Joint pain in winter: Know why they get worse and how to prevent it

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Is the winter season painful for you? Have you often observed that as the temperature starts dropping, the pain in your knee, finger, shoulder joints, etc. starts to increase? Well, you are not alone. Increased joint pain in winter is extremely common and there is a reason for it. Keep reading to know the reasons why this happens and what you can do to prevent this.

As winter approaches, pain in joints becomes a regular problem, especially among the elderly, and those with sedentary lifestyles. Joint pains are the worst as they hinder your movement and affect your daily productivity. Also, being in constant pain is not what we want to do for the whole season.

What causes joint pain in winter?

Health Shots reached out to Dr Akhilesh Yadav, Associate Director, Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Max Hospital, to find out. He shares that one of the major reasons for experiencing joint pain during the winter season is decreased exposure to sun that prevents the formation of Vitamin D synthesis in the body. Vitamin D helps in keeping the joints, bones and muscles healthy. Thus, low Vitamin D levels during winter is a more common cause for elevated feeling of discomfort in the joints.

Going outdoors and getting some sunshine is important for your joint’s sake! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The second reason, Dr Yadav explains, could be the temperature drop in winter due to which the barometric pressure also sees a significant drop. This ultimately leads to enlargement of the cartilages and elevates pain in the joints making it more sensitive. Since the muscles and ligaments become tight causing immobility in the joints due to inactivity, and hinders the circulation of the nourishing fluids. All these factors clubbed together raises the risk of experiencing joint discomfort, stiffness, and limited mobility, especially after a time of rest, such as in the morning.

Here is how to take care of your joints in winters to relieve the pain:

1. Stay physically active

As difficult as it might sound to go out for a workout in winter, this is something that will prevent the pain in your joints. “Your joints will stay flexible and supple if you exercise often. Additionally, it enhances blood flow and aids in joint lubrication,” says Dr Yadav. Prior to your workout, don’t forget to warm up your body to avoid any kind of injury. Exercising is not just beneficial for your joints, it will benefit your overall physical and mental health too!

2. Keep your body warm

Winter, cold weather, low temperatures—this is the main problem why you experience joint pains during this season. So, staying warm is one of the obvious solutions to the problem. Wearing many layers of warm clothes will help you stay warm and protect your joints from getting too cold. If you have a fireplace installed, make use of it or try to heat up your rooms with an electric heater.

Stay cozied up in winters to prevent joint pain! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Stay hydrated and consume a well balanced diet

“Fatigue and muscular soreness are two effects of dehydration, so you need to keep up a proper liquid intake,” says Dr Yadav. For the health of your bones and joints, you need to eat a healthy and balanced diet that contains enough of the essential nutrients and minerals your bones need, such as calcium and vitamin D. Dr Yadav advises that refined carbohydrates, processed meals, and excessive amounts of salt and sugar should be avoided. Talk to your doctor about taking supplements if you believe your diet isn’t providing you with adequate calcium and vitamin D.

This is how you can avoid Vitamin D deficiency in winter. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Next time the cold weather has you reaching for your joints, remember to make these changes to your lifestyle!

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