‘Why do my joints ache in the cold?’

Ed Scully - Soft Tissue Specialist

The big question in the clinic this week is ‘Why do my joints ache in the cold?’

With the winter sneaking in and the nights getting shorter and colder, you may have heard people complaining of sore and aching joints. When you were out for your evening run this week, you may have noticed that you were a little stiffer than usual. Maybe your knees, ankles or hips are aching when standing in the cold. I have a creek in my neck and I can't look behind my shoulder. These are the common complaints that I have been hearing in the clinic this week and the list goes on…

Achey knees when trying to stand up

Achey knees when trying to stand up

It could be arthritis; as a matter of fact, my father has arthritis and he reckons he can tell when the weather is changing ‘I can feel it in my bones’. It could be a change in the air pressure. It could be an actual injury or something more serious that needs to be checked out by a physiotherapist or by your doctor. 

There is no solid evidence out there to pin-point why your joints are feeling stiff or aching in the cold. It could be any of the above, but one thing we know for sure, is that our muscles are not as efficient in the cold. This is why we warm up before a training session or match. When we are cold, the blood in our muscles is diverted to our organs to keep us warm. This causes our muscles to become stiff and our skin to become ridged. As well as that, our nerves are more sensitive to pain when cold. 

Whatever the cause is, the solution is simple. Keep your muscles in check and get a regular massage as it is crucial for the integrity of your muscles. Massage will reduce painful spasms, help reduce arthritis symptoms, increase athletic performance, reduce pressure on nerves and relaxes muscles. It’s a no brainer guys! Look after number one!

Some tips for you at home!

Wear plenty of layers when going outdoors, try to keep moving when outside to keep the blood flowing, warm up, stretch and foam roll before going for your run in the evening. If you are going to be stationary, bring a hat and scarf. 

Tommy ConwayComment