Quad Cities, IL/IA

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WINTER JOINT PAIN 101 — Easing and Avoiding Joint Pain Caused by Cold and Icy Weather


Submitted by Mississippi Valley Surgery Center

Have you noticed an increase in joint pain this winter? You’re not alone. As we make our way through another cold and icy winter, many are seeing an increase in joint pain flare-ups caused by this cold, Midwest, winter weather.

Although winter weather is more likely to bother those who already suffer from arthritis or joint pain, people with healthy joints are susceptible to winter joint pain as well. Hoping to ease and avoid additional joint pain this winter? With a staff of experts in the most innovative techniques that lead to better outcomes and faster recovery times, the team at Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, located in Davenport, is here with five steps that might help.

1. Stay active.
While another weekend spent binge-watching your favorite television series sounds better than working out, staying active is an important part of protecting your joints. By building muscle, joint function and mobility can improve, reducing overall joint pressure. Even low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and cycling can be key to boosting blood flow and avoiding joint pain and stiffness.

2. Stretch or warm up.
While stretching is an important step in helping joint pain all year long, it’s especially important when temperatures are low. By implementing stretching into your daily routine, your joints will not be as impacted by the colder temperatures, therefore causing you less pain.

3. Dress in layers.
It may be troublesome to throw on a coat, hat, boots, and gloves every time you leave the house, but dressing in layers does help keep your joints protected. Not only do these layers keep your joints warm and less stiff, but dressing in layers allows you to easily adjust to any changes in temperature.

4. Apply heat.
When joint pain strikes, use heat to counteract the cold. Take a warm bath or utilize a heating pad to relieve joint pain, improve mobility, and relax your muscles.

5. Stay hydrated.
It may seem backward, but staying hydrated throughout winter is just as—if not more—crucial than in summer. Since dry air makes people feel dehydrated, tired, and achy, it’s important to continue drinking water to support your body’s needs and keep your muscles working properly.

Avoiding slips, trips and falls
It’s not just cold temperatures than can have a negative impact on your joints this winter. Snow, ice, and wind can bring countless opportunities for slips, trips, and falls throughout the season that can cause long-lasting joint issues. While many winter falls result in only minor injuries, others aren’t so lucky. To help you stay safe this season, here are five tips to prevent slips, trips, and falls when traveling this season.

1. Wear proper footwear.
Rubber soles, boots, and shoes with grip and texture can help keep you upright on icy surfaces.

2. Go slow.
Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. When you speed up, you have a higher chance of falling down.

3. Take smaller, shorter steps.
Utilizing smaller, shorter steps or even shuffling can help you glide across the slippery surface rather than slipping and sliding on every step. If possible, look for snow, grass, or dirt rather than slippery walkways.

4.  Use support.
There’s no shame in utilizing nearby handrails or vehicles for support when walking through a potentially slick area.

5. Remain hands-free:
Keep your hands out of your pockets and stay off your phone to give yourself a better chance to grab on to something if you do start slipping.

I fell…now what?
If you do take a nasty fall this winter, there are ways you can relieve the pain. For the first 24 hours after a fall, ice the injured area for 15–20 minutes at a time, multiple times throughout the day to decrease bruising and swelling. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also be used to decrease pain.

If pain continues, it may be time to seek professional help. For years, Orthopaedic Specialists, located in Davenport, has served as an innovator in orthopaedic care. With an urgent care clinic available with no appointment necessary, the center treats injuries to the wrist, hand or shoulder, possible broken bones, sprained knees, swollen joints, and more.

In some cases, surgery may be deemed necessary to address the issue. For many in the Quad Cities, an outpatient surgery center like Mississippi Valley Surgery Center can be the right fit. As the state’s first and only AAAHC Advanced Orthopaedic Certified surgery center, MVSC offers minimally invasive/rapid recovery, same-day and 23-hour total joint replacements—which are alternatives to large, open procedures.

As the area’s only outpatient surgery center performing total shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle replacements, MVSC’s fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons also perform more 800 total joint replacements each year. With a personalized and convenient experience for patients and family members alike, MVSC provides predictable scheduling and same-day discharges, allowing patients to recover comfortably at home.

To learn more about Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, visit mvhealth.net, or find the center on Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter. To learn more about Orthopaedic Specialists, call (563) 344-9292 or visit OSQuadCities.com.