Tips for Surviving the Summer While Managing Arthritis

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With summer coming quickly around the corner, minds are turning toward parks, cookouts, and outdoor fun under the sun. However, this can be difficult for those suffering from arthritis pain. While everyone prepares for summertime, arthritis sufferers must take extra care to ensure they stay pain-free throughout the season. Fortunately, by following a few easy tips and planning activities properly, fighting back against arthritis pain can be turned into a simple, effective regimen.

Key Tips for Staying Pain-free
It has been said that the best way to fight arthritis pain is remaining active. While this is true, there are other areas be aware of when planning for the summer. Helpful tips include:

Stay protected in the sun. A common side-effect of many arthritis treatment medications is an increased sensitivity to light. The most frequent forms of medication associated with light sensitivity are non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Though sensitivity is usually associated with prescription-strength drugs, even over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen can contribute towards light sensitivity. If you are treating your arthritis symptoms with NSAID analgesics, it’s important to take extra precautions when planning a day outdoors. Bring plenty of sunscreen for the trip, possibly even products with a higher SPF than others since sensitivity causes an increased likelihood of sunburn. If you’re unsure whether this is a potential risk of your medication, consult your physician to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Dress comfortably. Summer dressing means more to arthritis sufferers than just avoiding the heat. Apparel isn’t quite as obvious as some of the other aspects of the season because it doesn’t appear to have a direct effect on arthritis symptoms. However, since a sizable portion of summer is spent outdoors, uncomfortable dress can have some large contributions to arthritis pain.  Perhaps the best item of clothing to focus on to prepare for a day spent active and outdoors are shoes. Make sure they are both comfortable and lightweight to prevent putting extra stress on the ankle and toe joints. While sandals might seem like a good lightweight choice, they don’t provide much arch support and some designs can even apply direct pressure to ankle joints as well. Make sure your choice of footwear provides even support and comfort without putting undue stress on your joints.

Customize your exercise. Different activities put stress on joints in different ways. As such, it is key to stick to exercise plans that won’t over-stress particular areas, specifically where muscle flare-ups are common. A physician can help with determining if certain activities are a good choice as well as planning for low-impact ways to approach what may otherwise be a risky endeavor. Timing can also be a deciding factor as many people with rheumatoid arthritis experience fatigue later in the day. If this is the case, planning morning or early afternoon exercises can help with overcoming arthritis pain while allowing the body plenty of time to rest and recuperate in the evening. Knowing the limitations you are comfortable with can be the difference between a healthy, enjoyable summer day and a painful joint flare-up. It’s important to maintain confidence in your abilities, but also to keep your activities within safe boundaries and work up toward higher goals gradually.

Watch the weather. Different weather conditions can affect arthritis pain. While the effects of weather on arthritis are still the topic of debate, changes in barometric pressure can cause swelling or inflammation of the joints. In areas where joint pain is common, this means a higher chance of pain flare-ups.

Stay Active, Stay Safe

Your choice of activities is equally as important as preparing for them. The best way to combat joint pain is to ensure any high-impact activities overlap with non-flare times, and to plan no or low-impact activities when feeling fatigued or in pain. If aches begin, or if there’s a risk of a oncoming flare, avoid physically stressful situations and shift toward an easier means of remaining active.

No matter what activities you plan for the season, remember to prepare accordingly and always keep yourself safe. Most importantly, remember to have fun, and don’t let arthritis keep you down!  If you experience joint pain that holds you back from doing the things you love, contact Arthritis and Joint Replacement Center of Reading today.


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Arthritis & Joint Replacement Center of Reading

2758 Century Boulevard, Suite 2
Reading, PA 19610
Phone: 610.376.JOINT • Fax: 610.376.8546

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