Senior Citizens and Winter Knee Pain
Updated: Jan 25
The holidays may be over, but the winter weather has stuck around. And for senior citizens, that means so has winter joint pain.
Because cold weather causes joints to stiffen, everyday activities can become painful activities for senior citizens. From getting out of bed in the morning to opening that jar of preservatives, a cold day is a rough day.
One of the most common areas that bother senior citizens the during winter is the knee. And how couldn’t it! Many seniors have trouble getting around as it is and the cold just makes it worse by stiffening up our knees and causing them to ache. When every step you take becomes calculated and measured because of joint stiffness, it’s important to try and find some relief.
Luckily Christian Companions Houston has a few tips to help the senior citizens in your life manage their winter knee pain.
Layers and Layers
One of the simplest ways to help mitigate knee pain in winter is to keep the knees as warm as possible. And while that may seem like common sense, it’s important to note that when we’re cold, we might not have the same level of sensation in different areas of the body. So, while your legs may not seem cold, it could very well be that they are too cold, and you just don’t feel it!
So when lounging at home, consider adding an extra blanket around the legs, to help retain heat, it will make straightening the leg much less painful when it's time to get up.
If you're planning on going out, make sure to wear jeans or pants and consider adding long johns or an underlayer! If possible moisture wicking materials as the under layer is best, we don’t want our skin to retain water as it will start to chill.
Stay Active, Stay Warm
While it might seem a little counter-intuitive, another fantastic way to help manage winter knee pain is to actually use it more.
The longer the knee is inactive, the more time it has to become cold and stiff. Then when you do try to use it, it overexerts and causes pain. So a solid solution to preventing this is to keep it limber.
Gentle exercises such as walking and stretching will help keep joints moving and more limber. There’s also the added benefit of warming up the entire body and getting some feel good chemicals out of the exercise.
But do be careful! Winter weather can bring some less than favorable conditions and slippery surfaces. So it’s extremely important that senior citizens choose activities that are light and safe enough for inclement weather.
Engaging in gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching, can help to keep the joints moving and prevent stiffness. It's important to find an activity that is enjoyable and not too strenuous, as overdoing it can lead to further injury.
Heat Packs and Pads
Finally, one of the coziest solutions to helping senior citizens with knee stiffness in winter are commercial products such as heating packs and heating pads.
If your layers and exercise are not enough to keep the knee pain at bay, then a Heating pad can help relieve knee pain by applying direct heat to the knee joint. The heat also helps the muscles relax and increases blood flow to the area. With that added blood flow, stiffness is reduced and mobility is increased.
This also helps to prevent injury as the knee stays warm and doesn’t have a chance to stiffen up. So when senior citizens get up from a chair or move about, their knees will be more limber and responsive.