The ABS reports that lawn bowls is the fifth most popular sport in Australia today – especially among seniors, as it provides low impact exercise in a social setting.

Despite reporting few injuries, participants are at greater risk of developing one particular condition than in most other sports – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

CTS is the single most commonly diagnosed hand condition and accounts for about 90% of all nerve entrapments in the general population. It is particularly prevalent within the lawn bowls community, often referred to as “Bowler’s Wrist”.

CTS can be a debilitating condition, defined as a chronic compression/injury of the median nerve in the front of the wrist. It is caused by increased pressure within the carpal tunnel (a narrow anatomical passageway in the wrist), leading to impaired function of the median nerve. This can be due to injury (e.g., fracture/dislocation); the size of the carpal tunnel itself; nerve damage (e.g., from diabetes); inflammatory conditions (e.g., arthritis); obesity; fluid retention; other medical conditions; and (specifically) sustained, repetitive tasks (e.g., bowling).

Common symptoms include aching, numbness, tingling and/or burning in the palm of one or both hands (often more pronounced in the dominant hand), as well as intermittent “electric shocks” in the wrist/hand. Weakness of hand-grip is also common. Symptoms often increase at night and/or early in the morning (this often impairs sleep) and are often exacerbated by repetitive tasks (e.g. repeatedly throwing a heavy ball – or bowling). CTS symptoms also occur frequently when driving. Patients may “flick” the affected hand in an attempt to alleviate symptoms and often experience impaired grip strength/manual dexterity or start “dropping things”.

Many bowlers may “play through” the pain; so as not to ‘let down’ teammates or ‘miss out on the fun’, or due to the misconception the pain will simply ‘go away on its own’. However, when adequate rest/treatment is not sought, the symptoms of CTS often worsen, resulting in the need for even more time off the green. There is also the risk of further nerve-injury, as continued playing will likely exacerbate the condition.

The good news is that CTS is both an easily diagnosable and treatable condition – with the right testing and advice.

Nerve conduction studies (NCS) are the “gold standard” in diagnostic testing for CTS, as they provide objective information on the function of the median nerve across the carpal tunnel.

Corbett Neurophysiology Services (CNS) has been servicing local bowlers for more than twenty-five years, providing bulk-billed, premium quality nerve tests. We currently offer short waiting times, so there is no need to prolong your suffering (or sit out the next season).

Additionally, your results will be explained to you clearly and immediately by one of our highly experienced Neurologists; and a comprehensive report will be sent to your Referring Doctor within 24 hours, so you can commence treatment immediately.

CNS is the only large private bulk-billing neurophysiology diagnostic service in QLD and Northern NSW. Our clinics are conveniently located in the Brisbane CBD, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.

We use Australia’s only Cadwell NCS & EMG state-of-the-art beta software, to ensure the utmost accuracy of all results; and (to our knowledge) we are the only clinic in Australia routinely performing Quantitative Electromyography (qEMG) to ensure more comprehensive, objective results than can be achieved with traditional testing methods. Our team is highly qualified and experienced, so you can rest assured that you’re receiving the best possible advice and treatment recommendations.

For more information visit www.corbett.com.au or phone 07 5503 2499. Ask your GP for a referral today if you feel that you have symptoms of CTS.