Winter’s Toll on Your Joints

Joint HealthMany people with arthritis or joint health issues dread the arrival of winter. Colder temperatures and weather systems can bring with them a host of painful symptoms. Here is how winter affects orthopedic problems.

Barometric Pressure

With weather changes comes a shift in barometric pressure, or the force air places on an object or surface. The barometer may rise or fall depending on the type of weather front that is moving through the area. When this happens, it can cause a flare up in joints — especially in your knees. You may have heard someone mention that rain must be coming since their joints were aching. This sensitivity to the barometric pressure is partly the reason for weather related joint woes.

Cold

Your joints are filled with lubricating fluid and as the temperatures drop, the viscosity or thickness of this fluid may change. The result is uncomfortable joints. This can grow worse if you are someone who enjoys outdoor winter activities, since you’re more frequently exposed to the colder temperatures.

Lack of Exercise

Likely the largest problem relating to joint health is the fact that most people do not want to go outside, or leave the house to exercise when the weather is cold or damp. Movement and activity are essential to joint comfort. By staying indoors and sedentary on cold days, your joints can’t get fluid moving through them. Anytime you do move around you may feel pain as your joints are jaggedly moving, and friction  occurs due to the limited lubrication. Even if you do not leave the house, there are great ways to stay active during the winter. Yoga, Pilates and even walking briskly around inside the house may improve circulation to your joints.

Winter does not have to be an agonizing time for those with joint health problems. Your orthopedic doctor can help you find solutions like supplements, joint-friendly foods and gentle exercise. Fend off wintertime joint pain, so you can enjoy this time of year.

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