Busting Myths Around Joint Pain In Winter:
Myth 1: Knee pain increases in cold weather
Fact: It is always believed that cold weather-induced knee pain is associated with arthritis. But, changing weather conditions doesnt impact joint health, says Dr Nair. As the atmospheric pressure drops when winter rolls around, this pressure change can cause your joints to swell more than usual, leading to increased pain.
He adds, Those with arthritis may have problems during winter as the lower barometric pressure tends to create room for tissues in the body to expand, and that creates pressure on the nerves and joints, leading to inflammation and even unbearable pain.
Myth 2: Painkiller is the only way to manage pain
Fact: Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy or alternative treatments. The only problem lies with the regular consumption of painkillers. Regular consumption of painkillers can have side effects, and some of those can be serious. Instead, you should follow a healthy lifestyle such as following a healthy diet and doing the right exercise. Exercise helps one in restoring knee function and alleviating pain while a healthy diet helps to maintain a nutrient deficiency in order to treat inflammation.
Myth 3: People suffering from knee pain should never exercise
Myth 4: People should avoid undergoing knee replacement surgery in winter as the post operation recovery is painful
How To Protect Your Joints From The Cold:
- Stay Warm: while this can be easier said than done, taking steps to keep yourself warmer can help to reduce joint pain from cold weather. Using electric blankets, wearing the proper warm clothing, and warming the car and house are all ways to keep your joints warmer.
- Stay active: even when it is cold, it is important to stay mildly active to prevent joint pain from inactivity. Simply taking some time to do daily stretches can help to keep your joints moving.
- Manage swelling: if you start to notice swelling in your joints, be sure to take additional measures to prevent swelling. This can include wearing snug gloves or clothes, as well as using bands or braces to manage swelling.
- Improve your mood: your psychological well-being directly affects your ability to tolerate pain. Therefore, improving your mood by doing things that make you happy can help to manage your joint pain. Additionally, it is important to make sure you are eating healthy and getting enough sleep.
- Pain medications: finally, it may be necessary to take pain medications to help manage your discomfort. Your doctor can provide information about the type, dose, and frequency of pain medications.
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Is The Summer Heat Affecting Your Joints
Remember when you were young and could move your joints with ease? Now that youre older, you may be noticing that your joints dont work as well in summer heat.
Knowing how to handle joint discomfort is important, especially in warmer weather. Learn why the summer heat may affect your joints and what you can do to get relief.
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Does Where I Live Matter
If damp cold weather exacerbates pain, you may wonder why not move to where the weather is milder, warmer or dryer? Some researchers say climate doesnt matter.
In the U.S. for example, where different regions have varied weather and climate types, one study found that even people in mild, moderate San Diego reported weather-related pain. In fact, they reported more pain than residents of the studys three colder U.S. cities: Nashville, Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts.
Chronic pain doesnt care where you live, says Dr. Bolash. Humidity and barometric pressure tends to change everywhere.
Why Do Knees Feel Weird When It Rains
When theres a rainstorm, atmospheric pressure drops. As soon as your body detects this change, it makes your soft tissues swell up. As a result, fluid in the joints expands. Unfortunately, the expansion and contraction that takes place around the joints can irritate your nerves and cause pain.
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Can You Prevent Arthritis Flare
Anyone with arthritis will tell you that planning ahead to avoid flare-ups is key. According to the Arthritis Foundation, a solid prevention plan is one of the best ways to manage your arthritis and avoid flare-ups.
People with weather-sensitive arthritis cant control the weather, but they can learn to prepare better for certain weather conditions and the symptoms that may accompany those changes. Here are a few things to consider:
- Keep an eye on weather conditions for the upcoming days and weeks in your area, if keeping tabs on the forecast feels genuinely helpful to you.
- Try to avoid being in harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, for long periods of time.
- Dress in warm, dry clothing when the weather is cold.
- Dress in cool, loose clothing when the weather is hot and humid.
- Adjust the temperature inside your home to be neutral , neither too hot nor too cold.
Outside of planning around the weather, its also important to have a prevention plan for any other triggers that can lead to a flare-up in your symptoms. So, if youre someone whose arthritis is negatively affected by things such as infection, illness, overexertion, or even emotional stress, your plan might also include:
What Kind Of Knee Injuries Can Cause Severity
If the weather is cold, and your knees are not in perfect health , it can cause the following type of issues:
Knee Trauma: Cold season can affect the muscles that hold your knee joint. The surrounding muscles play an important role in supporting the joint from all sides. When these tissues are warm, they work and move with less effort.
In colder months, they have to work much harder to do the same tasks. The extra energy makes them tired and causes tissue mutilation. Hence, the patient experiences more agony compared to the summers.
Patellar Tendonitis: This condition is also called the jumpers knee in laymans language. It causes pain while climbing stairs or jumping.
Winters induce stiffness in the tendons and a decrease in circulation, thereby aggravating the injury. The ache spreads below the knee caps.
Runners Knee: This is directly related to an overuse of the joints. It is often experienced by sports persons or active joggers.
The rubbing of the kneecap against the thighs causes the running knee condition. The result is cartilage wear and tears. As the weather becomes cold, it makes the surrounding muscles of these joints stiffer, hence triggering the pain.
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Does Weather Affect Joint Pain
The skies are clear blue, but your ankle starts flaring up with arthritis pain. Could a storm be looming? You feel it in your bones, but is it just an old wives tale? Or can joint pain actually predict weather changes?
Believe it or not, your weather forecasting might have some validity, thanks to the effects of barometric pressure changes on your body.
Its common for people to blame increased pain on the weather, according to Robert Newlin Jamison, PhD, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School and a researcher who has studied weathers effects on chronic pain patients.
But Jamison, who is also the chief psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, has seen patients worry about being ridiculed. For whatever reason, people with chronic pain are real shy about saying it, because they think other people think theyre nuts, he says.
But Jamison doesnt think so. In previous research published in the journal Pain, Jamison looked for an association between weather and chronic pain in four cities: San Diego, Nashville, Boston, and Worcester, a Massachusetts city with much colder temperatures than Boston, he says.
How Can You Reduce Knee Pain During Cold Weather
If the cold makes your knees hurt, you may be able to manage with the above techniques.
Stay Active the more you move, the less likely your joints will stiffen up. Yes we know its winter, and its not particularly motivating to exercise, but it will help to keep your joints supple.
Keep Warm ensuring that you warm up properly is key. The better your blood circulation around your knees, the less likely they will be affected by the cold. We recommend dynamic stretching such as moving lunges and squats to help get your heart and limbs warmed up. Also wear warm clothing when you exercise outdoors, especially on your legs. While we all get warm once we start exercising, it is important to keep your joints are cosy from the moment you go outside.
Prevent Swelling if your knee swells up after exercise, make sure you take the time to rest, ice and elevate it as much as possible to reduce the swelling. If you get ongoing swelling during or after exercise, you should seek medical advice.
Take Pain Medication NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can help to reduce pain and inflammation counteracting the effects of cold.
While these techniques can help with cold-related knee pain, if you have had an injury to your knee, or you suspect you may have rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, the best thing you can do is get an accurate diagnosis.
For more information or to book an appointment with our team of highly experienced knee specialists, contact Capital Orthopaedics today.
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Take It Seriously If Your Knees Hurt
All of our experts told us that it doesnt matter what the weather studies say. If you have knee pain, you need to respect the pain and do what it takes to make it better.
I take an ontological approach to my training, meaning that what is present is real for my athletes, says Bryant. If they feel pain, we have to prepare and deal with that reality. And they dont have to move to a warmer climate for that preparation.
The first thing you need to do if your knees hurt in bad weather is get them checked out, says Joshua Grahlman, PT, DPT, founder of Clutch PT in Manhattan. I spend as much time helping people get out of the patterns theyve created in compensating for their pain as I do on helping people with whats been causing their pain, he says.
“Younger, healthy people really shouldn’t be feeling air pressure changes in their joints,” Grahlman says. Usually, that happens when there’s already some arthritis in the joint. But there are many other reasons for knee pain, so it’s important to get the right diagnosis.
Can Cold Weather Cause Knee Pain Post Tkr
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What Kind Of Weather Is Best For Arthritis
If moving to a new locale is truly on the table, you wont be able to base your new home on 100% scientific facts. Yes, we know there are certain types of weather that can make arthritis symptoms worse in some people, but ultimately, everyones triggers are differentwhich means there is no one climate that is best suited for every single person with arthritis.
However, if youre someone who notices that humidity causes your pain levels to worsen, for example, then living somewhere with a dry climate might benefit you. Or if youre someone who experiences worsening pain levels in colder weather, then a warmer area might be the better option. For most people, though, moving isnt always the most practical option, so managing symptoms during weather changes is the best way to find relief.
Weak Or Sore Leg Muscles
Many people experience soreness and weakness in their leg following surgery. Remember, your muscles and joints need time to strengthen!
A 2018 study reported that the quadriceps and hamstring muscles may not regain their full strength with usual rehabilitation exercises, so talk to your physical therapist about ways to strengthen these muscles.
Sticking with an exercise program can make your new joint as strong as that of an adult of the same age with their original knee.
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How Does Colder Weather Affect My Knee Injury
Whether you have an old knee injury from high school sports or a scar from knee replacement or repair surgery, you might notice a sensitivity to the weather. In the cold, anyone with an injury may notice:
- Stiff joints
- Creaking from their injury site
This is a normal part of a knee injury, so its important to know how to handle it.
When Hardware Goes Awry
However, one would think stress concentrations must be of significance in orthopedic surgery, especially when the surgeon fits a stiff metal prosthesis to a relatively flexible bone.
I work with a lot of people whose injury histories are longer than their life story. Obviously, this is usually older people. But Ive trained one younger guy, 25 when I met him, who I too often think about.
Dan had a traumatic injury where he ended up needing quite a bit of surgical hardware in his body. At one point he had a metal rod and four metal screws in his leg. By the time he got to me, some of the hardware had been removed, but a good amount remained.
After many months, I had to accept I wasnt getting anywhere with Dan. His body wasnt responding, and things just seemed off with him. He had been having a ton of issues exactly where one screw was located. Dan decided to get an X-Ray done on his moms, a veterinarian, machine. There was a ton of lysis going on right around the screw. Dans surgeon kept trying to avoid going back in, but this convinced them otherwise.
Turns out, the screw had broken in half, inside his bone. His bone was in a sense dying, and he had metal floating around within it. No wonder he had so many issues in that area.
He got the screw removed and within a few weeks was doing exponentially better.
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Does Cold Weather Affect Knee
In colder weather, your heart rate has a slower response rate, which can cause the tissues and muscles that surround the knee to become less lubricated and stiffer. If you then try to run at your normal pace or harder, you can experience sore and achy knees.
Why Cold Affects Knee Injuries
When its cold outside, there are a few things that happen. The barometic pressure drops, which causes tissues and joints to swell. This is especially true in climates where snow and severe winter weather occur. On top of that, cold weather seeps through clothes and affects our blood vessels, nerves, and skin for a heightened state of awareness. Humidity in the winter can also affect cartilage and bone, making the area around an old injury flare up just as much as the injury site itself. Our synovial fluid also gets cold in the winter, making it thicker and less mobile during the winter. This means our joints feel stiffer, may creak more, and have generally less motion.
Last but not least, the cold season is often associated with less movement overall. We are inside a lot more during the winter and, if you live in a snowy climate, it can be hard to stay active. When you dont move an injured site, the scar tissue can harden and cartilage and joints will often flare up as well. All of this means more pain, less mobility, and a harder winter for anyone who has a knee injury.
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Learning To Live With Your New Knee
Having a total knee replacement provides significant pain relief for more than 90 percent of people who have the surgery.
It can take some time to get used to the new knee, so its important to understand what is normal during recovery and how having an artificial knee can affect your day-to-day life after surgery.
Your new knee doesnt come with an owners manual, but recognizing potential issues and preparing for them can help maximize your quality of life after surgery.
Its not unusual for your artificial knee to make some popping, clicking, or clunking sounds, particularly when you bend and extend it. This is most often normal, so you shouldnt be alarmed.
Several factors can affect the likelihood of these noises or sensations after surgery, including the
Will The Knee Set Off A Metal Detector At The Airport
Most likely, it will. Tell airport personnel that you have an artificial joint prior to entering the metal detector. Metal detection sensitivity at airports is highly variable, and it is impossible to say if a certain detector will set off the equipment. Your doctor or nurse will supply you with an implant identification card that you can carry to prove that you have metal knee replacement parts.
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