Winter has arrived, and with it comes a drop in outside temperature! For some people, this drop in temperature affects them more than just a chill. The drop in temperature can cause swelling in the body’s already inflamed joints and this swelling causes increased joint pain.
But for these people, there is no need to weather the winter in pain. Relief can be found. Tips to reduce joint pain in the winter include:
Manage weight through diet and exercise to keep unnecessary weight and stress off of joints.
Stay hydrated, as dehydration reduces flexibility and can increase chances of injury.
Maintain activity through the winter months through indoor activities – this can increase blood flow to affected joints and decrease pain experienced.
Maintain flexibility year-round as stretching can help keep up mobility over the years, and also allow for better stretching to ease and minimize joint pain.
Stay warm – either through proper attire when outside or the use of a sleeve or wrap on the affected joint. Warm water or heating pads are also effective ways to warm up affected joints after being in the cold.
Exercise caution when maneuvering icy, slick surfaces in the winter to reduce the chance of further injury to affected joints.
If swelling and pain becomes too bad, use over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofren or aspirin to reduce swelling.
While these treatment tips will provide temporary relief for joint pain in the winter, they should not be considered a cure. If at any point the joint pain becomes unmanageable or does not ease off, make an appointment with a specialist to determine the best treatment path for the underlying cause of the joint pain.
Trevor W. Wilkes, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Lexington Clinic. He provides services in general orthopedics, joint care, surgical services, and sports medicine. Dr. Wilkes' professional interests include sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery, injuries of the shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, and foot, osteoarthritis, joint preservation, knee, and shoulder replacement, work-related injuries and trauma.
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky's largest and oldest medical group. We have more than 200 providers in more than 30 specialties taking care of 600,000+ patients in the Lexington community since 1920.