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Does Joint Pain Worsen During Winter? | Best Orthopedic Surgeon For Joint Pain In Bangalore
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Dr. Rewat Laxman, Bone and Joint Consult, Hip, Knee and Sports specialist, discusses joint pains. The cold climate during winter and what you can do to reduce the symptoms of joint pains.
There is no specific confirmation, that winter itself makes arthritis unpleasant. However, it is widely reported by individual suffering from arthritis that, there is a discomfort in the joints in cold weather. This is because the muscles surrounding the joint incline to contract when it is cold, which results in joints tending to become stiff or seized up.
In cold climatic condition, it is good to keep your joints active by undertaking some simple activities such as walking, exercising and doing stretches, can reduce joint pains. Especially for the back pain and also to other joints, yoga and Pilates can help in strengthening the core muscle and also supports in movement of the joints and make them flexible.
What are the conditions which can result in lack of joint care?
Suppose, joints are neglected or overworked, then it might tend to early decaying of the articular cartilage which is the surface of the joint. This could often be a hazard of certain kinds of occupations or even sports too. Generally, cartilage has a poor supply of blood so, even minor damages does not heal. After a period of time, this repetitive damage to cartilage can lead to exposed bone. This is a sign of early arthritis, typically if left untreated might result in go degeneration of the joint. Symptoms of arthritis are pain, swelling and stiffness.
In which joints are these conditions most prevalent?
In osteoarthritis, which is the commonest form of arthritis and it particularly affects the joints that bears the weight, hips and knees. Even other joints such as the hand, shoulders, foot and ankle can also be affected.
Does exercise help? If yes what kind of exercises? Is it okay to exercise outside in winter or better to do it indoor?
Exercise is important on many grades. Firstly, it strengthens the joint surrounded by muscles and thus reduces the load of the joint. Secondly, it helps in maintaining the movement of joints which is often lost as a progress of arthritis and, it also helps all the other joints and this helps to lessen the effects of arthritis in these joints too. Exercising outside in the winter is fine if one warms up, hands and does stretches. Wet roads/pavements, slippery grass and leaves etc these are also hazards to be wary in the winter.
Things you should avoid?
If your joints are already started to destruct, then ideally high impact activities should be avoided as they can tend to more wear in the joints and cause more discomfort. This especially affects the joints that I deal, namely-the hip and knee joints. Similarly, sports that require more amounts of twisting and rotating can also cause joint damage. It’s better to stop activities such as swimming, cross trainer or cycling.
How can your diet and supplements help to protect your joints?
Being overweight can add on strain to joints, in my practice I have that this is affecting the knee joint most generally. I always tell my patients that although it is difficult to reduce weight, the affect on your joints is massive. Some patients keep complaining that they can’t do exercise to lose weight due to joint pain. This may be the fact but however, even losing a few kilos can make a significant difference to joint function.
Coming to joint supplements, the opinion is mixed in the medical world. On the other hand some statistically significant benefits on supplements have been reported by few patients on use of glucosamine, chondroitin, cod liver oil and even turmeric. If you ask me i would say as they help with joint lubrication and reduce joint pain and also come with no side effects – they are worth a try.
Is it ever too early or too late to start worrying about joint health?
Getting into healthy daily routine like exercise, diet and maintaining a healthy body weight will always benefit joints. Sometimes, joint damage occurs because of our jobs or sports. If this happens obtaining a good medical advice and occasionally early intervention therapy can help in recovery. In our group, Total Orthopaedics at Bone and joint consult Hospital, are using biological agents to help people with the symptoms of arthritis.
Replacement surgery can also be considered to provide long-term quality of life, if u thinks it is too late and your joint has already worn out completely.
Is there anything else you can do to protect your joint that’s not been covered above?
In case, your job or sports that you play shows a lot of impact on your joints then, the best advice I would add on to that mentioned is make sure that you stretch, warm up or make your joints free before starting your activity. This leads on to my last piece of advice – ‘always think about injury prevention’. This is probably more important than dealing with joints which are already damaged. I sometimes suggest using various splints or braces (functional bracing) are good for injury prevention or for rehabilitation.
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