Perth Sports Physiotherapy for Common Bocce Injuries


What Is Bocce?

Bocce is an Italian bowling sport that is played on a long narrow dirt court 90ft in length and 10 ft wide. Bocce balls are spherical and can be made of metal or various kinds of plastic. A game can be conducted between individual players or teams. A team is usually comprised of three or four players. A player/team needs to get as many of their bocce balls closer to the pallino (a smaller ball, also called “the jack”) than the opposing player’s/team’s bocce balls. Bocce is very popular in Europe, Croatia, Montenegro, North America, South America, and Australia.

Common Bocce Injuries:

Bocce is a highly entertaining sport, but it’s not all fun as numerous injures can hit a player while executing different strokes of the game. Athletes are permitted to throw the ball in the air using an underarm action, which puts stress on the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff muscles are a group of small muscles (Teres Minor, Subscapularis, Infraspinatus and Supraspinatus) situated around the shoulder joint, which can become damaged during the stress of bocce. Initially, tendonitis (inflammation of the rotator cuff muscles) is caused by continuous irritation which often leads to minor ruptures in the muscles. Later on, a partial tear develops in a complete tear, making it very difficult for an athlete to continue with his or her sport activity.

Frequent throwing in the bocce can lead to ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears and thumb sprains. UCL, also known as medial collateral ligament, is located on the medial side of the elbow. Repeated bouts of stress on UCL can damage the muscle fibers and the tissues surrounding them. Factors that can lead to UCL tears include poor throwing mechanics, high throwing velocities, and overuse of the elbow. A thumb sprain refers to an injury to the ligaments in the thumb. The thumb may bend in an extreme position, causing swelling and pain. An individual suffering from a sprain may find it very difficult to grasp objects or perform routine tasks.

Physiotherapy Treatment For Bocce Injuries

Physiotherapy treatment is effective in treating bocce-related injuries. A rotator cuff injury can be treated by using a combination of ice therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and a shoulder support. Performing shoulder stabilization exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapy expert helps increase flexibility, endurance and strength of the shoulder muscles. An expert can order an X-ray to rule out torn ligaments or broken bones in the thumb. Once the diagnosis has been made, applying ice on the thumb first 24 hours after a sprain will reduce swelling and any bruising. Then use heat therapy to improve blood circulation to the area and speed up the healing process. In case of a severe sprain, a physiotherapy expert can immobilize your thumb with a splint for 3 to 4 days to give injured ligaments sufficient time to rest. As the injury begins to heal, flexing and extending your thumb will help to loosen it up. Supervised thumb exercises will help reduce the stiffness of the thumb.

Call us today for expert Sports Physiotherapy at Happy Physio on (08) 9272 7359!