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YIPS: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Feb 7, 2024

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Types of Yips

Causes Of Yips

Symptoms Of Yips 

Risk Factors Of Yips

Diagnosis Of Yips

Treatment Of Yips

yips meaning

The yips, or involuntary wrist spasms, are most commonly seen by golfers when trying to putt. However, the yips can also affect sportsmen who play other sports, including cricket, darts, and baseball.

There was once thought to be a universal connection between performance anxiety and the yips. However, it appears that various neurological disorders that affect specific muscles are the cause of the yips in some persons these days. This disorder is known as focal dystonia.

By making adjustments to the way you perform the affected task, you might be able to eliminate the yips. For example, a right-handed golfer may try left-handed putting.


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Types of Yips

Muscle spasms are often associated with yips. However, when others use this term, they mean widespread performance anxiety. Researchers observed three different types of yips that affect athletes.

  • Yips I: Muscles that are frozen or spasming
  • Yips II: Anxiety related to performance and psychological symptoms
  • Yips III: During a performance, anxiety and muscular spasms

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Causes Of Yips

Some people get yips, but others have focal dystonia, a disease that causes involuntary muscle spasms during a specific task. Similar to a writer's cramp, it is typically brought on by overusing a specific group of muscles. Anxiety increases the effect.

Some sportsmen are so anxious and self-absorbed that they become sidetracked, which makes it hard for them to perform a skill like putting. Especially for golfers, the severe form of performance anxiety known as "choking" can have a detrimental effect on an athlete's game.

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Symptoms Of Yips 

Muscle spasms are the most common indication that someone has yips. They usually have an impact on the wrists and hands. This is why athletes with yips are more likely to play sports requiring deft hand and wrist actions. Yipping affects athletes' fine motor skills.

Additional symptoms of yips include:

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Risk Factors Of Yips

Tippy fingers are more common in athletes who use their hands and wrists for fine motor abilities. Older people, athletes with more experience, and competitors are the most typical causes of yips.

Moreover, it seems that athletes who are exercising for shorter distances or smaller movements are more susceptible to yips. Golfers commonly get yips when putting, and baseball players are more likely to get them when throwing fewer than 20 meters.

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Diagnosis Of Yips

There is no recognized diagnosis for yips. Nevertheless, based on the pattern of symptoms and conduct, you, your coach, the athletic trainer, and other people will most likely be able to determine an informal diagnosis. 

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Treatment Of Yips

The yips might be caused by overusing specific muscles, thus changing methods or tools might be helpful. Examine these strategies:

  • Adjust the hold you have: Because it changes the muscles used to make the putting stroke, this approach helps a lot of golfers achieve success.
  • Replace your putter: Using your arms and shoulders more than your hands and wrists when putting is made possible with a longer putter. A special grip that aids with hand and wrist stabilization is included in several potentially helpful putters.
  • Watch the hole when you putt: Turning your head and adjusting where your eyes are focused might be beneficial. Take a peek at the hole when you putt it instead of the ball.
  • Training on mental skills: Some of the methods that can help reduce anxiety, enhance focus, and diminish yips fear include relaxation, visualization, and positive thinking.
  • Medicine: Oral pharmaceutical treatment is one option for managing the yips. Tremor can be treated with propranolol, and focal dystonia can be treated with benzodiazepines, baclofen, and anticholinergic drugs.
  • Botulinum toxin injection: A cautious injection of botulinum toxin, such as onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox), incobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin), abobotulinumtoxinA, or botulinum toxin type B , into the overacting muscles can be used to treat focal dystonia. This might reduce muscle spasms and relieve the yips.

Before taking medicine to treat the yips if you compete in amateur or professional sports, verify with the governing body of your sport. Sports and organizations have varying rules on drugs that are forbidden.

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