The title of this article alone should strike fear into all of you! Joking aside, although many of you will be reading this article and thinking how do ‘arm wrestling’ and ‘dangers’ go together, their relationship is often closer than you might think.
This article is written somewhat through research and knowledge and the rest through personal experience! It is for this reason that I want to share my experience with you all. Several weeks ago, following an evening with friends, I decided to demonstrate my macho ability through an arm wrestling bout. The end result typically was a stalemate, with neither of us having that extra edge to force the other arm down. All appeared well at that stage, but the following day I woke to find severe pain in my elbow which only now, is starting to subside.
I’m almost certain I’m not the only one who has experienced an injury following arm wrestling. In a room full of men, with testosterone flying about, it seems like a good idea of the time and is a common tool utilised to settle debates over who is the strongest! Painting a familiar picture so far?
Arm wrestling itself is an extremely competitive sport and there really is more to it then first meets the eye. Not only that but it places enormous stresses and strains through your pectoral, deltoid and biceps muscle regions. It is for this reason that it can be considered dangerous with reported injuries ranging from minor muscular and ligament tears to joint dislocations and even fractures! Luckily I escaped the latter but it just goes to show the force being placed through your elbow, arm and shoulder regions.
One of the common reported injury regions is that of the elbow with tendonitis often rearing its ugly head. Tendonitis makes reference to inflammation and/ or irritation of the tendon. Dependant on where this occurs and which tendons are involved, usually medially or laterally, common diagnosis includes golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow.
One way to prevent any such injuries occurring during arm wrestling is to perform specific strengthening exercises around the elbow joint itself, including biceps and triceps exercises and to ensure you have fully stretched the surrounding musculature. Stretching prior to an arm wrestle with your best friend or old man might not strike you as being overly important, but it could just prevent an injury which could range from weeks to months to recover!
Should the worse case scenario result, as inevitably it did with me, then what should you do to ensure a successful and speedy recovery? Initially and most importantly, the answer is rest. Following on from that it’s the well known acronym of P-RICE which includes protecting the injured area, rest, ice, compression and of course elevation. Anti inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen may help to reduce pain and swelling levels.
So there you have it, the dangers of arm wrestling in black and white for all to see. For me, arm wrestling is definitely a no-no for the future and should I have any further ‘who’s the strongest’ debates then they can be settled in the gym.
Whether you choose to continue to arm wrestle or not is your choice and you could argue that injury is an inevitable part of all sports. If this is the case, then ensure your wrestling arm is at full strength and stretched prior to any battles.