Tips to manage joint pain as winter approaches

Oct 20, 2022 03:17 PM IST

The change in season could trigger joint issues in many. Here are some easy tips to manage aches and pains in winters.

Many people suffer from joint pain or stiffness as the temperature drops. Joint pain can aggravate with the change in weather and as the winter approaches it is important to take care of your joint health by eating well, doing regular exercise and vitamin supplementation. The decrease in atmospheric surface tension coupled with inactivity during the season could worsen joint pain and stiffness, as per experts. Injuries, arthritis, other autoimmune diseases, frozen shoulder are among the common causes of aching joints. One must also avoid inflammatory foods like refined carbs, deep-fried foods, sugar-laden treats and processed foods to keep joint pain issues at bay. If left unmanaged, joint ache can adversely affect your overall well-being and everyday productivity. (Also read: What are the first signs of arthritis in hands; know from expert)

People all around the globe suffer from joint aches during the winter season.(Photo: Shutterstock)
People all around the globe suffer from joint aches during the winter season.(Photo: Shutterstock)

"Do you dread the joint pain brought on by the winter chill? Do your knees, ankles and hips become stiffer than usual as the temperature drops? Well, it's not just you. People all around the globe suffer from joint aches during the winter season. The scientific reason for this is decrease in atmospheric surface tension which leads to increased pain sensitivity in winters. Those with arthritis have it even worse as the weather exacerbates their joint pain and stiffness," says Dr Mithin Aachi, Orthopaedics, Apollo 24/7.

Here are some effective ways to tackle joint pain during winter suggested by Dr Aachi.

1. Dress warm and light

One of the best ways to avoid joint pain and stiffness during winter is to layer up as much as you can, especially when heading outdoors. Make sure that your winter wardrobe is packed with jackets, gloves, caps, socks, boots, sweaters, and sweatpants. The key is to keep your hands and feet covered and warm at all times. Try to stash extra pairs of gloves and socks in your car and workplace, in case of emergencies. Try to put on layers of light and warm clothes instead of wearing heavy cardigans and sweaters as this would prevent adding extra pressure on your knees.

2. Engage in regular exercise

Who wants to leave the cosy comfort of their blanket and exercise on a chilly winter morning, right? Well, it's important to keep yourself active as exercising boosts bone and muscle strength, thereby reducing the pressure on the joints. For best results, engage in daily low-impact activities such as yoga, pilates, brisk walking, weight training and swimming. This will help in keeping your joints flexible, improve blood flow, and allow the release of natural lubricants (synovial fluid) in the joints.

3. Keep your weight under control

Celebrations during the holiday season and lack of exercise due to chilly weather can lead to unwanted weight gain. Even the smallest amount of excess weight can put additional pressure on your knees and other joints, aggravating aches and pains. Push yourself to follow a carefully planned weight management regimen to keep any extra kilos at bay and avoid the risk of increased joint pain.

4. Ensure a healthy Vitamin D intake

When it comes to joint health, a healthy intake of Vitamin D is essential, especially during winter as it helps in joint healing. Many studies show that Vitamin D deficiency can increase muscle and joint pain and increase the risk of osteoporosis. You can maintain normal Vitamin D levels by getting enough sunlight and enriching your daily diet with Vitamin D-rich foods like oily fish, egg yolks, orange juice, cereals, and oatmeal. Moreover, you can also take Vitamin D supplements after getting them prescribed by a doctor.

5. Apply heat

You can soothe your aching joints by applying heat with the help of an electric heating pad or a hot water bag. Dipping your joints in warm water or drawing a hot bath can also help in relieving joint aches and relaxing your muscles. You can also opt for steam therapy. However, it is advisable to avoid prolonged use of hot water bottles and electric heating pads in case you suffer from diabetes or other health concerns.

"While the above-mentioned tips can prove to be quite effective in managing joint pain during winter, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor in case the pain persists or worsens. An experienced physician will be able to help you come up with a treatment plan that best suits your needs and ensures your well-being," says Dr Aachi.

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