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#46482 - 12/20/07 01:38 AM Bowler's Thumb
Pattayabowler Offline
Bracket Donor

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 189
A/S/L: 54/M/USA/THAILAND
As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I have just returned to bowling this past year and have changed from the conventional grip to the finger tip grip. My thumb has really increased in size over the past 8 to 10 months. At first it was gradual with my having to alter the thumb hole not too frequently, but then it went to every month or so and now I'm finding that I have to make small incremental adjustments every week or two. The first knuckle on my thumb continues to grow larger on the outer edges requiring additional sanding of the thumb hole to compensate for this. Due to this constant adjustment, I think my thumb hole will soon become more oval shaped versus the traditional round. Sometimes I have to do a little sanding before I begin to bowl. My thumb seems to be larger prior to bowling and gradually shrinks during my bowling session.

Is there a point to where the thumb size stabilizes or is this a continuing problem to deal with? Could it be something I'm doing wrong that causes my thumb to well at this joint especially on the inside of the knuckle? Is it probably that I'm not getting my thumb out of the ball soon enough during the release?

Thanks,

Pattayabowler
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#46493 - 12/20/07 02:40 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Pattayabowler]
Jock Offline
Team USA Contender

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 406
A/S/L: 51/M/France, right handed
Watch out that you're using your thumb correctly.

In bowling, the thumb should be straight (in the hole) with the thumbnail touching the back of the hole. Don't bend it at all.

If you bend it (even slightly) at the knuckle, this will cause the knuckle to rub against the back of the hole, then the knuckle will become irritated and sore. To compensate for this, nature will make a callous where the thumb is being constantly rubbed (normally on the knuckle).
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#46498 - 12/20/07 08:19 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Jock]
Luksa Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 261
A/S/L: 29/M/Slovenia
You probably have a fit problem. Is the hole oval?

I used to have a round hole, which was also too big and I had the exact same problems as you. But now, since I have the hole drilled as it should be (oval to match my thumb and tight enough), my thumb has actually slightly gotten smaller.

One of my friends also had the same problem.
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#46508 - 12/20/07 11:43 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Luksa]
Pattayabowler Offline
Bracket Donor

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 189
A/S/L: 54/M/USA/THAILAND
I'm not experiencing any soreness nor have any callouses on my thumb. My thumb hole is never too big, if anything I would classiy it as being too small most of the time hence the reason I have to keep opening it up. My thumb hole started out round and the fit was good, but over time as the knuckle at the first joint has gotten wider, my sanding adjustments have whittled out a slightly oval hole.

I think that I may not be getting my thumb out of the ball well due to maintaining a relatively snug thumb hole in the past and due to occasional thumb sticking, it has caused my thumb to swell. I loosened up my thumb hole in all of my balls today and will give them a try.
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Legends - Conquerer (341 of 500) - Medium/Heavy to Heavy
Legends - Black Pearl - Medium to Medium/Heavy
Lane Masters - Sure Strike - Light to Medium
Hammer - Black Widow Pearl - Medium
Hammer - Emerald Vibe - Dry to Light
Ebonite - Maxim - Spare

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#46531 - 12/21/07 12:13 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Pattayabowler]
ExBronxiteBowler Offline
PBA Senior Bowler

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 539
A/S/L: M 59 Staten Island, NY
In my experience, the average bowler that attempts to open thier own thumbhole will usuaully lave the thumbhole rough and bumpy, which cause the thumb to swell more which makes you try to open the thumbhole more... Unless you have opened hundreds if not thousands of ball, I recommend that you not do it yourself. In addition, its very easy to cone the thumb hole, ig its larger at the top than at the bottom for the hole, which again leads to your thumb swelling.... If yoiu insist on opening it yourself, please make sure you have the proper tools. Several companies make hand mandrals that will hold a 3/4 drum sanding sleeve so you can open your thumbhole taperfree. Of course, after you open the thumb, you will need to smooth it out, try using 400 grit wet-dry sand paper for that, and go up and down around the area where you opened the thumb. Sometimes, its just bevel thats keeping you from clearing the thumb cleanly.

So, you should have in your pocession,

a hand drum sander, a bevel knife, several drum sander sleeves (they will wear out eventually, and you will need to change it) 400, 600, 1000 grit sandpaper, depending on how smooth you want the thumbhole. Some people like the feel of the sanding disck that gets used with a sander, and some people like the hole really smooth. Thats personal perference.
_________________________
Scores are all relative to the scoring pace of the lane condition. This means if everyone and their brother is striking, you better find a way to strike, if no one is stringing strikes, keep the ball in play and make your spares.

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#46533 - 12/21/07 01:31 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: ExBronxiteBowler]
Pattayabowler Offline
Bracket Donor

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 189
A/S/L: 54/M/USA/THAILAND
Originally Posted By: ExBronxiteBowler
In my experience, the average bowler that attempts to open thier own thumbhole will usuaully lave the thumbhole rough and bumpy, which cause the thumb to swell more which makes you try to open the thumbhole more... Unless you have opened hundreds if not thousands of ball, I recommend that you not do it yourself. In addition, its very easy to cone the thumb hole, ig its larger at the top than at the bottom for the hole, which again leads to your thumb swelling.... If yoiu insist on opening it yourself, please make sure you have the proper tools. Several companies make hand mandrals that will hold a 3/4 drum sanding sleeve so you can open your thumbhole taperfree. Of course, after you open the thumb, you will need to smooth it out, try using 400 grit wet-dry sand paper for that, and go up and down around the area where you opened the thumb. Sometimes, its just bevel thats keeping you from clearing the thumb cleanly.

