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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 210-213

Common injuries amongst Indian elite archers: A prospective study

Department of Physiotherapy, Army Sports Institute, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication28-Sep-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Roshan Gopal Adkitte
Army Sports Institute, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.187559

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Introduction: India ranks third in mixed team recurve, it is highly essential to know the sites that the archers are most commonly injured. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the most standard injuries among the archers. This study holds a greater importance to create awareness among the players about the faulty techniques and the varying dynamics during the arrow releasing in archery with the quality of the arrow shot. Materials and Methodology: The survey included both national and International/Olympian players with a varying period of training schedule. The total number of Indian archers included in the study was 138 (compound bow archer 63, recurve bow archer 56, andIndian bow archers 19). The details comprised age, height (cm), weight (kg), training age, training sessions in a week (days), duration of each training session (h), number of bows shot in a single session, bow weight (kg), and draw length (inches). They were also asked whether or not they experienced pain in the last 2 years and a simple questionnaire of injury was filled and these were then calculated and the most common sites where recorded. Results: the most common injuries were the draw arm shoulder with a total percentage of 19.79, followed by blisters on fingers with a percentage of 17.01 and then injuries by the string touch being 15.97%. Conclusion: The draw arm shoulder pain was the most common affecting 19.79% injury followed by blisters on the fingers and string touch.

  Abstract in Arabic 

الإصابات الشائعة بين رماة السهام النخبة الهندية: دراسة مستقبلية
تحتل الهند المركز الثالث في رمي القوس، فمن الضروري التعرف ان إصابات الرماة هى الأكثر شيوعا. والغرض الرئيسى من هذه الدراسة هو تقييم الإصابات القياسية الأكثر حدوثا بين الرماة. وقد شملت الدراسة اللاعبين الوطنيين وفى فترات متفاوتة من الجدول الزمني للتدريب. وكان عدد الرماة الذين شملتهم الدراسة 138 مشاركا كالاتى: رماة القوس والنشاب 63، القوس رماة السهام 56، ورماة القوس الهندية 19). و قد شملت التفاصيل العمر، الطول (سم)، الوزن (كلغ)، عمر التدريب، دورات تدريبية في الأسبوع (أيام)، ومدة كل دورة تدريبية (ح)، وعدد من الأقواس بالرصاص في جلسة واحدة، والقوس الوزن (كلغ) ، ورسم طول (بوصة) مع متوسطها من 22.59 ± 4.24. 168.53 ± 9.372. 63.20 ± 11.948. 7.04 ± 4.663. 5.75 ± 1.095. 5.56 ± 1.881. 253.44 ± 930، 123. 15.09 ± 1.394 و29.69 ± 22.160، على التوالي. وسئلوا أيضا ما إذا كانوا أو لميكونوا من الذين تعرضوا للألم ألم فيالعامين الأخيرين وقد استخدمت استبانة بسيطةعن الإصابة قد سجلتبعد ذ لك المواقع الأكثر شيوعا.
تحمل هذه الدراسة أهمية أكبر لخلق الوعي بين اللاعبين حول التقنيات الخاطئة وديناميات مختلفة خلال رمي السهم و نوعية السهم.
الخلاصة: يعد ألم الذراع و الكتف الإصابة الأكثر شيوعا 19.79٪ يليها ظهور بثور على الأصابع وسلسلة اللمس.

Keywords: Common sites of pain and injuries, Indian archery, recurve and compound bow, shoulder pain

How to cite this article:
Adkitte RG, Shah S, Jain S, Walia S, Chopra N, Kumar H. Common injuries amongst Indian elite archers: A prospective study. Saudi J Sports Med 2016;16:210-3

How to cite this URL:
Adkitte RG, Shah S, Jain S, Walia S, Chopra N, Kumar H. Common injuries amongst Indian elite archers: A prospective study. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Dec 8];16:210-3. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2016/16/3/210/187559

