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Sheltering Arms Blog

How to Get Rid of Stiff Joints in the Winter


Posted on: January 31, 2020 by Jenny Lankford

By: Elizabeth Goodwin-Horn, PT, DPT

Do you experience worsening joint and muscle stiffness during the winter? Colder temperatures and rainy weather often make joint stiffness worse. Thankfully, there are several ways to alleviate these symptoms.

  1. Keep Moving: As tempting as it is to stay indoors and rest during the darkest months of the year, one of the best ways to improve joint stiffness is to keep moving. Exercise increases blood flow to muscles and joints; even a brisk walk can improve the range of motion in stiffened joints. An indoor gym or mall is ideal for this activity during the colder months. Other great options include riding a seated exercise bike or swimming in a heated pool.
  2. Try a Low-Impact Exercise Routine: If you’re inflexible all year, winter could be a great time to pick up a low-impact exercise routine! Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates are all great low-impact exercise routines that are proven to increase flexibility, core strength and overall fitness. There are several free apps and YouTube videos you can follow within the comfort of your own home. Joining a group class adds the benefit of camaraderie and guided practice which can be ideal for beginners.
  3. Apply Heat: Moist heat and heating pads can be very effective for relieving stiff and achy joints, however they should be used with caution. It’s recommended to apply heat for no more than 20 minute-increments and to check the skin every five minutes for adverse skin reactions. As tempting as it is to fall asleep with a heating pad, this can be dangerous and lead to burns!

Ultimately, the best advice is to dress warmly and keep moving as the winter months pass. If you need help managing stiff joints, schedule an appointment online or call us today at (804) 764-1000 to set up a consultation with one of our arthritis specialists.

You may also enjoy: How Much Exercise is Enough When You Have Arthritis?