This is NOT good


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 23, 2009, 01:47 PM
So I'm practicing with my compound bows little while ago this morning, shooting a target on a beautiful day from about 18 yards. After maybe 30 shots or so, I pull back....just as soon as I get to full draw, or actually a little before, before full letoff - BAM, my right shoulder joint just pulls forward out of its socket. I can feel it and hear it grind and pop forward, so I drop the bow, fall to the ground, and let out a yelp in pretty bad pain. It popped right immediately back into place as I was letting the string down/ dropping bow/ dropping to the ground all in one motion. So it was literally out then back in, in a matter of less than a second. But it hurt pretty bad for a minute or two. Now this is the same shoulder I've injured 4 or 5 times before playing sports, and so it's a known weak spot since the initial time I dislocated it about 6-7 years back. But first time it's ever done this when shooting a bow, and in the past its dislocated in a backward direction, not forward like this time. This is with a compound set at about 65-68 lb draw weight right now.

So I'm sure gunshy now after feeling that pain. Don't want to do that again. So now I'm going to have to lay off shooting any bow for 2-3 weeks to give it time to heal (which is not good considering archery season starts on Oct 1), AND do some combination of the following:

1. When I resume shooting, crank my bows down to their minimum of 60 lbs, which is still plenty of power for hunting
2. Doctor visit to get Rx for orthotic device of some type which will hold the shoulder backward, and go across the back to the other shoulder to keep the joint more immobilized and held to the rear. OR, obtain such a contraption without the necessity of a doctor visit & Rx (possible?). I think that this idea is probably the best and most important one among my several options.
3. Doctor visit to look at surgery options or other medical options
4. Get a doctor's permission slip saying I'm crippled up, go buy and hunt with a crossbow. Sell my old standard archery equipment. Accept the fact that I'm a borderline geezer, and lose tons of $$ on all the equip I've invested into right handed bows, not to mention the skill level I've invested in.
5. Change to a left-hand shooter, and lose tons of $$ on all the equip I've invested into right handed bows, not to mention the skill level I've invested in.
6. Quit archery shooting & hunting.

I think I'm *definitely* going to do #1.
Almost certainly going to do #2 (any experience or advice with #2 anyone?)

Really don't want to do #4
Really really don't want to do #5
Really really REALLY don't want to do #6

But looking for advice on #1 - #3, espec. #2 and #3, if you have had anything similar happen. Thanks very much in advance. I was really looking forward to getting 1 or 2 deer with a bow this year. :mad:

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August 23, 2009, 01:54 PM
Ahhhhhh the Golden Years.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 23, 2009, 01:56 PM
Yeah, that helps.

August 23, 2009, 02:05 PM
I have a buddy that hunts with a crossbow and swears by it. It's quiet enough that only deer that are close by are spooked by the shot.

August 23, 2009, 02:06 PM
Hell, I'd get the permission slip for the crossbow, wouldn't think twice about it! You probably are more bow purist than me, but I'd love that!

For sure, if you're pulling more'n 60 lbs, you're shooting excessive weight. Get a bow you can crank down to 50, that's more'n enough, really. Or, maybe you can put lighter limbs on the bow you have?

As many shoulder problems as I've had over the years, I've never had one dislocate like that, knock on wood. Actually, I think I've welded 'em together rather than knocking 'em loose, LOL

August 23, 2009, 02:09 PM
number 4

August 23, 2009, 02:36 PM
I still have my health and I've always wanted to use a crossbow anyway. go for 4!

August 23, 2009, 03:45 PM
I think you need to go to your Doc and see what he says. It would be nice if you could find a doctor that was a hunter, he might have a little more insight.

August 23, 2009, 03:51 PM
I also vote for a crossbow, but I recommend having a cocking arm or string loops installed. You do not need to be in the field and have another episode with your shoulder. It might be detrimental.

Sportsman's Guide has a bunch of crossbows to look at.