  Introduction Top

Archery is defined as an accurate skill and an ability to shoot an arrow at the given target in a certain time. [1],[2] It is a static sport requiring strength and endurance of the upper body particularly forearm and shoulder girdle (Mann and Littke, 1989). [2],[3] Archery is a fine and highly skilled sport. Outstanding archers need not only special mental and physical characteristics but also stable perception and good skill. [4] It consists of a six phase techniques, i.e., bow hold, drawing, full draw, aiming, release and follow through, and shooting techniques. [5] One of the important features of archery is to keep the arrow velocity constant during consecutive shoots. [6] On the basis of the bow used, archery can be categorized as recurve and compound. Each of these can be played as men or women individual, men or women team, or mixed team. India ranks 17 th in women individual compound, 11 th in women individual recurve, 9 th in men individual recurve and compound, 8 th in men team compound, 6 th in women team compound, 5 th in men team compound and women team recurve, and 3 rd in mixed team recurve. [7]

In archery, the bow proper has two elastic limbs which are separated by a rigid middle part called the grip. Bracing of the bow is done by fastening a stiff string between the ends of the limbs. The arrow has a shaft, an arrowhead, at the front end and nock at the rare end. [8] As the archer draws the string back, the drawing arm is held at 90° or greater abduction and shoulder flexed across the body. In the drawing phase, the arm maintains the abduction as it extends across the body toward full draw; this action is known as horizontal extension. [9] Full draw is maintained for few seconds as the archer aims and releases the string. [10] A compound bow is mechanically even more complex as the archer holds the string with a mechanical release device rather than using the fingers directly on the string. Therefore, the arrow behavior is different than that of a recurve bow. [11]

Archery does not involve much of cardiovascular system but requires a good muscular endurance particularly in the upper body. The core and lower body muscles are required for balance or control. The forearm muscles are required for proper aiming and a steady grip. There are very less chances of any traumatic injury occurring in archery. They mainly occur due to the arrow and include penetrating wounds and may be fatal if it affects the heart or mediastinum. The archers are more prone to injuries from the bow due to repeated drawing actions. These injuries include bow hunters stroke, rotator cuff injuries, and tendonitis of the elbow, wrist, or shoulder. [12] In addition, as mentioned earlier, the draw arm shoulder injuries and blisters of the fingers have a greater incidence of prevalence.

The study thus aims at the incidence and the prevalence of the sites of injuries occurring in Indian archers. This helps gain a greater view of having the physiotherapists, coaches to train the archers and prevent the injuries.

  Materials and methodology Top

This survey was conducted as a prospective epidemiological study. Data were collected by questionnaire mentioning site of injury since last 2 years. Participation in the study was voluntary, from August 2012 to January 2013. Only active, competitive archers were recruited for the study. The study participants gave their written consent before data recording and were provided with detailed study participant's information.

There were descriptive questions in the questionnaire to gather information about the general characteristics (gender, age, height, body weight, and training years) of the sample [Table 1]. Besides these, there were questions about training sessions, the number of arrows shot in a session [Table 2]. The questionnaire was distributed to the archers during the competition in appropriate breaks not to distract competitors. The questionnaire was the only source of information on injuries.
Table 1: Number, age, height, body weight, and training years of individual archers

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Table 2: Training details, bow weight, and draw length*

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A survey-based study was conducted with sample constituted of 138 archers. Demographic data were taken.

  Results Top

With the help of the obtained data, it was observed that the archers were most prone to injury of the draw arm shoulder with a total percentage of 19.79, followed by blisters on fingers with a percentage of 17.01 and then injuries by the string touch being 15.97. Other injuries included neck and back, bow arm shoulder, draw arm hand, draw arm wrist, Achilles tendon, draw arm elbow, and bow arm elbow in their descending order by percentage [Table 3] and [Table 4].
Table 3: Displaying percentage of individual injury among players*

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Table 4: In all percentage of prevalence of injury*

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  Discussion Top

Through the present analysis, it can be deduced that the most prevalent injury pattern is "Drawing arm shoulder." This result is supported by Mann and Littke (1989). [2] Archery places asymmetrical stress on the shoulder structures, especially on the drawing arm shoulder. On the average, two-thirds of the injuries occur on the different parts of the drawing arm. Thus, to prevent these, Ertan and Tuzun suggested that the archers should pay more attention to the drawing arm by doing warming up and cooling down exercises before and after practice. [10]

