Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse
Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.
There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.
If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.
Early Signs Of Arthritis In The Knee
Arthritis refers to the redness and swelling of the joints. It usually develops slowly over 10 to 15 years, interfering with daily life activities. Knowing the early signs of arthritis can help you take appropriate treatment and incorporate modifications in your diet and lifestyle.
The knee joint is the largest and the most complex joint in the body. Depending on the cause, the early signs and symptoms of arthritis in the knee joint may vary amongst individuals. Typically, these include:
- Pain while climbing stairs or walking
- Joint stiffness after sitting for prolonged periods with bended knees
- Difficulty in straightening the knee after getting up in the morning
- Swelling over the knees that gets worse on walking
- Bones in the knee joint rub against each other giving rise to the sound of creaking, clicking or snapping, or grinding
- Many people with arthritis experience increased joint pain during rainy weather
What Causes The Pain
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of issues, from injury to tendonitis to bursitis . But the primary cause of knee pain, according to Dr. Stearns, is usually a form of arthritis.
People with normal, healthy knees usually dont get pain at night, he says. Theres typically a reason, and its often because they have arthritis, commonly osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is mechanical in nature, caused by wear-and-tear on the joints as well as the cartilage and tendons associated with the joints. This sets the condition apart from rheumatoid arthritis which is inflammation of the joints, typically caused by an overactive immune system.
While osteoarthritis is typically seen in older patients, it can occur in younger patients, too, particularly those who are prone to overuse of certain joints or suffered significant injuries like ligament tears.
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When Knee Pain May Mean Arthritis
Learn about the various causes of knee pain, including different kinds of arthritis.
If you are experiencing pain, swelling and stiffness in the knees, you may have one of the following types of arthritis or related conditions.
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints. Without the protective layer, the bones to rub together, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement in the joint. The knee is one of the joints most commonly affected by OA. In knee OA, you may feel a grating sensation when using the joint or a popping or crackling noise.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to mistakenly attacks the joints. The result can be joint damage, pain, swelling, inflammation and loss of function. RA commonly affects joints on both sides of the body. If one knee is affected, the other knee is likely affected as well.
Juvenile arthritis is the term used to describe types of arthritis that affect children age 16 years old or younger. There are several types of juvenile arthritis that cause knee pain and swelling.
Reactive arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis that often occurs following an infection of the genital, urinary or gastrointestinal system. Large joints are often affected, especially the shoulders, hips and knees.
Pseudogout: Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition
Pseudogout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that results from the buildup of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints of the body. While less common than gout, pseudogout is more likely to affect the knee.
Like gout, pseudogout is caused by a build-up of microscopic crystals in a joint and can lead to sudden, severe knee pain, swelling, warmth, and redness. Pseudogout is less common than gout but more likely to affect the knee joint.
The microscopic crystals that cause pseudogout are called calcium pyrophosphate crystals. Doctors often refer to pseudogout as calcium pyrophosphate deposition .
Reactive arthritis can result in inflammatory joint pain, most commonly in the knee, fingers, or low back. Other possible symptoms include problems involving the urinary tract, eyes, and skin.
Reactive arthritis commonly affects the knee, though it can affect any joint. Arthritis inflammation can make a knee achy, swollen, and/or red.
Reactive arthritis develops as a reaction to an infection, such as a stomach bug or a sexually transmitted disease . Days, weeks, or even months after the infection has resolved, a person may develop pain in one or more joints, inflamed eyes, and/or other symptoms.
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What Causes Arthritis In The Knee
All kinds of arthritis are characterized by wear and tear of the cartilage followed by a reduction in the joint space.
Three types of arthritis affect the knee mainly:
- Osteoarthritis : This type of arthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease, primary OA, wear-and-tear arthritis, or age-related arthritis. It is a leading cause of disability in the United States and worldwide. Though more common in older people, it can affect young people, including children as well.