August 23, 2009, 03:51 PM
Don't you thionk cocking a 175lb crossbow will feel good on the shoulder also. I would rank your bows down to 60lbs after seeing the doc to find out whats wrong with the shoulder. I am pretty sure that quiet and accurate beat speed anyway. You don't need 70lb draw weight. Really this is all speculation until you get a doctors advice anyway. So going to the doctor would be very high on the list for me. I would already be checking out brace options also. You will be shooting those bows again in no time. You may even look into lighter limbs like 50-60lb range. You can probably get yours swapped out. 50lb bow will still smoke a deer.

August 23, 2009, 03:57 PM
ouch, my hands got weak after reading that.

August 23, 2009, 05:35 PM
I would also think about switching to a longbow or a recurve and learning to shoot instinctively. A recurve at 45-50lbs is plenty for deer and you are only holding the draw weight for a few seconds at most. The "form" with a traditional bow is also different. You are pushing as much with your bow arm as you are pulling with your draw arm.

If you want to have a custom bow made this is the guy:

I have the Partner Takedown model, which I bought after a shoulder injury.


August 23, 2009, 05:41 PM
I own a 60 lb compound and a 50 lb recurve and I can tell you without hesitation the compound is the easier to draw, hold, and shoot. That recurve is a FULL 50 lbs at full draw and I tire quick with it at full draw. I use it to train. After shooting it, I can stand there all day with the compound at full draw, LOL!

August 23, 2009, 06:25 PM
There's no let-off on the recurve Gunny. You also should not be "holding" the weight of the recurve. When you draw it next time, try holding the riser parallel to the ground. Then push away with the bow hand as you pull with the string hand, while bringing the riser into the shooting position. As soon as the target, tip of the arrow, and nock are all in the same plane and over the target, release. The whole motion should be smooth and fluid and take about one second. My 105lb wife can shoot one of my recurves that is 60lbs@28" and 49lbs at her 24" draw. A 50lb recurve is not any harder to draw than a 50lb compound. HOLDING the recurve is harder, which you shouldn't be doing if you want to shoot fluidly and accurately.


August 23, 2009, 06:55 PM
Well, I cheat, I have a sight on mine. I never did get that great at instinctive shooting. I do shoot the recurve like that, quick draw and fire soon as I'm on target, but it's not very practical to hunt that way. You draw when the deer isn't in position to see you move, you hold while he moves into position for the shot. You might have to hold that draw for 10 or 20 seconds. I can do that with a compound, but not so much with a recurve. That and the slow arrow speeds and greater drop are what make recurves especially tough to hunt with. Me, I'll cheat. :D I guess I ain't a man.

Now, you might get lucky and get the deer looking elsewhere while he's in position and you can make the draw without getting a white tail in your face with a loud snort, but that's if you get lucky.

I suppose you could hunt from one of those little tent blinds, would conceal you better. But deer are going to see movement, especially inside recurve range.

But, what I was thinkin' about was more the effort on Dr. Tad's shoulder than technique for firing a recurve. I just seem to put out more effort drawing my recurve than I do my compound because the 60 lb part of the draw is in the first part when I seem to have more leverage on the bow/string with my arm. Once the cams break, it's budda. :D My own bow, I can crank down as low as 45 lbs and full draw can't be much worse than 25 at that point. It'd still kill a deer, but you might need a lot of pins on your sight with a lot of adjustment range. Also, would likely keep you inside 30 yards to be effective. But, I prefer to get that close anyway. I'm okay with a bow, but I ain't a competition class shooter at this point. Man's got to know his limitations.

My 105lb wife can shoot one of my recurves that is 60lbs@28" and 49lbs at her 24" draw.

There's no need to make Dr. Tad feel any worse. ROFL! :D

Fractal X
August 24, 2009, 02:59 AM
Dr. Winslow, I would definitely go to the doctor and find out what your options are.

Some years ago my brother had his shoulder dislocated in a high school wrestling match and it turned into a recurring problem (it had a habit of falling out every 6-8 months when least expected). Long story short, he had a shoulder surgery that tightened the tendons in his shoulder (my understanding of it anyhow) and he hasn't had problem with it since. In fact, he went on to join the Army and even with the strain of crawling through mud and jumping out of helicopters he hasn't had any more problems with his shoulder.

Perhaps there is a similar solution for your shoulder.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 24, 2009, 09:09 AM
Excellent, fractal; thanks! And if the doc says "really nothing we can do", then at the end of the meeting say "well, ok, then I need that note to shoot a crossbow please". So wouldn't be a wasted trip.

But I got right back on the horse yesterday. I have one bow I was able to come out 5 full turns on, and I think it's a 50 lbs or thereabouts (I had thought this new backup bow I bought was also a 60-70, but got to looking and luckily it's only a 50-60!) - I pulled it back several times without a problem. So, since it didn't reinjure in it's injured/weakened state, I think that with some recovery time and staying around 50, this will work out pretty confidently! :) And be plenty of power to take deer. But then what am I gonna do with my 65-75 bow? :( Maybe after a surgery......

I have a 50 lb recurve; that's worse to hold at full draw.

Suprised at how many crossbow votes - I'm gonna look into this a bit more; thanks. It would be fun, and obviously give you an advantage not having to draw in the field. BUT, it would feel like cheating to me........

Shytheed Dumas
August 24, 2009, 10:48 PM
The last time I bow hunted was a few years ago when I dislocated my shoulder in a tree stand and couldn't get it back in... at age 36. There must be something wrong with my shoulder joints, because I've had it happen multiple times to each. Anyway, I slipped a little on my climb up and my right shoulder popped out when I caught myself on a branch and went back in when I hit the ground. It hurt a bit, but I wasn't going to pass on a new site and beautiful day, so I climbed back up and settled in after I tried an easy pull and slow release with no problem. A couple of hours later a six pointer walked in to about 20 yards, and I had no problem with the draw. The release was a different story; out it came, and out it stayed.

I had good enough cell reception to call my friend, who was about 1/8th of a mile away. At 300 lbs, plus, all he could do was let me drop the 10 feet and break my fall. Now, anyone who has ever dislocated a shoulder can tell you it is EXCRUCIATING, but I can tell you it only gets worse when you fall 10 feet onto a big dude and crash to the forest floor.

Like a fool, I was determined to get my car home, so after walking out I got into my car with the 5 speed manual transmission and drove an hour and a half to my home. To make it worse, my wife and daughter actually laughed when I called them from the interstate and told them the story so they could be ready to take me to the ER. It wasn't so funny when the hospital bill showed up, but at least I had a doctor who was generous with the morphine and adavan while I was in the emergency room.

I have yet to pull a bow, and am still considering buying a crossbow. You know the pain, and you don't want to experience my story, so that's what I would recommend.

August 24, 2009, 11:02 PM
So now I'm going to have to lay off shooting any bow for 2-3 weeks to give it time to heal...I'm not a doctor, but 2-3weeks is not nearly long enough for a tendon/ligament injury to heal. My understanding is that takes 6-8 weeks. I'd see a doctor before doing any more archery.

August 24, 2009, 11:04 PM
Sorry to hear about your misfortune DOC. I was speaking with a buddy of mine this weekend at a local 3-D shoot. I noticed that he was shooting right handed and he has always been a lefty. He to has started having shoulder problems and decided to switch. It doesn't hurt that he owns a archery shop in Topeka. I know it is a big $$ money hit changing everything. Denise however shot a very respectful 342 out of 400 after three months of practice.

One good thing is since I am left handed I have been buying his leftovers at very good prices. Now I am trying to convience him the Mathews reezen he has is of no use to him and he should sell to me cheap.:D

August 24, 2009, 11:08 PM
My shoulder hurts just reading these accounts. Tad, I can tell you have a passion for this. I hope this gets resolved & you are able to continue your passion. As for me, I am thinking RIFLE.

August 24, 2009, 11:52 PM
don't forget to get physical therapy and some strengthening advice so you can keep it from happening again. you will probably never be able to shoot @ 68 #'s again, but if you can get healed correctly, and increase the strength in that area, MAYBE you will not have any more trouble. you may loose this season to heal up right, but in the long run, it may be worth it. if you do continue to have trouble though, the cross bow is probably the way to go.

jim in Anchorage
August 25, 2009, 02:28 AM
Are you kidding me? A excuse to use a crossbow? You hit the jackpot.

dagger dog
August 25, 2009, 03:51 PM
The only difference between a crossbow and a rifle is the BANG! Get your sholder checked out and go back to your recurve.

August 25, 2009, 05:46 PM
Where is the update Dr Tad?

August 26, 2009, 02:44 PM
I would avoid surgery at all costs. I had ankle surgery TWICE in one year to first repair then replace (when the repair failed) a tendon.

It sucks - big time. I'm still not 100% and it's been 9 months. It will probably be a year + before I'm close to normal.

I realize ankles and much more difficult to heal then knees or shoulders, but surger is a LAST resort now in my book. I'd see a physical therapist and a chiro after your Doctor to get some different opinions.


August 26, 2009, 03:03 PM
I'd definantly apply for the crossbow permit. If you think it's cheating just take extra time before you shoot so it's more like using a regular one

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 26, 2009, 03:47 PM
Update is, I'm still working on #2 - Question: Can you get an appt with a physical therapist without going through a Doctor? I know I can a chiro, but I'd trust a PT more than a chiro. I "self-insure"; that is, pay out of pocket for healthcare.

August 26, 2009, 04:15 PM
I think you have to see the doc first for dianosis then pt. It doesn't sound like the chiro would do you much good anyway.

August 26, 2009, 07:53 PM
If you don't have an insurance company to deal with you can go anywhere you please. I have a PPO so I can go to PT prior to a doctor.

I've been to a couple PTs - they were both great. I would find a sports PT - I think you'll have better luck with the type of injury you have.


Uncle Mike
August 26, 2009, 08:00 PM
Damn Doc....! You know how to spoil the upcoming hunting season!

Hey...get in the gym and move some iron, I have been told that when the muscles of the shoulder atrophy this can happen easily.

The muscles actually hold the shoulder joint together.'ll have to do the Arnold Scharw....whatever...thing. lol hehehe

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 26, 2009, 10:13 PM
Thanks everyone.....Funny thing is, I've been weight training hard since February - by far the strongest and best shape in 15 years. My buddies cannot even pull back my bow. The irony is that had I not been weight training, I don't think this ever would have happened. I would not have been strong enough to pull back a bow that was going to pull hard enough the other way to dislocate the socket/joint.

The bow is quite easy to pull back for me (was rather difficult last year before I started the weight training), and I cranked it up higher this year. But here's the deal - this bow has incredible letoff - like 85% - when it let's off or is about to let off, I tend to relax at that point. I think relaxing is what allowed the thing to pull out - so the reality is, if it HAD been a recurve or longbow, where I had to stay tense the entire time, I don't think this would have happened. And the muscle strength is biting me in the butt, because it has outpaced the sheer "holding together strength" of the joint itself, tendons and all.

I suppose the ligament and tendon and "inertial strength" if you will (tendency to stay in place) has been exceeded by arm and back strength which can place pressure on the joint, if that makes any sense, particularly with the prior injury (which I really don't know what exactly is going on in there, whether rotator cuff or what). But I have confidence I'll be able to shoot it if I focus on staying "tense" even after letoff, AND use some sort of orthotic device to hold the shoulder back, AND lighten up the pull weight. :)

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