Managing Arthritis in Summer

You wouldn’t expect the warmer weather to cause increased joint pain, but for many people Arthritis or joint inflammation can really flare up in the hotter months.

It certainly is no fun considering it’s often a time where we want to get out and about a lot more with family and friends, so it’s important to find a way to reduce your symptoms and keep enjoying the joys of Summer.

So what’s actually happening in Summer?
You can pretty much place the blame squarely on the hot, humid weather. In fact, the hotter it is outside, the more your body will be prone to swelling. The more prone to swelling you are, the more pain from arthritis you’ll be in.

Barometric pressure also has some impact. The pressure changes outside can trigger receptors in the joints to be more sensitive to pain. When the pressure changes occur, your joints will often feel tighter and stiff. Plus, your ligaments, muscles, and tendons can expand when the barometric pressure drops, such as right before a storm, which can irritate joints that are already sensitive.

Some studies suggest changes in temp can also cause changes in the levels of fluid in your body, reducing lubrication of your joints which can in turn increase pain and inflammation.
Summer can also cause dehydration (and maybe those few extra alcoholic drinks too) which can also contribute to joint pain. If you are dehydrated, then the fluids in your cartilage are not being replenished then can make existing pain much worse.

Inflammatory foods
Some foods are known to cause inflammation in the body, including sugar and high fructose corn syrup, artificial trans fats and refined carbs to mention just a few. Working with a Dietician can help you reach for the right foods to try and keep inflammation at bay.

What can you do?
Elevating and icing your joint can cause short term relief.
In the long term, stay properly hydrated, and active (yes staying active helps, but it’s important to understand your limits)

Make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists or your GP to discuss further options for you. PRP Therapy could also be a treatment option.

Josh Noble is a Physio with us at Medical on Miami and we asked his expert advice on this subject.
“Osteoarthritis is the most common lifestyle disease in people over the age of 65 but can even affect those over 35. It affects the whole joint and is the most common reason for people not to be active. It’s not a wear and tear disease where you wear out you joints if you do exercises.
Hip and knee joints are the most common affected by arthritis, commonly causing pain when weight bearing, reduced range of motion and pain in the groin or inside of the knee.
There is some evidence to suggest the weather, diet and hydration effects pain levels with arthritic joints. There is very strong evidence that indicates a person weight and participating in a correct exercise program can have significant benefit on pain and activity levels.”

This leads us back to the importance of making an appointment with your GP if you’re suffering ongoing joint pain, as you may also be eligible to be provided with a Care Plan that can help assist you with chronic disease treatment and hopefully help treat and hopefully prevent further pain and discomfort.