my truck and the next day went out and killed what was at the time my best bow buck!!(105" 8pt) Fast forward and I have now had 3 surgeries on my left shoulder and 2 on my right. Need my left shoulder replaced but am holding out til I retire in 2 years. My surgeon said since my rotator cuff is not damaged he can do a full replacement and I will be shooting my normal weight of 60-67#s within 3 months. I believe where there is a will there is a way. The teeth thing, the foot hold, and god forbid a crossgun(which I despise) but if it keeps someone in the game cause they absolutely cannot shoot a bow then have at it. Shawn
Massive irreparable tears with retraction and fatty atrophy of the infraspinatus /supraspinatus tendons, detached bicep in my bow arm. I worked with light weights and can now hold a bow for 12-15 arrows. I can pull 60lbs. It was a lot of work getting there but worth it.
Draw arm,,downhill mountain bike racing and motocross,had ,3 right broken collar bones,,one of them in 2 places,drawing the recurve is a little tough some mornings,,but still strong..
2x both on my bow arm.
Had 4 shoulder surgeries 2 on the left and 2 on the right. Tore the Supraspinatus in half and dislocated the bicep tendon the right arm would no longer work. The other 3 were minor tears and bone debridement. Once you get bone on bone contact your rotation mobility is very limited not allowing good form to shoot a bow properly. My draw arm I could not get my elbow up high enough to shoot. My bow arm would not extend laterally. Once your cartilage is gone and you no longer have any space I was told its time for shoulder replacement. I found out each time I had the arthritis removed my cartilage is thinner and each surgery only lasted me 3-5 years. A lot of it has to do with how much space you were born with between your Humerus and your Acromium and of course the loading you put on the joints through your lifetime helps to Accelerate it.
With a constant sharp pain in my right shoulder, difficulties in full extension overhead, drawing my bow with pain, and reaching behind my truck seat while driving, I went to my doctor. Got a MRI. Radiologist stated slight rotator cuff tear. My general doctor referred me to physical therapy. Did PT for a few months. Didn't help.
Asked my doc to refer me to a specialist.
My ortho surgeon (also a bowhunter) after studying the MRI of my right shoulder, stated I had a huge bone spur. Then asked if I shot a bow. Nearly every day I answered. That explains the bone spur he said. Very common among archers.
Folks that have pain in their draw shoulder might consider getting an MRI and consultation with an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in shoulders.
The radiologist and my general doctor were clueless about the bone spur.
Maybe a shorter answered question would have been whose shoulders are in good shape lol Lewis
Both.....Have dropped poundage and am all the way down to 50 lbs, and still find it painful to 1, even lift the bow, and 2, draw the bow. Rotators on both sides are shot.