Sports Physiotherapy for Common Dragon Boat Injuries


What Is A Dragon Boat?

A dragon boat, also known as a Magical War Craft, is a paddled boat that is made of teak wood. The most popular use of dragon boat is in a sport known as “dragon boat race” which is a team paddling sport. Dragon boat race makes use of painted boats with dragons’ heads and tails attached to them. The boats are large canoes weighing approximately one ton.  The length of the race can vary from 500 to 800 meters. A team is comprised of 22 members, including 20 paddlers, 1 steerer and 1 drummer. Dragon boat racing has emerged in recent times as an international sport and is organized at an international level by the IDBF (international dragon boat federation).

Perth Physiotherapy for Common Dragon Boat Injuries


Several medical problems may occur to the members in dragon boat racing. Many people who participate in dragon boat racing have very little athletic background and they don’t maintain their fitness because they think that they can get away without doing training as they will have to remain on the water for only three to four minutes. Lack of fitness in paddlers increases the incidence of musculoskeletal problems such as a forearm tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, low-back strain, an impingement syndrome in the shoulder, and hand abrasions. Moreover, overuse injuries resulting from the rapid demands of the sport and poor conditioning can also strike paddlers. Dislocated toes can also occur due to jamming of the foot between the ribs of the boat. Blisters and rashes can also be aggravated due to hot humid conditions or sunburn.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Physiotherapy is a clinical health science that makes an excellent treatment for restoration of the physical function and performance of the body. It can be performed either in isolation or in conjunction with other forms of treatments to treat boating-related injuries. A physical therapy expert at a clinic will seek to identify and maximize quality of life through prevention, intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. He or she will carry out a detailed physical exam to diagnose the type and severity of your injury. He may order tests such as X-rays and MRI scans to confirm the diagnosis.

The types of physiotherapy treatments for boating-related injuries vary and depend on the severity of the injury. In case of minor injuries such as sprains and strains, cryotherapy is very effective in reducing pain and swelling. Cryotherapy refers to the application of ice on the affected area. Applying heat especially in acute injuries can also help speed up healing by improving the blood flow to the site of the injury.

Electric stimulation is very effective in gaining some degree of muscle strength after an injury such as a forearm tendinitis. Transcutaneous electrical stimulation is a type of electrical stimulation that makes use of a small battery-powered device that sends low current through the electrodes placed on the surface of the skin.

Supervised strength training sessions have been shown to be very effective in preventing dragonboat injuries in future. Strength training conditions and strengthens the lower body muscles which are frequently utilized in paddling the boats.

Call Happy Physio on (08) 9272 7359 for expert physio help with your rehabilitation.