Injuries are common in every sport – regardless of how strenuous the activity is. Darts does not have a great reputation when it comes to athleticism with the general public of the opinion that most dart players are overweight and that it shouldn’t really be considered a sport.
Regardless of the degree of athleticism needed to play the game of darts, there is still something that most players can’t avoid and that’s the treatment table due to an injury. Dartitis is the most known injury associated with darts but one that you might not be aware of is the occurrence of tennis elbow from darts.
Despite the name, this is a noticeably common injury and it’s made it to the point that darters have started to refer to it as throwers elbow. Below, we’ll cover how you can get tennis elbow from darts and more importantly how to cure it if you have it and also how to prevent it from happening at all…
Disclaimer – The information in this article is for information purposes only and should not be used or taken as medical advice. If you have any suspected symptoms related to tennis elbow, you should seek advice from your registered medical professional or from a qualified and accredited physiotherapist.
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Can Playing Darts Cause Tennis Elbow
The answer to this is yes, playing darts can cause tennis elbow and this is more commonly known in darts as throwers elbow. Tennis elbow in darts is the result of the repetitive motion of moving your forearm backward and forward repeatedly causing strain to the ligaments and tendons of the elbow.
Most people wouldn’t consider darts the most athletic on the sporting spectrum, indeed most only see players walk up to the line and throw darts at a board a few feet away, hardly an Olympic feat?
However, Tennis Elbow is an injury that affects any sports competitors where constant and repetitive actions using hands and arms will cause damage to the tendons in those areas.
Darts players are prone to this injury simply because they depend on their hands, wrists, and arms to play the game they love and unfortunately for them, it comes with the possibility of being another statistic of this painful and repetitive injury.
What Is Tennis Elbow From Darts?
The condition known as tennis elbow is common amongst dart players.
Tennis elbow in darts occurs as dart players throw repetitively, thousands of times and the subsequent release of the dart, the flexing of the hand to grip the darts, and bending of the elbow create strain, inflammation, and wear and tear to the elbow joint – mainly the tendons.
Although not everyone will suffer this much-maligned and painful affliction, many unfortunately will at some point.
Though some changes to your game may alleviate some of the causes, unfortunately, it’s inevitable that many players will have to deal with it at some time in their careers.
How to Know if You Have Throwers Elbow
Throwers elbow or tennis elbow (whichever you want to call it), will manifest itself by affecting the areas which are used most frequently.
The pain is caused by the tendons in the arm and elbow becoming inflamed and swollen. The thrower will start to experience an increasingly dull ache, followed by more severe pain as the tendons get more swollen and irritated.
Some players will try to ignore this and hope that it goes away but try as you want, but playing through the pain barrier, in this case, is not a good idea as you will just make the condition worse.
How To Cure Tennis Elbow in Darts
The cure isn’t rocket science, it’s rest, complete rest. Stopping the motions in the affected area will heal the tendons and you can make a full recovery in time, unfortunately for most players that isn’t an alternative in today’s demanding market.
So what other ways can be used to help cure tennis elbow in darts?
1. Take Pain Relief
Yes, good old painkillers will help to ease the pain, such as Ibuprofen or aspirin both work to stop inflammation, though it’s worth seeking medical help regarding the frequency that you can take them for.
Another medical aid is the lotions that can be applied directly to a specific area, though whether they offer much assistance is debatable as they are mainly used to reduce inflammation but not treat the root cause of the issue.
2. Ice the Area
Applying Ice, whether directly by immersion of the affected area or by wrapping an ace bandage to the arm or elbow for short periods, every few hours will help to ease the inflammation.
This is most effective when you first notice that tennis elbow could be occurring. While beginners will feel a numb and aching arm after first playing darts due to the new muscle groups being used, experienced players experiencing these same symptoms should ice the area immediately to reduce inflammation.
As above, this is a short-term solution and will only reduce inflammation after practice or a game, it won’t treat the damage that has already been caused so it’s a very short-term solution.
3. Brace your Elbow
You can use a brace with a compression pad to offer support and reduce the pain if worn when throwing, it will absorb some of the stresses caused by releasing the dart. Athletic tape is also a useful ally in a similar way and will compress the area to minimize blood flow and reduce the feeling of pain when playing.
While a normal compression sleeve will work, you can also get dart specific compression sleeves like B-Driven Sports USA Stars & Stripes Arm Sleeve (for US/Canada) or Mission Darts Reach Arm Sleeves Sports Compression Support Sleeve (for UK players)
4. Seek Professional Help from a Physio
Medical expertise will perhaps be the road you might want to think about if the condition is long-term or hasn’t improved by previous attempts to cure it. The manipulation of joints and muscles can only be done by experts in their field, who know exactly what and what not can be done to help and more importantly prevent the condition from returning.
How To Prevent Tennis Elbow in Darts
Ironically the best way to prevent tennis elbow in darts is not to play a lot of darts! Seems simple enough, but it’s true.
The constant repetitive movements involved in throwing darts will contribute to you falling foul of this common problem. If it’s not possible to stop completely (that’s not our suggestion by the way), then you’ll need to reduce the amount of time you practice or play, at least giving you the chance not to worsen things.
You may also have to adopt a different throwing technique if the problem persists, though that could well be the last resort as it’s asking a lot to change something you have become used to over time. The other thing that will help is to stretch and flex the muscles that are used, a gentle routine before and after matches will alleviate any stiffness and hopefully avoid having to deal with this condition.
One of the most frustrating things that any darter experiences (whether you are an aspiring professional or a casual/occasional thrower) is an inability to play due to injury. One of the most common injuries for dart players? Tennis elbow.
Yes, tennis elbow (better referred to as throwers elbow) is a common issue in darts and is the result of the repetitive throwing action that comes with darts. The cause is inflammation of the tendons around the elbow so prevention is needed to minimize this risk.
Stretching and warming up the muscles is something most dart players won’t do but is essential for minimizing the risk of throwers elbow and having a set practice routine with plenty of scheduled breaks will also help to reduce the impact.
Due to the similarity between throwers elbow and tennis elbow, there are countless resources online that can give your more information on cures or prevention. See below for some of the best resources for further reading: