Ache and pain support
Discover our range of muscle, bone and joint supports and tools to help you manage the pain and build strength.
Joint pain can occur anytime throughout the year, but can feel worse and harder to cope with during the cold and wet winter months. Our lead physiotherapist, Jan Vickery, explains,
“A change in the weather will not cause arthritis pain, but it can make the symptoms more noticeable. When we are cold our body restricts how much blood it sends around extremities, like our hands and feet, so that it can focus on supplying vital organs, like the heart and lungs. This makes the soft tissues around the joints less pliable, so joints can feel tight, stiff and uncomfortable.”
Some common causes of winter aches and pains include:
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis
As we age, the cartilage that cushions our joints can gradually waste away, leading to rubbing of bone on bone. This can cause biomechanical changes that result in pain. Injury that causes damage to a joint can also trigger osteoarthritis later on in life.
This occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the joints. The joints and inflamed tissues then become stiff, painful and swollen.
Some people may get reactive arthritis after catching a viral infection, like the flu. This is less common and usually clears up on its own, but can last for months.
Another condition that flares up in cold weather is Raynauds Phenomenon
The blood vessels under your skin go into a temporary spasm in reaction to the cold, cutting off normal blood flow. This is not a joint problem but it affects the fingers and toes, making them painful.
Overuse and repetition
The most common cause of joint pain in people under 50 is injury due to overuse or repetition, high levels of force or awkward postures, especially if sustained for long periods of time. Often cases occur from overdoing normal, everyday activities, such as lifting heavy bags or digging in the garden. Jan says, "Repetitive movements, like digging the garden, particularly in awkward postures that involve high forces over a long period, are more likely to lead to accident or injury – so pace yourself when taking on this kind of job."