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Prevent winter joint pain

Tue, Feb 26, 2019

Dr. Thomas Wilkins

Joint pain is an annoyance any time of the year, but when cold, winter weather creeps in, those aching joints tend to get a little achier for some people.

 

While the link between colder weather and joint pain isn’t quite clear, there are many people whose symptoms seem to worsen when there’s a temperature drop.

 

“If you notice your joint pain getting worse during winter, there are things you can try to help make the cold weather more tolerable,” says Dr. Thomas Wilkins, a board-certified physiatrist with BayCare Clinic Pain & Rehab Medicine.


To help combat joint pain, Wilkins suggests:

 

Staying warm. Pay special attention to the head, hands, and feet when you head outside. Wear loose layers to trap body heat, such as mittens or gloves, a hat, scarf, and socks with waterproof boots. A hot bath can help soothe joint pain and a heating pad on problem areas might help, but only apply heat for up to 20 minutes at a time.

 

Eating well. Limit foods high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. A diet low in cholesterol and high in omega-3 fatty acids can help fight inflammation. Try adding dark green leafy vegetables, fish, berries, and nuts into your diet.

 

Drinking water. Water can reduce inflammation around joints, support circulation, and help new cells grow around cartilage tissue.

 

Exercising. Exercise can ease pain and increase strength and flexibility.

 

During colder months, there are many things you can do to stay active, including:

  • Joining a fitness class
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Stretching or doing light exercises while watching TV
  • Taking extra laps around stores or malls while shopping

“Daily stretching, getting a massage, or losing weight may also help relieve pain,” Wilkins says. “If pain persists, make an appointment with your physician.”  

 

Dr. Thomas Wilkins is a board-certified physiatrist with BayCare Clinic Pain & Rehab Medicine. He sees patients in Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay.

 

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About BayCare Clinic

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.