April Showers Bring…Arthritis!

Arthritis is characterized by stiffness and inflammation in your joints. Many patients complain that in the cool, damp weather, their joints with arthritis become more painful. Some patients even claim they can predict the weather by their joint pain! Have you ever wondered why your arthritis becomes flared up when it rains? This happens because rain causes the barometric pressure to drop. Barometric pressure or, “weight of the air,” is the force exerted on the body by the atmosphere. This increased force on the body can cause swelling of the soft tissues, which will put more pressure on already inflamed joints. It will also cause compression of nerves.

How do I prevent arthritis pain during the cool, damp months?

Most importantly, wear warm clothes and many layers. This will help to preserve body heat. You can always take layers off, but you can’t always put them on! Secondly, exercise is important. Physical activity will help to stretch muscles and loosen joints, to prevent stiffness. Consider a new, fun activity, such as dance or yoga. Even your daily, household chores will help to loosen you up!

Some types of arthritis are…

  • Osteoarthritis – This is a type of degenerative disease of your joints. It primarily happens with age but can also happen from chronic “wear and tear” or overuse of your joints.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. If affects not only the joints of your hands and feet, but can affect your eyes, lungs, heart, and other organ systems as well.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis – This arthritis will typically cause inflammation of your fingers and toes. They are sometimes described as “sausage toes.” It can also be accompanied by nail pitting and skin scaling, typically on your knees and elbows.
  • Gout – Gouty arthritis is caused by recurrent gout attacks. Gout is a buildup of Uric Acid crystals in your blood, that crystallize into the joints of your feet. It is also commonly found in your fingers and ears. During an attack, your joint will be red, hot, and swollen. Over time, these attacks can cause damage to your joint.

If you have any questions about the cause of your foot pain, call Bergen Medical Associates today at (201) 967-8221 for an appointment! A foot exam, x-rays, and blood work can frequently determine the cause of your arthritis!

By Samantha Rosenzweig, DPM

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