There is no definitive treatment for dartitis. Instead, darts players with dartitis are advised to try different techniques to see which ones work best for them.
Dartitis is a complex condition, and researchers have been unable to determine the exact cause of it. One thing’s for sure is that the condition is debilitating and embarrassing.
Thankfully, many treatment options are available for people suffering from dartitis.
So, let’s find out more about dartitis, including potential causes, who it’s most likely to affect, and how to overcome it.
Table of Contents
What is Dartitis?
Dartitis is described in the Collins English Dictionary as:
‘(in darts) nervous twitching or tension that destroys concentration and spoils performance’.
When a player experiences dartitis, they’re usually unable to throw or release the dart from their hand.
Dartitis has similarities to ‘the yips’. The yips are common in certain sports, including golf and basketball. It causes spasms in the wrists, stopping players from accurately hitting or throwing a ball.
Learn how to play golf darts next.
What Causes Dartitis?
There doesn’t appear to be any one thing that causes dartitis. Instead, it is thought to be a combination of many different factors, including:
Imagine that you’re in the middle of a darts match, and you’re the favorite to win. Everyone is expecting you to do well, and that’s constantly on your mind. The pressure to succeed is enough to cause dartitis right there and then.
We all fear that we’re going to fail at some point in our lives. For darts players, fearing that they’re going to lose a match, miss the bullseye, or similar can all lead to dartitis.
Dystonia is described by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) as ‘involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow, repetitive movements or abnormal postures’.
Dartitis is often described as a form of dystonia because both conditions have similar symptoms.
Can You Recover From Dartitis?
The good news is that you can recover from dartitis. Eric Bristow succumbed to the condition in 1987. He says he lived with dartitis for ten years before it disappeared. However, he adds that he doesn’t know how he got over it.
It’s important to note that you may never get over dartitis completely. Even after Bristow recovered, he never returned to his pre-dartitis standard of playing. Research also shows that only 5% of dartitis sufferers make a complete recovery.
What are the Symptoms of Dartitis?
The symptoms of dartitis aren’t always the same in everyone. The most common symptoms of dartitis include:
- Arm, wrist, or elbow pain
- Muscle weakness
- Awkward hold
- Inability to let go of the dart
- Abnormal posture
- Erratic throwing
- Concentration issues
- Muscle spasms
Is Dartitis Real?
Yes, dartitis is a real condition. Back in the 1980s, people didn’t like to talk about dartitis even though they knew it could happen. It was like darts players didn’t want to admit that a career-ending condition could strike them down at any time.
Today, dartitis is much more accepted. When Eric Bristow experienced it, the darts community was shocked, and it was the first time that dartitis was openly talked about.
In recent years, Berry Van Peer has also spoken about his battle with dartitis which has further helped to make it less of a taboo topic.
Is Dartitis a Mental Condition?
Dartitis isn’t caused by an illness or injury, which is why it’s usually described as a psychological disorder.
What’s the Best Treatment for Dartitis?
Treatment for dartitis is a case of trial and error. What works for one darts player may not work for another. It’s best to try different treatment options to find the best one or ones for you. Dartitis treatment options include:
- Changing your diet – Eric Bristow says that he reduced the amount of junk food he ate while trying to cure his dartitis. Although this isn’t a proven method, eating healthily is better for your mind.
- Exercising regularly – multiple studies have found that regular exercise reduces the symptoms of anxiety.
- Meditation – meditation is great for relaxing your mind and helping you tackle the worries in your life. It focuses on positivity and overcoming issues which may be beneficial when trying to get over dartitis.
- Switching to a lighter dart – lighter darts are easier to throw and put less pressure on your wrists, arms, and elbows.
- Taking a break – this could be for a few days, a week, or a month. Your mind needs to reset; taking time away is the best way to do this.
- Physiotherapy – exercises may help deal with pain in your arms.
- Playing on your own – there’s no pressure on you to do well when you’re playing at home on your own, so you’re more likely to overcome your dartitis this way than in a crowded pub.
- Throw freely – your main aim should be to release the dart. Instead of focusing on hitting a certain number on the board, throw freely. Just make sure you protect your floors and walls.
- Play a friendly match – when you’ve successfully been able to throw darts at home alone, try a friendly game at your local pub or with a mate at home.
Which Darts Players Have Suffered From Dartitis?
- Phil Taylor
- Eric Bristow
- Berry Van Peer
- Richie Burnett
- Mark Walsh
- Mark Webster
Who is Most Likely To Experience Dartitis?
Anyone can experience dartitis. You don’t have to be a professional player to be struck down with the condition. There are plenty of reports of players in pubs across the globe who experience dartitis out of nowhere.
It’s not easy to treat dartitis as there are so many ways to manage and overcome the condition. You usually need to use multiple treatment options to get over dartitis. It may take weeks, months, or even years to get over dartitis, but rest assured that you should come through the other side in time.
Sue has been playing darts since her 20’s when she played in weekly tournaments and she enjoys writing about darts. She’s also a great teacher, and she enjoys helping others learn how to play the game well. When Sue isn’t throwing darts, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
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