Bowls is an outdoor sport that involves rolling a biased ball toward a “kitty” (a smaller white ball also known as a “jack”). A player/team that finishes closest to the “jack” wins the competition. Lawn bowls are made of a hard plastic material, weighing approximately 1.6 kg. Bowls is played on a large, rectangular ground that can either be flat or uneven. Lawn bowls is ranked the sixth most popular physical activity in Australia behind aerobics, golf, cricket, tennis and netball. A recent survey has revealed that 0.5 million Aussies play bowls.
Common Bowls Injuries
Bowling competitions can be very exhausting, requiring players to perform for two to three hours without a break. This makes bowlers to overuse their muscles, which can lead to numerous shoulder, neck, knee and back injuries. Falls are another frequent cause of injury in older adults. Slips on the ground and falls while traversing the ditches during play account for 59% of bowls-related injuries. Overexertion may lead to sprains, strains and wrist injuries.
Risk factors for lawn bowls injuries include incorrect swinging action, poor balance, poor delivery, incorrect grip of the bowl, and repetitive movements. Bowls-related injuries can be avoided by warming up and stretching before play to prevent muscular strain, cooling down after play to prevent stiffness, wearing sun-protective clothing, drinking water after activity to keep the body hydrated, taking adequate rest between games, using appropriate equipment, ensuring correct balance, and using the correct swinging action.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If an injury occurs, seek prompt medical treatment for that particular injury. Early diagnosis and treatment will help you heal fast and return to your sport or activity. Physiotherapy experts have specialized clinical skills to diagnose, evaluate and treat sports-related injuries. They often work in teams with other health professionals to meet an individual’s health care goals.
Physiotherapy provides you with a customized recovery program that helps restore your injured muscle or ligament to its maximal potential, and gets you moving faster. There are numerous resistance band exercises that target your wrist, elbow and shoulder as well as your hips, knees and ankles. When performed on a regular basis, these exercises build strength around the affected joint and restore range of motion. Bowls-related sprains and strains can be treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Torn ligaments, however, may require some form of immobilization such as a cast or a brace. Treatment for chronic lower-back pain includes ice therapy, heat therapy, injections, medicines, complementary and alternative treatments, and sometimes surgery. Neck pain (both acute and chronic) can be treated with a combination of ice therapy, body mechanics training, exercise, joint mobilization, and joint manipulation.
Balance training helps normalize your balance and corrective reactions, thus reducing the incidence of ankle injuries and ACL sprains in future. Balance enhancement devices such as Swiss exercise ball, air disc, balance pad, balance beam and wobble board can be used to improve balance. Strengthening exercises help strengthen your shoulder, back and legs, thus protecting you against the risks of overuse injuries and falls.
Call Happy Physio on (08) 9272 7359 today to seek the help of our expert physiotherapists!