Can You Bowl With Arthritis?

can you bowl with arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis there are a number of activities that become difficult. Bowling, especially, can become painful and frustrating. It is bad enough sometimes that people consider giving it up altogether. So, can you bowl with arthritis?

The good news is that you can keep bowling with arthritis. There is some preparation that you will need to undertake but with some ‘ground rules’ and a little customization of your equipment you can keep enjoying your favorite sport for many years to come.

In this article we’ll give you some strategies that can help to minimize the effects of your arthritis so that you can keep enjoying the game that you love. Without further ado, let’s talk about bowling with arthritis!

How to Bowl With Arthritis

Bowling with arthritis takes a few additional steps but it is certainly quite achievable. You’ll want to get into the habit of considering factors such as the weather, your form, and the weight and grip of the ball itself. Let’s go into these subjects in a little more detail so that you can see what we mean.

Check the Weather Report in Advance

When you’ve got arthritis it’s like you have ‘weatherman super-powers’. You know when a cold front is coming in and when it’s going to rain, as something about the air pressure just kicks that arthritis into overdrive.

To help minimize issues,  try checking the weather report in advance so that you are less likely to schedule a visit to your local bowling alley when the weather is working against you. That way you won’t have to worry about bowling a poor game due to the nasty influence of the weather.

Practicing Perfect Form Can Help to Minimize Pain

While you’ve probably been bowling for years, that’s not necessarily a guarantee that you’ve got perfect form. A little time with a bowling coach can help with this or you can simply practice it a little on your own. Here is what you should be doing:

  • Head up, shoulders squared, and keep your eye on your target
  • Make sure that your grip is natural and comfortable, an awkward grip will hurt later
  • Relax when you deliver the ball to your targeted spot. Simple form dictates you get the ball, hold it outward and aim, then it goes down, back, and smoothly forward.
  • Your arm should slightly bent on delivery or should trace a smooth arc before release

A Custom Bowling Ball Can Really Help

Perfect form won’t help if the ball is too awkward or heavy. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get a good-looking, custom ball then here is your chance. A customized ball can really make all of the difference and you’ve been bowling a long time now, so don’t you deserve it?

Below we’ve listed the properties that you should focus on for your new ball for best results.


Bowling balls for adults tend to be heavy. Yes, you can grab lighter balls, but those are designed for kids and so the holes are drilled in such a way that you aren’t going to be able to hold them correctly. To this effect, your custom ball needs to be light but will need a little further customization.

While you’ll have to get used to using a lighter ball, that weight reduction is not necessarily a disadvantage. Yes, the ball is lighter, but it is also still quite solid and it will arrive faster. Weight equals mass multiplied by acceleration, so science says that ball will still be deadly to your target pins!


Your sleeker, lighter, and much-faster ball needs to have a custom grip. This is a pleasure even if you don’t have arthritis but is especially important if you do. Get the holes custom drilled to fit your exact grip so that you don’t stress your fingers and wrists just trying to control the ball.

You will also want to consider a third factor if you are taping up your fingers.

Making Room for the Tape

Finally, sometimes taping up fingers or the wrists is the strategy of choice for an arthritic bowler. If that’s the case with you, then make sure that those grip-holes are drilled with a little extra room to accommodate the tape on your fingers.

By making them slightly wider you will still have a comfortable grip and you won’t have to force your fingers into those holes. This saves you a little stress and helps to ensure that taping your fingers doesn’t affect your accuracy in the game.

Wrist Support and Arm Braces Can Help Considerably

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While some people don’t like how they look, arm or wrist braces can really be a godsend when you are bowling with arthritis. That’s because they help to distribute the weight so that it isn’t targeting specific areas that will eventually flare up and take you out of the game.

If you hate the look of them, we suggest a compromise. Try bowling with some standard wrist or arm braces and see if it’s more comfortable for you. If it is, why not make them stylish?

That’s right! If you do a Google search for ‘custom wrist braces’ you’ll find a number of companies that can tailor a brace to your design. You can pick colors for your team and more, so your braces don’t have to ‘stick out’ if you don’t want them to. You can give them a little of your personal style!

We recommend using this wrist brace by Bowlingball. Its special fabric improves comfort and allows sweat from your hand and wrist to easily evaporate.

Final Thoughts

With a little planning, bowling with arthritis is quite doable and you should get to keep enjoying the sport. Just remember to check out the weather in advance to avoid any pressure-related inflammation and pain to start with.

Practice your form so that you aren’t putting any undue stress on your body and a custom bowling ball can help to minimize the pain as well. Finally, consider arm or wrist braces, as they can really make a difference while you are getting your game on.

As long as you set a few ground rules you should be okay, just be patient with the process and stick to these steps and you’ll be bowling well into the foreseeable future. So, what are waiting for? Get your gear ready and suit-up with a little brace support because it’s time for a little bowling!

Indoor Game Bunker

We are Indoor Game Bunker, a group dedicated to providing reviews, how to guides, and helpful information to those interested in a wide variety of games and hobbies.

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