- Rheumatoid arthritis : This is an autoimmune and chronic kind of arthritis that affects multiple joints in the body. Autoimmune means the body attacks its own healthy cells. Over time, the inflammation causes degeneration of cartilage along with the softening of the bone.
- Posttraumatic arthritis: This kind of arthritis is preceded by a traumatic event that impacts the knee joint. The injury damages the knee and arthritis develops after a few to several years in the knee joint.
Factors that increase your risk for developing osteoarthritis include:
Exercise Programs For Osteoarthritis
Exercise is an important and effective part of any osteoarthritis management plan. It can help to reduce your pain and increase your level of mobility.
A health professional such as an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist can provide you with an individualised exercise program that is tailored to your needs.
Appropriate exercise for osteoarthritis includes strength training, stretching, aerobic and balance programs. Such programs can be undertaken at home or as part of a group, and depending upon your preference you can do them on land or in water.
If any exercises feel uncomfortable, talk to the healthcare professional who is managing your program to make sure you are doing them properly and that they are appropriate for you. The aim is to start with what is achievable for you, and build up your program slowly over time.
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Gradual Increase In Pain
Arthritis pain usually starts slowly, although it can appear suddenly in some cases.
At first, you may notice pain in the morning or after youve been inactive for a while.
Your knees may hurt when you:
- climb stairs
- stand up from a sitting position
- walk on a flat surface
- sit down for a while
Knee pain that wakes you up from sleep can be a symptom of OA.
For people with RA, the symptoms often start in the smaller joints. They are also more likely to be symmetrical, affecting both sides of the body. The joint may be warm and red.
With OA, symptoms may progress rapidly or they may develop over several years, depending on the individual. Symptoms can worsen and then remain stable for a long time, and they can vary day to day.
Factors that may cause worsening of symptoms include:
- cold weather
- excessive activity
With RA, symptoms usually appear over several weeks, but they can develop or worsen in a few days. A flare can happen when disease activity increases. Triggers vary and can include changes in medication.
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Osteoarthritis affects the entire joint and causes inflammation and changes in the bone and connective tissues. Symptoms vary according to the severity of the condition. If you have this disorder, you might be experiencing pain in any joint. Its common to experience symptoms in the knee and hips. You may also develop bone spurs around the affected joint. Its important to consult with your doctor if you have these symptoms.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include swelling and bone spurs around the affected joint. You may also experience soft tissue inflammation around the joint. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers and suggest a program of physical activity. For those with severe osteoarthritis, surgery may be the best option. The best course of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms youre experiencing. Ultimately, the best way to manage your osteoarthritis symptoms is to find a solution that works for you. Will Osteoarthritis In Knee Cause Leg And Ankle Swelling
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Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Knee
The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and swelling. Early symptoms may be mild. Arthritis gets worse over time, though, and symptoms become more significant.
If you have arthritis, you might notice symptoms, including:
- Stiffness and swelling of the knee making it difficult to bend and straighten the joint
- Increased pain and swelling in the morning or after sitting or resting
- Increased pain after activity
- A sensation of “locking” or “sticking” when moving the knee
- Weakness or buckling in the knee
The Initial Causes Will Osteoarthritis In Knee Cause Leg And Ankle Swelling
Joint pain may be caused by a variety of causes. Inflammation and infection can affect the joints, and it is necessary to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. However, certain types of joint pain are not a serious health problem and can be treated by yourself. Moreover, joint pain can be the result of a broader range of factors, such as stress, illness, and genetics. When you have recurring joint pain, you should seek help from a doctor as early as possible.
Inflammation and pain in the joint can be caused by many conditions, including RA and sacroiliac joint inflammation. The inflammation of a joint causes the pain. For example, a person suffering from RA may experience lower back pain or iliosacral joint pain. These problems can occur in both the upper and lower back. When the sacral bone becomes inflamed, there will be inflammation of the sacral joint. The painful area is called the sacroiliac bone.
