With the warmer season lying ahead of us in the northern hemisphere, many of us can’t wait to get outdoors, exercise, or practice outdoor sports again. Whether it’s the garden that needs tending to or exercising on the sports field, many of us have probably forgotten that in the winter months, similar to nature, we had wound down and had led a less active life. On top of that the global situation largely had restricted what and how we could engage in activities in the recent past. Gym’s were closed, time to be spent outside had been restricted, and for exercising at home, the challenge was frequently lost where the inner beast had to be overcome. Lets face it, we were much less active in the recent past and may easily risk an injury once we get to pick up our fitness regimens or other major physical tasks again.
The fans of outdoor sports such as golfing or playing tennis, two perfectly socially distanced recreational activities, will likely be among the first to be able to take up their sports again once restrictions are loosened. However, albeit not being contact-sports, with the enthusiasm of finally being able to take up exercising again, may come the threat of unexpectedly getting injured.
A common injury, that typical affects sports persons playing golf or tennis, is the tennis or golfer’s elbow. Whilst for both sports the injury occurs at the elbow joint, they are not the same injury and do not just affect the athlete who plays these specific sports. Such activities that involve the arms, can cause pain, and reduce mobility can likewise affect the active gardener or worker who conducts tasks that put pressure on the elbows.
Both the tennis and golfer’s elbow are injuries caused by over-exertion or overuse. The development of irritation and inflammation in the affected area, results in pain and soreness. Any movement of the arm is painful.
While the tennis elbow affects the outer area of the elbow, the golfer’s elbow is located on the inner area of the elbow. It is the typical swinging movement of the racket in tennis or of the club in golf that causes the specific trauma. During tennis, it is the contraction of the extensor muscles of the forearm, that creates the tension in the arm that lifts the racket. With over-exertion, the injury of the ‘tennis-elbow’ is caused where the tendons connect the muscles to the elbow. This similarly applies to the golfer’s elbow, however here it is the flexor muscle of the forearm that is affected.
The most important thing to do when pain and tenderness in the elbow become noticeable is to refrain from further strain on the affected arm. Continued exercise or movements that repeat the trauma worsen the injury and its associated symptoms. The affected arm should be immobilized for 2 to 3 days. Wearing the arm in a sling or bandage can help reduce mobility. It can help to cool the affected area, which in turn can reduce possible swelling and hence can relieve pain.
In homeopathy, a variety of remedies can be used to treat tennis or golfer’s elbow. However, a detailed, individualized case-taking is required to find the best matching remedy for a particular patient complaining of one of these two specific injuries.
Three of the most common remedies are Arnica, Bryonia, and Rhus toxicodendron. The former is one of the main remedies for sports injuries. It is used, among other things, for blunt injuries, but also for those that occur on account of over-exertion. There is a characteristic feeling of soreness and pain that is made worse by movement, touch, and heat. Bryonia is a remedy that is used where there is irritation and pain from slightest movement of the affected arm. The affected area is red, swollen, and feels hot to the touch. Rhus toxicodendron has the main indication of stiffness. Only movement improves the pain. There is soreness and numbness in the affected arm. Warmth reduces pain.
To keep the fun factor in physical exercise and outdoor activities avoidance is key. Particularly after a long break from physical activity. A gentle warm-up routine prepares the muscles, tendons and ligaments for physical exertion and can help avoid injuries. So, before going to the tennis court or the golf course, warm up; and in the event of injury, trust in homeopathic help.