The last few mild fall days are history as Collingwood can now expect temps around or below freezing and snow blowing in from Georgian Bay with north and west winds. Arthritis sufferers may be feeling especially uncomfortable, as studies have shown a relationship between arthritis pain and low barometric pressure, cold temperatures, and precipitation.
One way to relieve the discomfort of stiff, aching joints is a warm soak. It’s an age-old remedy that often makes you feel better. The warmth can relax your muscles and loosen up tendons and ligaments so you can move more freely. It also increases your circulation, helping your body repair damaged tissues.
Whether you are soaking your sore feet and ankles or your whole body, make sure the water is the right temperature: the 92 to 100-degree Fahrenheit range seems most effective. Water that is too hot (hot tubs, for example) can put extra strain on your heart and damage sensitive skin.
Contrary to what you might think, too much exposure to water can actually dry out your skin. It is important, then, to make sure you drink enough when you do a warm soak, and moisturize your skin afterwards. Also, if your arthritis is flaring up with redness and inflammation, warm soaks could make the problem worse, and cold therapy may be a better remedy.
Occasionally, you may want to add some Epsom salts to the water. These minerals can boost your magnesium level for heart and bone health, but make sure you don’t overdo it. You can combine your warm water therapy with exercise, too. Take advantage of the relaxation to do some range of motion movements during a foot soak.
Unfortunately, if you have diabetes, foot soaks are not a good idea. For one thing, neuropathy may mean you have lost sensitivity to temperature; you may not realize the water is hot enough to damage the sensitive skin on your feet. For another, diabetic feet are prone to dryness, and soaking can cause small cracks to form in the skin, opening it to infection which you may not be able to fight off.
For more tips to combat arthritis pain, please call Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON at (705) 444-9929 and set up an appointment. You can also request a visit online. We want to help you live as pain free as possible with this disease.
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