Disc golf is a throwing game, where you throw a frisbee-like disc and aim at the target to score the point. To win, you have to throw the disc in the basket. The player who scores the target in the lowest number of throws wins the game. Disc golf started as a fun game by people with a frisbee craze, throwing their frisbees at random targets. It is now a sport played on both recreational and competitive levels.
Disc golf seems quite an effortless sport; however, the players are susceptible to injuries caused mostly by overthrowing and repetitive motion to get your disc in the target. These repetitive motions lead to debilitating and painful conditions in the arms, forearm, and elbow. Disc Golf injuries are progressive and the symptoms present after quite a time.
Today, we will discuss the most common disc golf injuries, causing factors, the symptoms that present, and their respective treatment. Stick around till the very end to know how to avoid these injuries and if they present, how to treat them effectively.
Cause of Overuse Injuries Presented in Disc Golf Players
Overuse injuries present when you use your body too much without giving it adequate rest, it needs to stave off the effects of fatigue. The overuse injuries are often led by inappropriate body positions, which disturb the body mechanics and lead to muscle straining. Some of the most common causes that lead to overuse injuries are;
Using incorrect body positions can disturb the body mechanics leading to increased stress on the muscles, joints, and ligaments. Inappropriate twisting and twirling of the body while throwing the disc disturbs the mechanics limiting the functional limits of the joints and stressing the muscles.
Improper techniques can be avoided by supervising your body positions and twisting movements to avoid false turns or twists that might make it difficult for you to continue the game.
As a player, you must ensure supervised practice sessions, seeking a coach’s help in this regard is appreciated.
Overuse injuries are most commonly caused by repetitive motions, especially when an improper technique is repeated several times. The disc golf sport itself is a repetitive game where the players have to throw the disc repeatedly on every course.
Repeated motion coupled with fatigued muscles contributes towards injuries and severe muscle strains, significantly increasing the risk of permanent damage to the body segments involved.
Rest is important to wear off the effects of fatigue, no matter what sport you are playing. Disc golf, like all the other throwing games, consumes energy and the muscle fibres get fatigued with all the throwing movements involved in the gameplay.
Adequate rest is necessary both between the practice sessions and the tournaments. In resting time, muscles not only recover from the effects of fatigue but absorbs the nutrients from the body to recharge its energy levels.
Players who skip their rest intervals; in reality, misuse their muscles, which ultimately leads to irreversible damage and overuse injuries.
Inadequate Stretching and Warm-Up
Warm-up is very crucial in sports. It holds immense importance, and the players need to stretch both prior to and after practice and playing sessions. Sudden movements without prior stretching and adequate warm-up put strain and tension forces on the muscles leading to tissue damage and rupture of muscle fibres.
On this account, warm-up and stretching are made crucial for every athlete before they go for any strenuous exercise including running, jumping, throwing, etc. Stretching both before and after you start your sport, saves you from injuries. Muscles are prone to fatigue, you can eliminate this factor by stretching after every intense exercise.
Symptoms of Overuse Injuries in Disc Golf
Overuse injuries; and the muscle strains and tissue damages caused by them, manifest in different ways. While some symptoms are general to a particular type of injury, others might be different for different individuals.
Furthermore, the factors like age, gender, muscle strength, and endurance also play a vital role in determining the symptoms and may vary from person to person. Some of the common symptoms of disc golf injuries are;
Pain and Discomfort
Pain is the first signal that your body gives to alert you showing something is wrong. These alerts start from mild aches and progress to severe painful episodes both at activity and rest if not timely treated.
Pain and discomfort mostly appear in the areas associated with the sport, in the case of disc golf, it mostly originates from the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, and may or may not progress to adjacent parts.
Swelling around the Wrist, Elbow, or Shoulder
When pain is not addressed sufficiently, the next signal that your body gives you is swelling around the joints involved in the sport. If a player ignores this signal again, the condition progresses to chronic inflammation, and the symptoms of inflammation appear along with pain and swelling around the three main joints involved in the gameplay of disc golf.
The next stage is stiffness. The injury progresses to stiffness and limits the functional movement around the joints involved. Stiff joints are difficult to move, sometimes the muscles and joints don’t allow movement, and sometimes the pain blocks the movement.
While stiffness is a progressing stage in the symptoms-manifestation cycle, there is still some space for gameplay. But, the player has to bear the sharp pain that comes from moving a stiff joint.
Weak Muscles and Reduced Endurance
When the injuries are not addressed properly, there is an increased chance of muscle weakness and permanent loss of some of the fibres. Weak muscles not only make it painful but take away the performance of the players.
A damaged muscle has reduced endurance, little strength, and low energy, which deprives the muscles of the performance they would otherwise give.
Treatment Of Overuse Injuries in Disc Golf
Ice is the first line of treatment protocol when addressing injuries such as overuse injuries in disc golf. Icing should be given as soon as any of the symptoms appear. Icing can address the first two stages of injury and can be used for both pain and swelling.
Rest plays an important factor in saving you from the progression of your injury. It gives the muscles adequate time to heal on their own to regain the stability, endurance, and strength they lost to the injuries.
Consult a Physiotherapist
Physical therapy helps you regain the muscle functionality that you lost to the injuries. No matter what injury you are facing, a physical therapist not only rules out the underlying cause but helps you regain the functional mobility of your joints and muscles.
Your Physio helps you by devising a plan of a set of exercises targeting the root cause of your injury and helping you achieve your goals before your next game.
An injured muscle or joint gets more prone to future damage. There is no need to worry, however, as your physio aids you in this regard too. He helps you in gaining, the stability and endurance to fight any future injuries or recurrent damages, given you follow all the treatment protocols.
Every athlete is prone to injuries irrespective of what sport he is playing, the severity of the injuries may, however, vary for different games. Prevention is always better than cure. It’s always better to pay attention to the techniques you use while playing. Practices become habits, better monitor your playing strategies in the practice rounds to avoid them when you compete. Injuries cannot be avoided, but addressing them on time saves you from their progression and reverses the damage as soon as possible.