You’re probably familiar with that uncle or grandmother that swears they can predict a storm on the horizon by the ache in their hips or knees. Or perhaps you’ve experienced the mix of weather and joint pain yourself.
Can the weather really affect joint and arthritis pain or is it just a coincidence? And if you do experience hip or knee pain in bad weather, what should you do about it?
No consensus, but the pain is probably linked to barometric pressure
There are conflicting results - some studies find that weather and arthritis pain are linked, while other studies find no significant association. In the studies that do find a link, research has found that arthritis pain is related to barometric pressure, which is the pressure from the weight of the atmosphere.
Low barometric pressure is generally associated with bad weather
Usually, low barometric pressure means the weather outside is not so great (although, meteorologists would want you to know that it’s more complicated than that, and low barometric pressure doesn’t guarantee dreary weather).
Nevertheless, it’s probably cloudy or rainy, and it’s before or during this type of weather many people report hip or knee pain.
How could barometric pressure be involved?
Low barometric pressure puts less atmospheric pressure on the body, and tissues can swell. Expanding tissues can put more pressure on your joints, and especially for already sensitive achy joints, you’ll feel more pain.
What should you do about your hip and knee pain?
“It would be rare for hip or knee pain only to occur when the weather is bad,” said Beaumont orthopedic specialist James Bookout, M.D. “But any pain that occurs more than once in a while is likely worth bringing up to your physician. Your doctor will work with you to determine what pain relief option is best for you.”