Freezing Knee Pain: How to Stop Cold Weather from Irritating Knee Arthritis

by Suzanne Andrews

When winter comes, arthritis sufferers brace for the accompanying pain. Why does the cold make knee arthritis worse? Is there any way to help ease the pain? To uncover the mystery surrounding cold weather knee pain, read on.

Why it Happens
There is a great deal of speculation in the medical community as to why cold weather exacerbates knee arthritis. According to Dr. James Fant, this can be partially explained by barometric pressure increases. The increased pressure causes swollen tissues to shrink, which in turn pulls on nerves and causes pain.

It is also known that decreased activity, which is common in areas with a cold winters, can cause joints to stiffen and become painful. Undoubtedly this is a contributing factor to the winter knee pain.

What to Do About it
While the precise mechanism remains unknown, there are ways to lessen those winter knee aches. A truism among physical and occupational therapists is "movement is the best medicine.”  While it might be tempting to curl up under a blanket and hibernate, it is important engage in gentle movement and stretches to help alleviate some of the pain.

Introducing some warmth to the affected knee is also a good way to stave off pain. Whether this is done using a heating pad, warm bath, or just sitting close to a fireplace, heat is known to help ease discomfort.

Simple changes like stretching and flexing of the knee before getting out of bed in the morning will make that first step less agonizing. Careful exercise can strengthen the muscles around the knee, which helps keep the joints in place. It also helps the knee release synovial fluid, a kind of kind of joint nutrient and lubricant.

It is also a wise idea to set up living spaces with the goal of minimizing painful movement. This could mean organizing commonly used items so they are at waist level, keeping objects away from table edges to keep from having to pick them up when they fall down, and leaving heavy lifting to others.

While cold weather is seldom enjoyable for knee arthritis sufferers, with some planning and preventative measures, it can be a lot more bearable.

Get moving for the rest best of your life and let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be with you every step of your way to a pain free life!

P.S. I got the idea for this Halloween video promo (below) because I feel like this until I do my morning workout.  Check it out and leave a comment on Collage Video Facebook. Feel free to share it with your friends.

Suzanne Andrews is a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician with 30 years exercise expertise. Airing to over 49 million on Public Television, Suzanne Andrews, a licensed Occupational Therapy Clinician, (they specialize in function) creates evidenced based fitness programs for specific health conditions. Originally created in 2008 with it’s first run on WDSC TV, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews broadcasts on 113 Public Television stations.

By Collage Video | | fitness, Functional Fitness, goals, Motivation, Suzanne Andrews, Weekly Blog, Wellness |
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