You may think the concept of arthritis getting worse in cold, wet weather is an old wives’ tale, but there’s actually science behind those claims. Winter weather can contribute to arthritis symptoms in two primary ways. According to the Arthritis Foundation, wet weather and storms are associated with changes in barometric pressure that can cause swelling inside your joints. Declines in temperature are also associated with increased swelling and joint pain. When the weather is cold and wet, we’re less likely to exercise and be active, which means joints are more likely to “stiffen up.” Plus, the darker months of winter tend to increase the risk of depression, which in turn increases our sensitivity to pain.
How can you prevent arthritis flareups during the cold, wet months of winter?
- First, see your doctor at the first sign of symptoms for treatments that can help reduce your risk of permanent joint damage.
- Wear plenty of warm clothing when going outdoors, including mittens or gloves and a good, warm coat or sweater.
- Change your shoes and socks if they become damp.
- Stay active! Try to walk each day, if not outdoors, then on an indoor track or at a local mall. Consider signing up for a yoga or Tai Chi class, or do some light stretches while you’re watching TV. Being active not only keeps your joints limber – it also helps ward off depression.
- Lose excess weight. Even a few extra pounds can put a lot of extra strain on your joints, resulting in increased joint pain, especially during physical activity.
- Ask your doctor about joint supplements and alternative therapies like acupuncture, and be sure to drink lots of water. Joints function best when they’re well hydrated.
Contact Southeast Orthopedic Specialist
If you’re dealing with arthritis pain and stiffness, don’t delay medical care. Putting off treatment increases both your symptoms and the likelihood you’ll experience permanent joint damage. As a top-ranked provider of orthopedic care in Florida, Southeast Orthopedic Specialists offers comprehensive care for arthritis symptoms. Call (904) 634-0640 or use our online form and schedule an appointment today.Return to Blog