Q. I played senior softball for 20 years. At many tournaments, our team might play several games a day, sometimes several in a row. Our bat bags were full of bandages, knee braces, bat gloves and yellow mustard. One packet always stopped leg cramps within seconds.
As a youngster growing up playing hardball and throwing curves, I developed tennis elbow. This ailment continued to be a problem until senior ball, when I learned that gin-soaked raisins are a remedy for tennis elbow. I used one empty quart jar, filled it with white raisins and gin, closed the lid and soaked them for eight days. Then I poured off the gin, put the raisins in a covered dish in the fridge and ate at least 10 every morning. Within about six weeks my arm was healed. I played several more years without arm problems. I have no clue why this worked, but it did.
A. We love your senior softball first aid, with yellow mustard for leg cramps and gin-soaked raisins for sore joints. Your recipe varies ever so slightly from the one we offer in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis, which also provides a number of other remedies and herbs for joint pain.
Recent research indicates that playing softball outside in the sunshine (well, really, doing anything outside in the sunshine) should help counteract joint pain. That’s because ongoing activity (such as walking at least 6,000 steps a day) helps maintain function (Arthritis Care & Research, June 12, 2014). In addition, playing outside helps keep vitamin D levels normal. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a greater likelihood of joint inflammation (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, online Feb 25, 2014).