Does the Weather Really Affect Your Knee Pain?

Blogs, / By Shi Qi Yap

Have you ever had your grand parent tell you that it’s going to rain tomorrow because their knee is acting up? It always amazes me that their prediction is usually quite accurate. But will a change of climate really affect knee pain?

What does the research say?

Though we say knee pain, the actual condition in question here is arthritis. So the question becomes, does weather affect arthritic pain? The research behind this is inconclusive at best. The result of a recent study says that temperature doesn’t actually play a big role in arthritic knee pain. Humidity is more likely to be the one that affects how one’s arthritic knee pain feels.

It should be noted, that the result is inconclusive because depending on whether someone has osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, the result becomes contradictory with rheumatoid arthritis patients reporting more pain with lower temperatures while osteoarthritis patients don’t.

How weather affects knee pain

If weather does indeed affect knee pain, these are possible explanations for it:

  • Our bones. cartilages, and other tissues shrink or expand depending on air pressure, humidity and temperature. This can change the pressure in the joints and cause knee pain.
  • Low temperatures cause the fluid in the joint to be thicker and that may cause lubrication of your joints to be less efficient, leading to more pain.
  • Low temperature and rainy weather may lead you to move less. Less movement have been shown to cause more stiffness and pain in your joints.

What can i do?

There are a few things that you can try. If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a bath, taking a hot bath when the temperature drops is recommended. You can also get some medications from your doctor to help with inflammation. Last but  not least, keeping a healthy weight goes a long way to reduce knee pain in general when you have arthritis.

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Winsen Citra
Principal Physiotherapist

Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.

In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.