How Cold Weather Affects Arthritis in Your Knees

December 4, 2018 1:24 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Arthritis, the painful condition that causes swelling, stiffness and limited mobility in the joints, can be difficult to manage throughout the entire year. However, when the weather gets chilly in winter, some people find their pain to be unbearable.

This is because cold weather can have an adverse effect on the joints, leading to worsening symptoms and more discomfort during winter months.

Why does cold weather make arthritis worse?

Some patients are thoroughly perplexed when their arthritis acts up around periods of inclement weather. But winter doesn’t cause additional arthritis pain by magic.

Experts believe winter-related arthritis pain may be related to changes in barometric pressure in the atmosphere. This pressure relates to the force the weight of the atmosphere puts on a surface. When cold temperatures and winter storms arise, the barometric pressure lowers, meaning there is less pressure being put on the body.

Since there is less pressure on your body, there is more room internally for inflamed tissues to expand. Arthritic knees can become more inflamed, irritating nearby joints and causing more stiffness and pain.

Additionally, when the weather is cold, people with knee pain and arthritis tend to get outside and exercise less. A lack of activity can lead to increased stiffness in the knees. Routine exercise can help keep joints nimble and lower inflammation to ease symptoms.

Ways to ease winter arthritis pain

This winter, you don’t have to suffer through three long months of knee pain due to the weather. Try some of these tips for easing arthritis pain:

  • Stay active: One of the best ways to combat arthritis pain naturally is to make a lifestyle change and increase your activity level in winter. You don’t have to go running marathons, but you should start walking around the house more, taking short walks outside and doing simple at-home exercises and stretches to keep your knees flexible and strong.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Prescribed anti-inflammatory medications or over-the-counter NSAIDs can help reduce the inflammation in your knees and make your pain considerably more manageable. Be wary of taking these medications long-term without consulting your doctor.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: You can also add natural anti-inflammatories to your diet by improving your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Many supplements are available, but a lot of foods also contain these acids, such as eggs and spinach.
  • Visit an orthopedic surgeon: If your knee pain is truly unbearable, visit an orthopedic surgeon to consult about the problems you’re having. They may be able to provide medications or procedures to help. In some cases, arthritic patients will require a knee replacement in Las Vegas, NV to rid themselves of severe arthritis symptoms.
  • Bundle up: If you’re going to be outside, make sure to bundle up in warm clothes. Adding additional layers to your outfits, or even adding a compression sleeve over the knees, can help reduce the inflammation in your tissues.

If you’re in need of a qualified orthopedic surgeon to consult about your arthritis pain, contact the office of Bernard Ong, M.D. and book an appointment. As a premier, Board Certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ong can assist in a variety of specialties, including orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, arthroscopy, meniscus surgery, ACL surgery and knee replacement in Las Vegas, NV.

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