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Arthritis on Ice: Coping with Joint Pain in Winter

Adventist Health Aspire Orthopedic Institute

Lots of people think winter is a pain. But if you’re living with arthritis or other joint pain, that’s more than a joke. Winter weather can be a pain in the shoulders, wrists, knees—you name it!

Chris L.Research has shown that changes in temperature and barometric pressure increase arthritis pain,” explains Dr. Christopher Estes, an orthopedic surgeon at Aspire Orthopedic Institute in Portland, Oregon. “This isn’t a myth—it’s a fact arthritis sufferers know all too well.”

Steps to Relieve Winter Arthritis Pain

Now that we’re in the thick of winter, it’s time to explore some ways to help relieve the arthritis pain that comes with weather changes.

To help ease your pain, Dr. Estes recommends you:

  • Dress warmly: Keep your joints warm and cozy by choosing the right clothing, including coats and gloves. Add layers like long underwear to protect your knees and legs. Don’t forget to add tights or leggings under skirts and dresses.
  • Exercise indoors: Continuing your exercise is an important way to keep joint pain to a minimum. Don’t let the cold weather prevent you from exercising. Instead, stay active indoors by using a treadmill or elliptical machine or walking in the mall.
  • Take warm baths: There’s nothing like a nice, long soak in a warm bath. Be careful to avoid extreme temperatures and focus on warm water. Pat your skin dry and allow your body temperature to return to normal before you leave the bathroom.

Tips to Prevent a Painful Winter

Beating arthritis pain in winterAs well as relieving pain as it comes, it’s important to avoid adding any pain to your winter season. “The old saying is true—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Dr. Estes says.

  • Take vitamin D: With little direct sunlight this time of year, it’s easy to become low in vitamin D. Add a vitamin D3 supplement and make sure you eat vitamin D-rich foods like eggs, mushrooms and fortified cereal.
  • Stay safe: The last thing you need is add a joint injury to your winter pain! Wear solid, supportive shoes with good tread. And take time to plan where you walk so you can avoid wet or icy surfaces, stairs, and uneven ground.
  • Contact your doctor: Your orthopedic doctor can provide winter pain prevention and relief tips customized for your specific condition. Make sure you’re keeping your regular appointments and reaching out when you have new symptoms or concerns.

If you need to see a doctor about your arthritis or other joint pain, Dr. Estes and his team of orthopedic colleagues are more than happy to meet with you. Call Aspire Orthopedic Institute today at (503) 261-6961 to schedule your appointment.

With a few tips and some help from a great orthopedic team, you can reduce the pain of winter while looking forward to warmer, sunnier days ahead.