Fishing injuries are usually the result of overuse of a particular joint. Pain symptoms in the upper body, back, hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder are common and tendon conditions or arthritis can develop. The joints affected and the severity of pain depend on a variety of factors including frequency of participation, grip and casting style as well as the type of equipment used.
Fishing in salt water or deep sea conditions requires greater strength and effort. Not surprisingly, enthusiasts of this type of fishing report the most problems. Fly-fishing, a variant of fishing which is generally of a lower impact but involves repetitive motion, can cause all of the aforementioned conditions due to the style and mechanics of casting.
Another concern for anglers is infections of the hand. In the Chesapeake Bay or other brackish water, an organism called Mycobacterium Marinum can enter the tissues of the hand and cause a smoldering infection. Another organism that can be very serious is the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria. It is typically spread when an open area of the skin comes in contact with contaminated water. Sudden onset of redness, pain and swelling are the main manifestations.
Conditions involving overuse of the joints can be prevented by using proper equipment and casting techniques, particularly in the case of fly-fishing which requires repetitive motions. Warming up and stretching, often neglected by anglers, are also important. Rest is important for treatment while serious conditions may require surgery to alleviate pain and restore function to the joint.
Infections of the hand are often not recognized as an infection initially and these conditions can be advanced before the sufferer seeks medical assistance. Rapid medical treatment with antibiotics and surgical removal of infected tissue is essential.