Arthritis Tips for Winter Weather

-Layer up! Think about under layers for your clothes, scarves for your neck, gloves and extra socks. Keeping the cold out is priority one when venturing out on those extra cold days, especially if your joints are feeling stiff and achy.

 -Get your vitamin D. Vitamin D is usually gotten through diet and sunlight but short winter days may leave your levels low. People with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions display more severe pain when their vitamin D levels are low. Aim for 600 IU of vitamin D daily through supplements or food unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

 -Stay active. Exercise helps reduce pain levels, increases joint mobility and increases strength. All necessary components of maintaining healthy, happy joints. When your joints are very sore, even gentle range of motion can be beneficial in reducing pain and dysfunction.

-Heat up. Heat helps boost circulation and can relax tight muscles and relieve joint stiffness.  Anything from a warm shower to a heating pad or even a warm cup of coffee in your hands can be helpful.

 -Stay safe on slippery surfaces. Exercise caution on icy or snowy stairs, slopes or even perfectly level sidewalks. You can use slip on traction spikes for over your own shoes or even something like trekking poles that hikers use to help with balance and safety so that you to get out and walk safely in winter weather.

 -Try out compression gloves. These gloves provide light compression and warmth to achy joints in the hands and wrists and may help reduce swelling, pain and stiffness.

 Wintery, cold weather doesn’t have to equal pain and stiffness in your joints. Use some of these options to stay comfortable and active until warm, sunny days return.



-Stephany Primrose, P.T.

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