It’s cold and my knees hurt

It’s cold and my knees hurt
It’s cold and my knees hurt

Gee I tell you what, autumn on Tamborine Mountain is a sight to behold. 

The leaves have turned orange, the sunsets seem more vivid and the rain has finally slowed down! There is something about the smell of fireplaces kicking into gear that cannot be beaten. You would be hard pressed to find a prettier postcard than most of our backyard views this time of year. 

The postcard views don’t come without a catch however; winter is coming. All of a sudden it’s dark on rising, dark on returning home and the shower has been just that little bit hotter (and necessary). The grass is dewy, the air is frosty. The cricket has been replaced by football and mum’s insisting I put socks on my kids feet. 

And my knees hurt. And my back. And my fingers? 

The cold makes joints hurt right? Especially if they are arthritic, injured, stiff or just old. But why? Surely our incredibly robust, strong, body that had dealt with so much can withstand a 15degree evening? Let’s face it; it’s not even that cold. We’d be stuffed if we lived in Norway!

So why do our joints hurt more in winter? Well, there’s likely to be a few things working to conspire against our poor knees, hips hands and shoulders. 

  1. During winter we (like bears) tend to hibernate. An evening walk is less appealing when you have to suit up in a woollen jumper, beanie, thick socks and gloves. So, we just don’t do it. Lack of consistent exercise is the number one way to ensure your joints get stiff and sore. We also are given a break from garden work in the winter which often is replaced by a reading a book on the couch sipping on a piping hot mug of tea. So our incidental exercise drops. 
  2. Atmospheric pressure changes during colder weather (barometric pressure drops as temperatures decrease). This can affect our joints by expanding and contracting soft tissues which are able to contribute to a painful experience. Further to this, the viscosity of the fluid within our joints is increased which contributes to stiffness within the joint also. There have been multiple studies which show direct and independent relationships between temperature, atmospheric pressure and humidity to arthritis joint pain.

You’re not making it up!! There is good reason as to why your joints might be stiff and sore as the mercury drops on our thermometers. The next logical question is how to fix it? In this case it’s not rocket science. 

The cold weather is ultimately an inviting but invalid excuse to stop exercising and likely is the single greatest thing we can do to help joint pain being affected by the cold. The importance of consistent movement that is easily achievable and maintains your joint flexibility and strength cannot be overstated. Secondly is to rug up!!

If you’re finding that you just can’t shake the winter aches and need some help to get your body moving again you know who to call!