In addition to RA and gout, joint pain can also be the result of numerous medical conditions. For instance, a person suffering from fibromyalgia will experience joint pain that is accompanied by fever, fatigue, and difficulty walking. The symptoms of these conditions can be triggered by a number of factors, but the most common underlying cause of the pain will most likely be a joint disorder. A person suffering from fibromyalgia arthritis may experience a painful condition known as septic arthritis. Will Osteoarthritis In Knee Cause Leg And Ankle Swelling
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Exercise And Other Knee Arthritis Remedies
For both OA and inflammatory knee arthritis patients, exercise is a key component of treatment, particularly if youre overweight or obese
Physical therapy may be a necessary first step for some to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joint and improve range of motion. Low-impact exercises walking, cycling, or swimming are usually best for those with arthritis of the knee, but you may be able to do higher-impact exercises if dont have much joint damage.
To help make activity more comfortable, your doctor may recommend using assistive devices such as a cane or a knee brace or sleeve. Wearing well-cushioned, shock-absorbing shoes or inserts is also key unsupportive styles such as flip-flops and flimsy flats only exacerbate knee joint pain. High heels, which throw off your alignment and place added stress on your knees, should also be avoided.
Its also a good idea to talk to your doctor about how to get more rest, since many people with arthritis experience sleep disturbances that studies suggest can lead to pain, depression, and greater disability. Simply practicing good sleep hygiene sticking to a regular bedtime, keeping your bedroom quiet and dark, exercising during the day, etc. can help in many cases.
Youre Not Losing Weight If You Need To Which Could Stress Your Knee Joint
The more you weigh, the more stress is placed on the knee joint, which can trigger an increase in pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons . Whats more, a study published in August 2017 in the journal Radiology found that when overweight and obese adults lost weight over a two-year period, they significantly slowed down their rate of knee cartilage degeneration.
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How Is Oa Treated
There is no cure for OA, so doctors usually treat OA symptoms with a combination of therapies, which may include the following:
- Increasing physical activity
- Medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs
- Supportive devices such as crutches or canes
In addition to these treatments, people can gain confidence in managing their OA with self-management strategies. These strategies help reduce pain and disability so people with osteoarthritis can pursue the activities that are important to them. These five simple and effective arthritis management strategies can help.
Physical Activity for Arthritis
Some people are concerned that physical activity will make their arthritis worse, but joint-friendly physical activity can actually improve arthritis pain, function, and quality of life.
How Walking Helps Knees
The simple act of walking can have a wide range of benefits on your arthritic joints, many of which can help to decrease your pain. On top of that, getting up and moving each day can combat the joint stiffness and soreness that is associated with inactivity. The sections below detail the specific benefits that going for a walk can have on a knee with arthritis.
Verywell / Gary Ferster
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Risk Factors For Osteoarthritis
Evidence suggests that risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
- being overweight or obese
- a previous significant injury to the joint
- increasing age
- repetitive movements associated with an occupation.
- genetics the genes you inherit can play a role in the development of osteoarthritis
- gender women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis
Dealing With Knee Arthritis At Home
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What Is Arthritis In The Legs
The term arthritis refers to redness and swelling of the joints characterized by joint pain and stiffness. A joint is the area where two bones meet. The two bones at the site of the joint are separated by a cushioning tissue called the cartilage that protects the joint and facilitates proper movement. The joint space is lined by the synovial membrane that secretes a fluid called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid lubricates and protects the joints to allow for adequate movement. Arthritis may result when any of the joint structures are damaged. Leg arthritis affects the joints of the hips, knees, ankles or feet. There are over 100 types of arthritis. The most common types of arthritis affecting the legs are
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs due to wear and tear of the joint cartilage that happens with increasing age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: In this type of arthritis, the bodys immune system attacks and damages the joints.
- Gout: This occurs due to excessive deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints, which causes joint inflammation.
- : This refers to arthritis that occurs as a result of joint infection.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: This type of arthritis results because of injury or after a surgery or other invasive procedure on the joint.
- Psoriatic arthritis: People who suffer from a long-term skin condition, psoriasis, may develop psoriatic arthritis along with the skin manifestations such as plaques.