Cold joints get worse as temperatures decline

Some people will be more predisposed to osteo-arthritis.
Some people will be more predisposed to osteo-arthritis.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Lee Anne Pettey visited the orthopedics office following up on a bone breaking accident.

"I was in a car accident about two months ago, and it broke my wrist, and I had to wear a cast - a hard cast for a few weeks and a soft cast after that," she said.

She saw Dr. Russell Ellis, PMR. He said there is a link between injury and arthritis.

"Post traumatic arthritis does exist, and a lot of people attribute their arthritic problems to perhaps the sports they played in high school, like football and basketball," said Ellis.

Pettey said the weather makes a difference.

"I noticed a big difference when the weather turned cold - a lot more painful and really stiff in the morning," she said.

While there is no doubt her broken wrist can be blamed for this pain, there are also the typical joint pains that seem to come with age. Ellis said osteo-arthritis has a heredity component to it. Some people will be more predisposed to it. But he offers some tips on how to keep those joints moving.

"Activity level is very important. Maintain an activity level even though it may not be the best of conditions outside. Most towns, like Decatur, have malls where people can go and they can walk and get some exercise," said Ellis.

He said local gyms, especially those with heated swimming pools, are ideal for a low impact work out.

"If a person has healthy joints, even impact type activities are going to be fine. But once you develop arthritic changes in the joint, such as a knee, things that are moderate to high impact should be avoided. Biking is better than jogging," Ellis said.

Ellis said to make yourself have a mindset to be more active and not sedentary, which can bring about health problems.

Pettey said it's challenging.

"The older I get, the harder it is. I try to walk every day, but since I had this car accident, I was in a cast for many weeks, and it was difficult to walk and now that the weather is colder it sure isn't as much fun, but I try to walk every day," said Pettey.

The idea is to keep moving. And if those occasional symptoms pop up and you're really stiff and it interferes with your day to day activity, that's when it's time to visit the doctor.

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