How does Cold Weather affect Joint Pain

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As the seasons change and the air turns chilly, a lot of changes occur in our bodies too. You might notice that your joints, especially your knees start to hurt for no apparent reason. These changes are more distinct in people who suffer from chronic knee pain, or those who have recently injured their knees. They find that the pain begins to flare up again come winter. Not just knees, the pain can also affect hips, lower back or ankles. 

The reason for this body ache ties back to the dip in temperatures. Here are four reasons why joint pain increases as winter begins:

Barometric Pressure:

As the atmospheric pressure drops, our joints expand, putting pressure on the surrounding nerves. This increase in pressure leads to joint pain. Colder temperatures also cause expansion and contraction of the surrounding tissue, ligaments, tendons and cartilage, increasing the stiffness and pain in the joints.

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Increased Nerve Sensitivity:

When it gets colder, blood circulation tends to slow down, especially around our limbs and extremities. With the decrease in circulation, nerve endings get more sensitive and joint pain increases.

Joint fluid

A fluid called ‘synovial fluid’ is present around our joints to reduce friction as we move. This fluid thickens as it gets colder, causing stiff joints. The stiffer your joints are the more likely it is that you will experience joint pain.

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As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, we tend to stay home more as compared to warmer months. The lack of activity can worsen joint pain in people with chronic joint pain or arthritis.

As long as you are proactive and stay on top of your health, there is no reason why joint pain should get you down. Having the know-how about why it occurs is an important first step in combating it. Next, let’s look at some of the steps you can take to ward off joint pain this winter.

Bundle up:

Wear warm clothes when you go outside, especially if you’re going for a walk or jogging. As long as your body temperature stays warm, you will be protected against unnecessary joint pain in winter.

Stay active:

We all tend to feel lazier on sleepy winter days, but staying active is important if you want to avoid joint pain. If you don’t follow an exercise regime already, plan one out for yourself and follow it consistently.

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Avoid unnecessary outings

Consider staying in on colder days and doing an at-home exercise regime. If you usually go for early morning runs, try switching to evening runs when it’s comparatively warmer outside.


Don’t miss out on warm-ups before you exercise. Spend at least 5 minutes doing stretches to loosen your joints up and remove stiffness. Then carry on with your regular exercise routine.

Cool-down time

Don’t end your exercise routine or your runs abruptly. If you’re running, slow down to a jog and then a walk before you stop. If you’re exercising, do some cool-down stretches to ensure that your muscles don’t tighten up.

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Eat right:

Don’t skip out on your meals and avoid extra-sugary or processed food as it causes inflammation. Drink plenty of water, keeping yourself hydrated improves your flexibility.

Wear a knee brace

If knee pain in winter is a concern for you then wearing a knee brace is an easy way to provide stability and support to your joints. It also offers compression and relieves pain. Wear it while you exercise or when you go for a run.

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There are certain things you need to keep in mind if you use a knee brace as knee support for your joint pain:

  • Make sure your skin is clean before you pull the brace on, if dirt or grime sticks to the brace it can make your skin itchy or give you a rash.
  • Don’t keep it on for too long as prolonged pressure is not good for your joints. 
  • Wash it at intervals so that the fabric stays clean.

People with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to joint pain in winter. Be extra vigilant if you suffer from the following complications:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatism 
  • Neuropathy

If your pain persists for a long time consult an orthodontist to correctly diagnose where the problem lies.

Read More Here: Benefits of Sports Ankle Brace for Athletes


Please note that the above recommendations are general care tips. Consult a health care professional in case of any uncertainty around wound treatment and healing.

Always see your doctor if a wound is deep, bleeding profusely or shows signs of infection. For diabetic patients especially, proper wound care holds the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or your podiatrist, even when it comes to minor wounds and cuts – especially if they’re on your feet.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Although compiled with great care, it is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult your doctor immediately. 

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