So, you should have in your pocession,

a hand drum sander, a bevel knife, several drum sander sleeves (they will wear out eventually, and you will need to change it) 400, 600, 1000 grit sandpaper, depending on how smooth you want the thumbhole. Some people like the feel of the sanding disck that gets used with a sander, and some people like the hole really smooth. Thats personal perference.


Thanks for the information. What I have been doing, since my thumb only fits tightly at both sides of the knuckle, I rub a little ink on my thumb where it tends to be tight in the ball and insert my thumb as I normally would when bowling and promptly remove it leaving an ink residue inside the thumb insert. I primarily sand this area, spreading it out evenly using 150-320 grit wet/dry sand paper rolled up and using an up and down motion the full length of the insert. Once the hole is opened up to my satisfaction, I do the same using 600 then 800 grit sand paper to make the hole smooth again. This tends to work fine for a while with no blisters, soreness whatsoever, however eventually my knuckle will get bigger and I will have to touch it up again.

I am beginning to think that the problem with my thumb knuckle becoming enlarged must be related to my release. I have always preferred a snug fit, but sometimes the fit may become a little too snug during a bowling session causing me to experience not as smooth of a release, thumb not dropping out as early as it should.

Should you be able to insert your thumb and be allowed to rotate it 360 degrees around the thumb hole? I'm left handed and can rotate my thumb clockwise, with some restriction, around the thumb hole, but not counter clockwise. As I said earlier, my ball was originally drilled round, but after some sanding, the thumb hole has evidently taken on an oval shape even though it not readily noticable to the naked eye. Do you generally drill a new bowler's thumb hole slight oversized to compensate for some swelling or enlargement of the thumb that generally seems to occur after bowling regularly at the beginning? I generally bowl at least 20 games per week.

I'll look into picking up a hand drum sander or maybe I will take my balls back to the Pro Shop. I do want to find a solution to my problem instead of having to have it drilled out every month or so.

Thanks,

Pattayabowler

Thanks,

Pattayabowler
_________________________
Legends - Conquerer (341 of 500) - Medium/Heavy to Heavy
Legends - Black Pearl - Medium to Medium/Heavy
Lane Masters - Sure Strike - Light to Medium
Hammer - Black Widow Pearl - Medium
Hammer - Emerald Vibe - Dry to Light
Ebonite - Maxim - Spare

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#46534 - 12/21/07 01:48 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Pattayabowler]
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
No your thumb hole should be oval. The vast majority of bowlers have an oval thumb, not a round one. So if you turn your thumb around in the thumb hole and its been ovaled, it should feel different.

The problem with a lot of "bowler's thumbs" or the "cobra thumb" is the bowler grabbing at the bottom to hit up on the ball. No matter how gravity fed your swing is, if you hit up on the ball, you will create a rub area. Now how much of a rub area is up to you and how much pressure you impart when you hit up on the ball. Oviously if you are doing this with a 14lb ball its not going to impact your body as much as if its a 26lb ball.

But people who knuckle the ball throughout the swing will do so no matter how large the thumb hole is. So you can open it up as much as you want....a "knuckler" will just press harder. Until you learn to not press with the tip of your thumb, small thumb holes will always be a problem.

Erin

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#46538 - 12/21/07 04:05 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Atochabsh]
ExBronxiteBowler Offline
PBA Senior Bowler

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 539
A/S/L: M 59 Staten Island, NY
Erin, My personal preference to is make the thumb slightly big, so that it fits when my thumb is swollen the most, and then insert white tape in the front and the back until it feels snug again. In the heat of battle, I can always add or remove tape. I'd rather do that than open the thumb, but I've been know to adjust the bevel slightly if I had a senior moment when I drilled my ball and didn't bevel the ball just right.
_________________________
Scores are all relative to the scoring pace of the lane condition. This means if everyone and their brother is striking, you better find a way to strike, if no one is stringing strikes, keep the ball in play and make your spares.

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#46544 - 12/21/07 10:41 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: ExBronxiteBowler]
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
Me too ExBronxite. I prefer my thumb holes to be a bit large, that way I can put white grip tape in the front. I prefer the feel of the tape and the ability to adjust the fit piece by piece.

Right now we're getting a lot of novice to intermediate bowlers in the shop complaining that their thumb hole is too big. Why? Because we've had about a week of unusually cold weather here. Your hand shrinks in cold weather, therefore thumb holes will feel larger in the winter then in the summer when your thumb swells with the heat.

Erin

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#46547 - 12/21/07 11:04 AM Re: Bowler's Thumb [Re: Atochabsh]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9257
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
I have my thumb hole larger, but only on my spare ball. I come straight up with that ball, and the thumb seems to move some. I use the black tape on the nail side to adjust it.
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