|(ARA) – The temperatures drop, the skies cloud over and your knees are aching. As the winter months settle in, so can osteoarthritis (OA) pain in your knees.
|While researchers aren’t exactly sure why temperature and barometric changes trigger achy joints, a 2007 Tufts University study supports evidence that the two are linked.
More than 10 million Americans suffer from OA in one or both knees. The cartilage that protects the ends of the bones slowly weakens, and the synovial fluid, or joint fluid, may lose its ability to absorb shock. Stiffness, loss of movement and joint pain are the result.
If you suffer from OA, what do you do to ease your pain as the cold weather descends across the country? Here are some helpful hints to help you overcome the aches of winter:
* Regular exercise. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, exercising an aching knee is one of the best things you can do for it. By keeping your knees moving you can increase flexibility, strengthen the muscles that support the knee and help maintain a healthy weight. You can find detailed instructions on knee exercises at OAKneeRelief.com including: supine straight leg raises, short arc quad extensions, modified partial lunges and step ups. Talk with your doctor about which exercises are best for you.
* Viscosupplement injection. This treatment is specifically designed for osteoarthritis of the knee. It involves the injection of a gel-like substance into the knee to supplement the joint fluid and restore the shock-absorbing properties. A single injection can provide up to six months of pain relief and the treatment can be repeated if the pain returns. Typically a specialist such as an orthopaedic surgeon provides this type of treatment.
* Anti-inflammatory medications. Arthritis causes inflammation of the joint, and using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce this swelling and relieve pain. There are options for both over-the-counter and prescription products to help ease the pain.
* Surgery. Usually a last resort, surgery involves cutting away damaged cartilage, removing particles from the joint, or a complete joint replacement, depending on the extent of the arthritis.
If you are suffering from knee pain this winter, make sure you ask your doctor if osteoarthritis may be the reason and what possible treatments might be appropriate for you.
Courtesy of ARAcontent