Doctor Blogs

Guard against joint aches as winter sets in
by: Dr. Yuvraj Kumar
Director - Orthopedics & Joint Replacement

With the temperatures dipping, joint pains are likely to increase. Renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Yuvraj Kumar, Director Department of Orthopedics and Joint Replacement Surgery, QRG Health City, Delhi NCR gives simple tips that arthritic patients can take and enjoy the cold weather this season

With dipping temperature and barometric pressure as winter sets in, knee and other joint pains tend to rise. This is most common amongst patients who suffer from arthritis and other joint or inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Yuvraj Kumar explains that Barometric pressure is the weight of atmosphere that surrounds us. The regular pressure of the atmosphere presses against the body and the joints thereby preventing the tissues inside joints from expanding. But when the barometric pressure drops in winter season, it creates room for the tissues to expand. This, in turn, exerts pressure on joints and nerves in the body causing swelling and aggravating joint pain during cold weather.

While there is nothing that we can do about changing barometric pressure, but simple preventive measures could help reduce joint pain significantly during winters. Many people tend to ignore the joint pain and avoid going to the doctor. Although one should consult an orthopedic expert if there is recurring pain, modifying lifestyle can help cope with the situation in a better way.

How to manage joint pain in winters

The first and simplest measure is
• Listen to your body. Do not sit in one position for a long time. Stretching occasionally is not just good for blood circulation but is also a physical activity that reduces the risk of osteoarthritis.
• Stay active and walk. Walking can help keep your body temperature high and helps improve blood circulation to the knees. It can also help reduce stiffness while keeping the joints supple.
• Exercise regularly. Exercising helps in releasing endorphins – body’s natural painkillers. So aim to exercise 4-5 times in a week at least for 30 minutes.
• Take a break in between your work schedule to stretch your body. This will help maintain sound mobility, and will also reduce stiffness and pain in joints.
• Try keeping your knees warm with a neoprene sleeve or a knee wrap. Wearing layers and dressing appropriately for the cold helps maintain body temperature and muscle flexibility.
• Take time out to step out under the sun and get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Along with providing strength to the bones, Vitamin D helps people susceptible to joint aches coupled with inflammation.
• Keep a watch on your weight. Gaining extra weight means extra stress on your knees.
• You can also try massage therapy to deal with knee pain during winters. Massage helps increase blood circulation and keeps the stressed area warm.

If the pain in joints – even if mild- is too frequent, it is important to see an orthopedic expert, especially if it starts to interfere in activities of daily routine. Often chronic pain starts as occasional pain but over the years it becomes serious, if not managed well on time.