Do you find that the cold and damp days of winter are making your joints ache more and feel stiffer than usual? Many patients at North Jersey Podiatry tell us that this time of year increases the discomfort they experience from arthritis. While we can’t make Old Man Winter leave any earlier, we can suggest these tips for helping you stay comfortable:
- Watch your diet—there are foods that are known to increase inflammation and joint stiffness. Sugars, refined white flour, fried foods and hydrogenated fats are among the worst offenders. If you are prone to gout (a type of arthritis) you want to also avoid foods high in purines—shellfish, red meat, organ meats, red wine and beer—as these can cause an attack.
- Keep your weight down—extra pounds put extra stress on the joints of your lower extremities. If you put on some extra weight during the holiday season, now is the time to work to take it off.
- Don’t neglect your exercise routine—exercise can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight as well as keep joints moving and flexible. If your usual fitness routine takes place outdoors, look for suitable substitutes until the days get longer and warmer. Walking on a treadmill, using a gym, or swimming at a local indoor pool are all good options that will help you stay in shape.
- Choose footwear wisely—boots, which are so popular this time of the year, are not necessarily healthy for your feet. Many of them don’t have adequate arch support, necessary for holding your foot in proper position when standing and walking. Lack of arch support causes you to walk more flat footed which can increase joint pain. If flat feet are a problem for you regardless of the shoes you wear, our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, may suggest a custom orthotic device for your shoes.
- Prepare for slippery weather—it’s a fact that when you are afraid of falling, you tend to tense your muscles which, in turn, increases joint aches. Keep your walkways clear and sanded and wear shoes with good treads so you can walk with confidence to and from your car into the house.
If you have additional questions about arthritis and how to best relieve joint pain, contact our Wayne, New Jersey office by calling: 973-595-1555.