Our pain threshold goes down during winter as the nerve endings get hypersensitive. So the same pain inflicted during summer and winter is different, and the body screams out from a lesser amount of pain in winter than in summer. Those suffering from arthritis would thus need an increased dosage to get relief from the same pain. Surgical procedures for arthritis also become more common during this season.
Bones and joints are most easily affected during this time and the knee joint, being more superficial (with less muscle and fat covering), than say the hip, is more exposed to the vagaries of weather, and becomes the most common joint to be affected.
Most people with knee pain, especially those with arthritis, have the misconception that walking around will wear their knee out further. They couldn’t be more wrong. It is by flexing their knee more that they get more blood circulation going, increase joint nutrition and make muscles and bones there stronger.
If knee pain has not set in yet this winter for you, it is advisable that you set time apart – from today itself – to prevent it. Just ensure to get into a regular activity like cycling, swimming or walking on a flat surface for 40 minutes to one hour everyday, without fail. If you start these
activities before the onset of winter, you would be giving your knees a healthier chance.
And in case your regular knee pain has already set in, take a Crocin tablet or two – yes, that old trusted painkiller – and start on with the above mentioned activities. There are activities that you should not do too: climbing up and down the steps, getting up from a very low seating position (like an Indian-style toilet) and heavy physical activities. In a couple of weeks, your pain should subside.
Winter is the time people visit orthopaedicians the most, and even request for knee surgeries. The advisable option is to preferably wait out the winter (do these activities), and consider the surgical option only if pain persists during summer.
Seeing a doctor
Your orthopaedician would most likely take an X-ray of your knees first. He would be able to assess the existing damage with this, and advise you on the way ahead. Along with medication, your doctor may advise you a course of physiotherapy. This will strengthen your muscles, increase your range of movements with the affected joint and make your bones stronger.
Crepe bandages, pull-up tubular supports and small braces are available. Ensure that you wear them only while engaging in an activity, and not during rest or night time. Your muscles would be further weakened if you ignore this.