Staying Active with Arthritis When Winter Weather Strikes

As frost settles in and winter gets going in earnest, seniors with arthritis feel the chill extend to their joints. Stiffness, aches, and even difficulty walking can make enjoying the season a painful challenge.

Step by Step Family Foot Care won’t leave you out in the cold! We’re invested in patient education as a crucial component of ensuring good outcomes, so with that in mind, we crafted this blog post to guide your steps toward a painless winter.

Cold Concerns

Lower temperatures and damp weather often exacerbate joint pain because reduced barometric pressure increases inflammation, while slippery surfaces add to the risk of falls. What can you do about it? Two steps make for a good start:

  1. Low-impact exercises like water aerobics, yoga, or tai chi can improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and reduce pain.
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce pain and improve mobility. Excess weight puts extra strain on your joints, hampering your daily routines.

Now, let’s tackle two common forms of arthritis that you might face. First up is Osteoarthritis (OA). This “wear-and-tear” arthritis affects the cartilage in your joints. To slow its progression:

  • Strengthen supporting muscles. Strong muscles take pressure off your joints, easing pain and improving stability. Try isometric exercises targeting your legs and ankles.
  • Explore pain management options. Consult your podiatrist about pain management strategies like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, or even certain nutritional supplements for longer-term relief.
  • Consider custom orthotic devices. They can provide necessary support, bolster the foot’s mechanics, and provide cushioning to minimize discomfort.

Then there’s Hallux Rigidus. This form of degenerative arthritis affects the big toe joint, causing pain and stiffness when bending. For relief:

  • Wear wider shoes with cushioned soles. Allow ample space for your toe joint to move comfortably. Consider stiff or rocker-bottom soles and ditch high heels for good.
  • Physical therapy or ultrasound therapy modalities are solid conservative choices for relief.
  • In severe cases, surgery to remove bone spurs or realign the joint might be necessary.

Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with any of your podiatry needs! To consult with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help!

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