Runner with injured ankle while training in the city park in cold weather; blog: Tips for Relieving Joint Pain in Winter

Tips for Relieving Joint Pain in Winter

Millions of Americans suffer from joint pain each year. Some joint pain is due to injury or illness, but a lot of cases are caused by arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 23% of adults in the US are diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor. No matter the cause of your joint pain, you might experience worsening symptoms when it gets colder outside. To get relief, you can try some of these winter tips for joint pain.

1. Stay Active

One of the most important tips for joint pain relief year-round is staying active. Exercise strengthens muscles that help take the pressure off joints and keeps you loose. You may need to focus on this more during cold weather because we often spend less time being active outdoors. You can move many workouts inside during winter to stay active. Try low-impact training with swimming at an indoor pool or using an elliptical trainer. Make sure you safely warm-up for all workouts and include stretching in your routine.

2. Increase Anti-Inflammatories

To receive joint pain, you can increase the number of anti-inflammatory foods you consume. Look for foods that have healthy omega-3 fatty acids like avocados and certain fish. You can also take a supplement of krill oil to increase intake. Other foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties include garlic, turmeric, onions, probiotic foods, green tea, berries, and dark leafy greens.

3. Hydrate

Dehydration is linked to increased pain sensitivity. You lose moisture in cold and dry conditions even though you’re not sweating. Make a point to consume enough fluids throughout the day to relieve joint pain.

4. Dress Warmly

Make sure you bundle up in layers when it’s cold out. Ensure that the joints you have trouble with are well insulated so the cold won’t get to them and cause them to become stiff. 

5. Apply Heat

Along with dressing warmly, one of the best tips for relieving joint pain during winter is applying heat to stiff and aching areas. Heating pads and wraps are good options for applying heat directly to the joint. Electric blankets are good for keeping your entire body warm while relaxing. Some people find relief by soaking in warm water in either a bathtub or hot tub. If you can find a heated pool to swim in, you get the two-for-one benefit of a soak and low-impact exercise.

6. Lose Excess Weight

Extra weight increases strain on joints. It’s not always an easy task to lose weight, especially during the holidays when so many treats are around. However, if you stay active and make smart food choices, knocking off a few pounds might provide you with some pain relief. 

7. Increase Vitamin D

During the winter, some people don’t spend enough time outside in the sun. This can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to increased sensitivity to joint pain. Have your vitamin D levels checked during your next doctor’s appointment and if it’s low, ask your doctor about the best supplements to take.

8. Avoid Slipping

During the winter, the ground can be slippery due to ice, sleet, or snow. If you live in a place where those conditions are common, consider investing in winter boots that have treaded soles appropriate for gripping slick ground. If you’re already suffering from joint pain, then you don’t want to further injure yourself by slipping and falling.

9. Use Pain Relievers Sparingly

During winter months you might need to supplement these lifestyle habits with a pain reliever. Many times an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen may be suitable to take on occasion. Sometimes these drugs, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have negative side effects that pose risks if you have conditions like kidney disease or stomach ulcers. That’s why it’s important to check with your doctor before beginning even OTC medication.

10. See an Orthopedic Specialist

Paris Orthopedic and Sports Medicine provide patients in Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma with comprehensive orthopedic services, including treatment for joint problems. If you’re struggling with joint pain, call our Paris, Texas orthopedics office at (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment.