Arthritis is never pleasant, but it seems to act up more in the colder months. Though there are no concrete scientific reasons why, there are some ideas as to what causes this to happen. Some believe it to be due to the cold weather tightening your muscles. Others think the change in air pressure in the winter time causes your body tissue to expand and put more pressure on your joints. Still more believe it’s simply due to a lack of exercise people are willing to go out and get due to the frigid temperatures, decreasing muscle elasticity.
Whatever the cause, there’s no doubt that there is certainly pain to be felt during the winter. Here are some tips and tricks to help relieve some of your discomfort:
Wear Proper Footwear
Proper footwear in this case means warm, waterproof, and well-fitting. Warm shoes and boots are of course critical in cooler temperatures, as the rain, snow, and even just the terrain is much colder than in the other seasons. Ensuring your feet stay warm will help to relax the joints and keep the muscles warm and prevent them from becoming stiff, allowing your foot to work better overall. Be careful not to overheat your feet and cause them to sweat though, or you run into the same problems you would if you were to get your foot wet through any other method.
Waterproof shoes are another important factor in the winter season. You could have the most stylish pair of boots anyone has ever seen, but if they don’t keep the wetness out, the second you step into a slushy puddle on the side of the road, all hope is lost for your poor feet. Wetness not only leads to your foot becoming cold and uncomfortable, it can also cause infection and damage to the skin on your feet.
Well-fitting shoes are key for everybody, but arthritis sufferers in particular should make sure their shoes fit well. This is to ease the symptoms of arthritis by supporting the foot where it needs to be supported, and cushioning it elsewhere. The same goes for winter footwear. Just because they are only a seasonal clothing option that gets put away with the jackets doesn’t mean they should be thought of as any less important than your regular daily shoes.
Invest in Warm Socks
Having warm socks is one of the most overlooked simple pleasures in life. Not only is it good for your feet to keep them warm and dry in the cold months, but there are few things cozier than curling up with a hot drink and some big warm socks on while watching the snow fall outside.
While you may not be too excited about drinking cool water during the winter, don’t forget about the hot drinks and soups! It doesn’t necessarily matter what you’re drinking, as long as you’re drinking something. You can make yourself a tea, start your morning with a coffee, or end your evening with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Drinking plenty of liquids allows your body to remove toxins and reduce pain in your joints. Whatever you choose to consume, just stay hydrated.
While going for a jog around the block certainly loses its appeal in the middle of January, there’s plenty of other ways you can stay active in the winter. Try looking for an indoor heated pool if swimming is your thing. If you’d rather use a bike or a machine, you can always go to a gym, many of which are open 24 hours a day to accommodate whatever your schedule might be. Even something as simple as walking around the mall counts, and lets you get any holiday shopping out of the way while you’re at it! Exercising is good for your whole body, including your feet, and helps improve blood flow and muscle flexibility, easing up on some of the pain you may be feeling.
Take a Warm Bath
To counteract the cold, warmth is always a good remedy. Taking some “me-time” to sit and soak in a tub on a chilly day is the perfect therapy for stiff and achy joints. Play some music, and some bubbles, light a few candles, and you’re all set to relax and ease away the pain!
If needed, there is always OTC medications. These can help to reduce swelling, aches, pain, and stiffness in your joints and keep the symptoms away for hours. When all else fails, or when you need a quick fix, these are a good way to help ease your struggles and get you back to yourself again in no time.
The chiropodists at Comfort Stride can answer any further questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to contact our foot clinic today!