Why do you feel the cold in your knees?

Why do you feel the cold in your knees?

Once we reach a certain age, it seems like cold weather makes everything hurt. If you’ve been noticing a bit
more knee pain than usual this winter, it’s not your imagination. Cold weather really does cause knee pain, and here’s why:
The barometric pressure changes. This is the primary factor that leads to winter knee pain. Right before cold weather arrives, the barometric pressure – the weight of the air around us – drops suddenly, making the fluids and gases in your joints begin to expand. That’s what causes the unpleasant feeling of pressure on your nerves, which is what causes the pain in your knees.
The combination of cold and humidity create pressure. When lower temperatures and higher humidity combine, these two factors influence the cellular structures of the bone and cartilage. As a result, it can cause a feeling of expansion and contraction, which creates an aching feeling in the joints.
Injuries can cause nerve sensitivity. If you have past knee injuries, you may experience symptoms like inflammation, adhesions, or scarring that are particularly sensitive. The nerves in knee joints become increasingly sensitive when it’s cold outside, and the lower temperatures can agitate that sensitivity.
Cold temps can thicken joint fluids. The fluid within your knees essentially absorbs shocks and impact. But when temperatures drop, the fluid can begin to thicken, inhibiting the free flow of fluids and making joints stiffer.
If your knee pain is frequently triggered by cold weather, there are a few ways for you to reduce that pain quickly and easily:
Keep warm. This is a simple – and pleasant – way to ease your cold weather knee pain. Take a nice, hot shower or bath, sleep with an electric blanket, and make sure to keep the heat going. If you have to leave your house, try to warm up your car before you have to hit the road. Dressing in layers when you’re outside will also generate and retain some extra heat.
Combat swelling. For most people with knee injuries, swelling is the primary cause of pain. Compression bands work really well at reducing swelling while also improving stability.
Stay active. Many of us choose to stay indoors more often during the cold and dark winter months, which can also mean we get a bit more sedentary. Lack of activity, especially for seniors, can be detrimental to joint health. Move your workout inside – or to the warmest part of the afternoon – to keep active.
If your joint pain isn’t improved by these simple remedies – or if your pain isn’t limited to cold weather – you may want to visit an orthopaedic specialist. Since 1972, the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication, and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement, and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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