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Common Orthopedic Issues in the Winter Months and How to Avoid Them

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it's easy to let your physical activity fall by the wayside. But did you know that being inactive can actually lead to more orthopedic issues? That's right—orthopedic problems like joint pain, tendonitis, and bursitis are all more common in the winter months. But don't despair! There are plenty of things you can do to avoid these issues.

1. Get a flu shot! This may seem like an unrelated tip, but hear us out. The flu weakens your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off other infections—including those that cause orthopedic problems. So do yourself (and your orthopedic surgeon) a favor and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

2. Stretch every day. When you're not active, your muscles can start to tighten up, which can lead to all sorts of orthopedic issues down the road. To avoid this, make sure to stretch for at least 10 minutes every day. Yoga is a great way to get a full-body stretch, but even just some simple neck and shoulder rolls will do the trick.

3. Take breaks throughout the day. If you have an office job, chances are you're sitting at a desk for most of the day. And while sitting isn't necessarily bad for you, it can put extra strain on your back, neck, and shoulders if you're not careful. To avoid this, make sure to take a break every hour or so to walk around and loosen up your muscles.

4. Arthritis flares: Cold weather can cause arthritis pain to flare up. If you suffer from arthritis, make sure you keep moving even when it's cold outside. Exercise helps increase blood flow and lubricates your joints. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. If you can't go outside, there are plenty of indoor exercises you can do, like yoga or Pilates. Just make sure you dress warmly so you don't get too cold.

5. Tendonitis: Tendonitis is another common issue during the winter months. This is because tendons tend to tighten up when it's cold outside. To prevent tendonitis, make sure you stretch before and after exercise. You should also take breaks throughout the day to move around and give your tendons a break. If you start to feel pain, ice the affected area for 20 minutes several times a day.

6. Bursitis: Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, which is a small sac of fluid that cushions your joints. Bursitis is often caused by repetitive motion or overuse of a joint. To prevent bursitis, make sure you take breaks often if you're doing a lot of repetitive motions with your joints (such as typing). You should also ice the affected area for 20 minutes several times a day if you start to feel pain.

Orthopedic problems are no fun—especially when they're caused by something as innocuous as the weather! We value the relationships we form with each patient, and believe that goes a long way in improving their health care outcomes. Give us a call to find out how I can help you today.


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