Are your joints starting to feel stiff lately? Do they ache more than usual? Have you noticed any clicks and cracks coming from your knees?
If you’re struggling to put your finger on it and you’re not sure why it’s happening to you -chances are you’re not alone.
Many people just like you are becoming a victim of knee and joint pain. This time of year (every year!) joint pain is one of the most common things we see and treat at Empire Performance PT.
It starts with a few clicks of the knees every now and then. But nothing painful, and you think nothing of it.
Then as time goes on, when your knees click it’s painful, and they start to ache a bit more (usually around the knee cap, and on the inside of your knee).
Sometimes after you’ve walked around the stores for a few hours they begin to ache and feel sore. And getting back up again after relaxing with a cup of coffee on the couch, you notice it takes a few steps for your knees ‘to get going’ again...
They can even make it difficult for you to get out of your car with ease. And when the cold weather hits the North East, your joints begin to feel even WORSE.
So why does it happen? And why does it happen more to men and
women aged 50+?
Well there’s a WHOLE bunch of reasons that exist as to why joints in your body become more problematic in the Winter time. But the two most common reasons we see at the clinic are these:
The cold weather naturally restricts the warmth of the blood that flows around your body, (which helps keep you warm and mobile).
– AND –
The fact you’re much less likely to keep as active and mobile in the Winter as you did in the warmer months.
Keeping mobile is just like spraying WD40 on the stiff parts of a bike or car. Just like a vehicle needs oil to get you from A to B efficiently – your joints need to keep active so they don’t stiffen up.
And here’s the thing that many people don’t realize – the winter months and long periods of inactivity, can be the root cause of many years of what I call – ‘all of a sudden’ life long knee pains.
You see, as your muscles get a long rest this winter, there’s a chance they’ll become weaker and slowly get to the point where they won’t be able to support your knees.
And worse yet, many people don’t even notice it happening until the pain sets in.
But when it does, a chain of events is triggered and when your knees don’t have the support of strong muscles, problems like arthritis can set in. Which is why it’s so important to make the most of every opportunity you have this Winter to keep active, so you can fend off the curse of bad knees creeping up on you.
I know it’s easy to think that when the weather begins to warm up you’ll exercise again. Problem is, very few people understand that your muscles need to be strong and stable to exercise safely!
And if you go into tough exercise too quick, there’s a chance you’ll injure yourself and make those sore joints feel even worse!
So my number one tip for you today to keep the winter aches away is to include some kind of activity in your day, everyday.
It doesn’t have to be outdoors!
You can go into an exercise class with friends, do low- impact movements that are kind to your joints like Pilates and Yoga from the comfort of your living room, and if you have an exercise bike (or something like that), use it while watching your favorite TV show.
There really is something for everyone.
What are you going to do to keep active this winter?
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach