Author: Hannah Lewis- Yates Physiotherapy, 12th April, 2019
Osteoarthritis in winter
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common complaint, and is one of the main culprits for joint pain that we see as physiotherapists, most commonly affecting the knees, hips, necks, wrists and thumbs.
Everyone has heard of OA – but what actually is it?
In a healthy joint, the ends of the bones are covered by a smooth layer of articular cartilage that allows cushioning and smooth movement. In OA, the integrity of this cartilage is lost over time and it becomes thinner. This leaves joints feeling stiff, achey and sometimes creaky! OA mainly affects people over the age of 45, but can begin at any age.
In the cooler weather it is quite common for aches and pains associated with OA to feel like they have worsened. This can occur for many reasons, but rest assured – worsening of OA symptoms in the cooler months doesn’t mean that the condition has worsened!
Here are our top tips to combat joint aches and pains in the cooler months:
- Dress warmly – wooly layers to insulate against the cooler weather can help to keep joints warm and moving freely. Think gloves, warm socks and scarves.
- Use a heat pack for warming pain relief
- Keep active – particularly with indoor activities. Gentle exercise helps to ease stiff joints and relieve pain associated with OA. Our favourites include:
o Gentle walking
o Stationary bike riding
o Hydrotherapy in a nice warm pool
o Mat physiotherapy exercise classes