For many people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the colder months mean an increase in foot pain, as well as general joint stiffness. Although there isn’t any scientific evidence that cold weather worsens the symptoms of RA, certain factors, such as reduced circulation and muscle spasms brought on by the cold, along with lifestyle changes during the winter, may increase discomfort. To help alleviate these symptoms, follow these tips.
How to Relieve RA Pain in the Winter
1. Stay Warm
The cold weather can reduce circulation in your hands and feet, increasing the chance of muscle spasms that cause pain. Prevent this by keeping warm and dressing in loose, comfortable layers, especially over the areas that ache. For example, wear thick, warm socks to keep your feet cozy, and arthritis gloves that add an extra layer of warmth and compression to your hands.
Exercise is one of the best ways to manage the pain and stiffness associated with RA, but the winter temperatures drive many people indoors, knocking them off-track with their workouts. To help keep discomfort at bay, find indoor exercises you can do to stay active. For instance, follow a yoga video, walk around the mall, or take indoor swimming or water aerobics classes, which is an especially useful option for individuals with foot pain.
Your RA pain may be worse in the morning when you first wake up. If that’s the case, it’s best to put off your workout until later in the day when your muscles and joints have loosened up. Help this process along by doing some gentle stretches throughout the day and before your workout. This will increase blood flow to your joints, warming them up and helping you feel less stiff and sore.
Foot pain from RA doesn’t have to keep you indoors all winter. Turn to the team at Westside Podiatry Group in the Rochester, NY, area for help managing your condition. For more than 50 years, they’ve worked with people who have chronic conditions such as arthritis, gout, and peripheral vascular disease, in addition to injuries. Find out more about the practice and schedule an appointment by visiting their website or calling (585) 225-2290.