Top Tips to Help Arthritis Pain in Winter

Over 10 million people live with arthritis or conditions affecting the joints. In the colder winter months, many people experience flare-ups with knees, hands and feet being most affected. The reason for this is not known but there are many theories that suggest cold weather increases pressure on our joints, makes pain receptors more sensitive and causes joint fluids to become thicker, making them stiffer and less flexible.

While living with arthritis isn’t always easy, there are lots of things you can do to ease symptoms during the winter.

1. Go to your GP: this is essential to ensure you get the best treatment. They can give you specific advice to help you manage your pain with anti-inflammatory creams and painkillers. There are many options to treat arthritis today and it doesn’t mean that you’ll need a joint replacement operation.

2. Stay active: daily exercise to improve your muscle strength is key to reducing symptoms. Opt for low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga or tai chi, and warm-up thoroughly beforehand.

3. Maintain a healthy weight: being just 10 pounds overweight increases pressure on your knees by 30-60 pounds.

4. Eat well: eating a nutritious diet will help to ensure you’re as fit as possible. Experts recommend eating at least 1 portion of oily fish, like salmon or mackerel a week will have anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Keep your vitamin D in check: it is worth getting your vitamin D levels checked by your GP and consider supplements, especially in winter. Calcium is also essential to keep your bones strong.

6. Stay warm: wrap up with gloves, scarves, hats and warm socks. Hand warmers are a great option for anyone who has arthritis in their hands. Massage and hot baths can also help.

7. Adapt your environment: there are plenty of helpful gadgets available to make life easier and support you with everything from gardening to getting dressed.

8. See an occupational therapist: they can suggest things to make your life easier for example, lever taps. If the seats in your
home are quite low, then add extra support with cushions. You can also buy toilet seat covers with added height.

9. Do things you enjoy: don’t let aching joints stop you from socialising, instead find sociable activities that are still comfortable.

10. Join a support group: Versus Arthritis offers support groups across the UK where you can share experiences and enjoy activities.