Tennis Elbow is a widely known and very widespread injury that affects thousands of people each year. It is the most common cause of persistent elbow pain in the adult population and has the potential to cause debilitating symptoms.

Tennis Elbow gets its namesake from the higher incidences experienced by players of THAT timeless sport. However, many people don’t know that tennis elbow is an injury that can be caused by any activity that involves repeated throwing or swinging motion.

This, of course, means that many dart players often ask,

Can You Get Tennis Elbow From Playing Darts?

Yes. You can get Tennis Elbow from playing darts. It is more commonly referred to as Thrower’s Elbow. The risk of developing Thrower’s Elbow increases the more you play. 

The main difference between a tennis player suffering from Tennis Elbow and a dart player suffering from Thrower’s Elbow is that tennis players predominantly develop pain along the outside of their arm, while dart players often develop pain along both the inside and outside of their arms.

But as with most medical conditions, there is more to the story. So follow me below to learn more about what happens when dart players develop the dreaded Thrower’s Elbow.

A Brief History Of Tennis Elbow In Darts

In 1977 a pair of doctors at the Boston University Medical School clinic received a young college student complaining of a swollen elbow joint, with reduced flexibility, and severe pain spreading through his forearm.

Doctors diagnosed Throwers Elbow in a dart player

As reported by the young man, the pain had started and gradually progressed after a night of intense dart games.

By the time the doctors saw the darts player, he could barely move his fingers and he could definitely not bend his elbow much. Radiography came back negative, and no abnormalities were found in the joint.

The patient’s joint was bandaged, his arm splinted, and a prescription for a painkiller was given. This is often referred to as the first observed case of Tennis Elbow on a dart player, or “Thrower’s Elbow”.

Thrower’s Elbow Or “Tennis Elbow” For Dart Players

Since that initial observation, doctors around the world have gone on to treat thousands upon thousands of similar cases. In fact, dart players are now counted amongst the athletes most likely to develop this painful condition.

Proper technique can reduce Throwers Elbow

Tennis Elbow or Thrower’s Elbow are both colloquial names that describe a well-known medical condition called Epicondylitis, which is characterized by acute inflammation of various elbow tissues, accompanied by intense pain along the exterior and interior sides of the elbow, tenderness, decreased flexibility, and weakness of the affected arm, especially when gripping small objects, such as darts.

Epicondylitis can be caused by different reasons, including bacterial infection, but it is mostly generated by the type of repetitive friction and stress so characteristic of sports like tennis, golf, and darts.

Symptoms Of Thrower’s Elbow Include:

  • Moderate to severe pain in the ligaments and tendons that make up the elbow
  • Tenderness of the outer elbow
  • Pain when extending the wrist
  • Pain when gripping small objects
  • Pain when twisting the arm
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Reduce strength
  • Stiffness

So, if you play darts often and you begin to experience any of these symptoms you must contact your doctor and seek professional medical advice.

Remember that initially these symptoms will be mild, but will quickly progress to the point that the condition becomes crippling.

A Tennis or Thrower’s Elbow diagnosis will be based mostly on your symptomatology, but it may also involve physical examinations such as the famed Cozen’s test, as well as imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs.

Once properly diagnosed, your doctor will prescribe a treatment to minimize the discomfort caused by the symptoms, and revert the inflammation.

How To Treat Tennis Elbow As A Dart Player

While some minor cases of Tennis Elbow present in dart players can go away on their own after a few weeks (or months) of rest, this is the exception. The majority of cases will require pointed treatments to prevent the condition from turning chronic.

Most doctors will prescribe a course of physical therapy designed to relax the affected elbow in order to minimize pain and restore full function and flexibility.

Physio therapy as a treatment for Throwers Elbow

Orthopedic devices can also be used to strengthen the limb and correct the damage to the ligaments and tendons of the elbow.

The final component of common Tennis Elbow treatment for dart players is medication. A variety of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs can be prescribed, as well as various corticosteroid injections.

Unfortunately, it is almost guaranteed that your doctor will ask you to stop playing darts for the duration of the treatment.

With treatment, most patients will be able to make a full recovery between 1 to 2 years. However, very advanced cases may require surgical intervention, and relapse rates are also very high.

How To Prevent Tennis Elbow As A Dart Player

  1. Like most sports injuries, prevention will require that you consistently warm up properly. This means performing stretches and taking regular breaks from any activities that have you perform repetitive movements.
  2. You should also consider taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as Motrin, Advil, or Aleve, after each dart session to help your body reduce its own inflammatory response.
  3. Pain is one of your body’s most efficient warning systems. Therefore, if you begin to experience pain when playing darts, you should stop immediately and allow your body to rest.
  4. Make sure you work on proper technique since improper technique will very likely cause unnecessary stress on your joints.
  5. Try a compression sleeve to help brace the muscles and reduce strain.
  6. Finally, consider changing the weight of your darts as this will ultimately impact your grip and throw.
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As a dart player, you will perform the same movement over and over again, which will generate repeated stress in your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. As such, preventing Tennis Elbow may prove difficult, especially if you are a committed player.

Nevertheless, if you follow the advice in this article, consult with an expert, and keep a vigilant eye on any potential symptoms, you can easily minimize the impact of this painful condition.