Injuries resulting from the use of firearms go far beyond the obvious dangers. Repetitive use of shotguns, rifles and other firearms commonly result in thumb and elbow injuries. When the grip of the gun is held incorrectly, the impact caused by recoil can be absorbed by the thumb. This is seen most frequently in target shooting or sporting clays enthusiasts.
If the gun is shouldered improperly, recoil impact normally absorbed by the shoulder is transferred to the elbow. The damage can include blunt trauma, but most often results in a chronic or degenerative condition. Afflictions can include arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis as well as dislocation. It is of utmost importance to make sure that the proper precautions are taken. Another serious cause of injury, though less common, involves accidents with tree stands. A variety of fractures, sprains and dislocations can result if both the hunter and the stand are not properly secured to the tree.
Prevention and Treatment
Firearm instruction is vital for proper form as well as for safe gun handling. Correct mechanics will ensure not only a healthier thumb and elbow, but a more accurate shot. Many outdoor sporting manufacturers sell shirts, jackets, braces and other gear with special protection designed to prevent injury.
While we may be able to treat some of these problems with general medical care, surgery may be necessary if the injury is too severe or if the joint has degenerated to a point where no other viable options remain.