The second most vulnerable type of injury was "blisters on fingers" injuries. These are usually due to drawing weight of the bow, and the number of arrows shot in a single session. Blisters are encountered due to excessive shooting and are managed in the usual way. Mann advised that the solution was assuming proper hand position on the string, adding spacers between the fingers, using a longer bow and adding extra padding to the prospective tab. [13]

The high percentage of 15.97 for "string touches" makes it third on the list. An incorrect release movement may cause lateral deflection on the string toward the bow handle. In order to prevent discomforting injuries, proper alignment and the proper release of bow is necessary. Faulty techniques that cause undue stress and muscle imbalances should be avoided.

Like all other sportsmen, archers should give uttermost importance to injuries so that it does not restrict their further play. They have to pay attention especially to drawing arm. Measures should be taken not only after the injury has been caused but also before the injury to prevent them. Dr. Haryani Ertan in his article, injury among the Turkish players, stated a three step guidance to prevent injuries. These were (a) the archers should undergo proper warm-up and stretching exercises before training session, (b) they should include strengthening weight-training programs, and (c) the archers should be careful about drawing weight of the bow and the number of arrow shot in a single session. During the injury, they should follow scientific instructions given by specialists. After injury period, the duration of any session and the intensity of training should be low. [10]

  Conclusion Top

According to the present study, it was thus found that the injury to the draw arm shoulder was most common among Indian archers using different types of bows, different training sessions, age, sex, and weight. The purpose of this study is to provide knowledge to the archers about the faulty techniques, trick movements, and altered biomechanics which lead to various injuries. The present study sets an aim to prevent the injuries with basic caution and avoid any obstacle in their play.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Leroyer P, Van Hoecke J, Helal JN. Biomechanical study of the final push-pull in archery. J Sports Sci 1993;11:63-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ertan H, Kentel BB, Tümer ST, Korkusuz F. Reliability and validity testing of an archery chronometer. J Sports Sci Med 2005;4:95-104.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mann DL, Littke N. Shoulder injuries in archery. Can J Sport Sci 1989;14:85-92.  Back to cited text no. 3
Subic A, Ujihashi S. The Impact of Technology on Sport. Taylor & Francis group; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 4
Nishizono A, Shibayama H, Izuta T, Saito K. Analysis of Archery Shooting Technique by Means of EMG International Society of Biomechanics in Sports Proceedings. Symposium V, Athens, Greece; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 5
Marconnet P, Komi VP. Muscular Function in Exercise and Training Medicine and Sports Science. Vol. 26. Basel: Karger; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 6
World Archery Current Rankings, FITA. Available from: https://googleweblight.com/?lite_url=https://en,m,wikipedia,org/wiki/World_Archery_Federation&lc=en-IN&geid=10&s=1&m=439&ts=1455613270&sig=ALL1AKjm9Pf1rejOrTFQ01yQo4UrkO7Q. [Last retrieved on 2013 Jun 28].  Back to cited text no. 7
Kooi BW. Bow-arrow interaction in archery. J Sports Sci 1998;16:721-31.  Back to cited text no. 8
Pappas AM, Zawacki RM, McCarthy CF. Rehabilitation of the pitching shoulder. Am J Sports Med 1985;13:223-35.  Back to cited text no. 9
Ertan H, Tuzun M. Injury patterns among Turkish archers. Ankara, Turkey: Middle East Technical University, Physical Education and Sports Department; 2000. p. 19-21.  Back to cited text no. 10
Miyazaki T, Mukkayam K, Komori Y, Okawa K, Taguchi S, Suguira H, Aerodynamic properties of an archery arrow. Artic Sports Eng 2013,16;43-54.  Back to cited text no. 11
Rayan GM. Archery-related injuries of the hand, forearm, and elbow. South Med J 1992;85:961-4.  Back to cited text no. 12
Mann D. Injuries in archery. In: Renstrom PA, editor. Clinical Practice of Sports Injury Prevention Care. International Federation of Sports Medicine; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

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