Is the Summer Heat affecting your Arthritis?

July 22, 2015

hammer toeFor those of us living above the equator, summer is finally here and the heat & humidity seems to be getting worse. Weather experts predict that 2015 could be the hottest year on record with heat waves are already creating havoc in places like Europe & Asia. For those suffering from arthritis or chronic joint pain, the summer weather can be unbearable. Our joints contain sensory nerves that continuously respond to the changing weather. Temperature and humidity can alter the level of fluid that fills your joints resulting in inflammation and pain and it can also affect the stiffness or laxity in your tendons, muscles and ligaments.

Here are some tips on how to deal with the heat:

  • Stay Indoors: Preferably in an air conditioned environment as that will regulate both temperature and humidity. Too much time outside can cause the amount inflammation in your joints to sky-rocket making anti-inflammatory medication less effective.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink lots of water and fluids, such as Gatorade, to maintain your fluid and electrolyte levels. Caffeine drinks, alcohol and high sugar drinks can make you dehydrated, so steer clear of those. To keep your movement fluid drink lots of fluid! Hydration is KEY!
  • Wear loose, natural fiber clothing: Wearing loose, cotton clothes and linen fabrics that allow your body to breathe helps to evaporate sweat which keeps your body cool.
  • Take a Swim: Taking a dip in a pool is not only great for cooling off but thehammer toe surgery buoyancy of the water also relieves the pressure on your joints. Water activities are refreshing and help you stay active when the extreme heat is too much for outdoor exercise. Remember, swimming is a low impact cardio exercise that is great for people suffering from Arthritis or joint pain.

Heat & Humidity can be a nuisance, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying the summer season!

We would love to hear from you! How do you keep your arthritis symptoms at bay and stay cool in the summer? Any advice for others?


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36 responses to “Is the Summer Heat affecting your Arthritis?”

  1. Janet says:

    Used to love hot weather but now less mobile in humid conditions. Instesd of Summer holiday was windering if 2-3 weeks in cyprus ir alicante area would be good way to avoid wet winters in uk. Any ideas where i coukd go. I love sea bathing and see Cyorus sea temp is c17 degrees in Feb.

    Any ideas welcome.

    Many thanks

  2. Melanie Tinman says:

    It was so hot here this summer in the UK and I moved south to the Isle of Wight to be warmer well I was laid out all summer my body couldn’t cope with the heat at all and my joints were awful I am actually moving to Scotland soon to be near family and I seem to be better in colder weather. Not something I ever thought I would say.

  3. Udara says:

    I had an open bankart repair surgery on my right shoulder almost a year ago. But, since recent, I’m feeling pain. I wonder weather this has anything to do with the increased summer temperatures in Sri Lanka. Current outdoor temperature is around 32 C (89.6 F) with a high relative humidity level.

  4. C. Reams says:

    I have severe osteoarthritis. I can’t take the heat, humidity, cold or barometric pressure. I do better in just cool dry weather. The heat & humidity flare me up the most. I live in the southwest. Tornado ally. The weather is getting warmer, humidity, & we have been having severe thunderstorms. I noticed last year with the humidity causing the heat index to be 115° it was unbearable. What’s hard is getting family to understand the pain I’m in. I do not take opiods anymore. I quit them & trying natural remedies & diet. I’m hoping they will work. I have always been very active & was shocked when I found out. My Dr. said hereditary. So frustrating.

    • Carla Jasinski says:

      C Reams: you are telling my story. If/ when you figure out the solution or where to live, please let me know.

      • Viv Booth says:

        I lived in Saskatchewan for 2 years and felt so much better. Winters are crisp, dry and cold (-35°) and summers are warm, dry and sunny (30°)

        Unfortunately we had to come back to the UK and now I can hardly walk

    • Joe Martinez says:

      Your description is identical to my pain. I to stopped using opiads. I walk 40 minutes per day and use cannabis gummies for pain. Naps also help.

  5. Sylvia Boone says:

    Yes, I agree with you high heat and humidity make my pains worse. Where would you move in the USA to feel better?

  6. Jodi says:

    I asked my doctor if there was anything that could make my joints and tendons flair up in the hot weather and humid weather and she said no. So it was welcoming to be reassured with all of your messages in regards to I am not the only one suffering from osteoarthritis during warm/hot temperatures. I live in wI, so summers are the worst for me.

  7. Grace says:

    I live in California and this week has been very hot. My joints and whole body have been aching.
    I put up a small pool in my yard and I have noticed after soaking in the warm to cool water that I feel so much better.
    I try to do some light stretching in the pool and also just allow my legs and arms to float and relax. It is nice to be outside (it is in the shade) and rest.
    I recommend getting a child’s pool, and it should be long enough that you can stretch out in it. Easy to set up and keep clean, and can be helpful.

  8. Kathi Farrell says:

    I’m so glad I found this board. I always thought heat would help, but today on Nor Cal @ 105 I can barely walk. Now I know why and am not alone. I bought a pool. I’m sure it will help. I did masters swimming in the 90s that helped fibromyalgia a lot, then arthritis came along. Good luck to you all

  9. Clare says:

    hi I am a 39 year old mum and I have a 14 year old daughter and shes my young carer and she has to help me with almost everything we live in Hove east Sussex

    because I have arthritis from my neck spine hips legs and ankles I can hardly move these days because the heat we have had over the last couple of days unbearable

    I don’t have a garden I live on a top floor flat so I get the sun come straight into my flat In all directions

    any one know how I can keep my flat cool

    hope everyone can stay cool in the heat

  10. Gill says:

    I live in East Anglia in the UK and this summer the osteoarthritis in my neck has flared up badly. The summer heat can greatly affect my arthritis but not always. On a more hopeful note, I’ve had the arthritis for 30 years and I can go for long periods without a flare up. I’m always amazed when the flare-up passes (this flare-up has been going for 3 months now) but find it hard to believe when it’s as painful as this. I’m usually pretty good about exercising my neck and walking a lot but, when the pain is so intense, it’s hard to do anything other than increase the muscle relaxants and analgesics. I’m going for a few days on the coast soon and am hoping the sea and the sea air will help. Like Kathi, I am very glad to find this board even if it’s on the other side of the pond!

  11. VERONICA LEY says:

    I need help. My mom has rheumatoid arthritis. She is having a flare up right now. We live in Southern California and the weather is affecting her. I have read the comments and will inform her about staying hydrated and taking a swim. Any other recommendations that you guys have. I would greatly appreciate it.

  12. Diane says:

    I live in SoCal and have severe arthtitis. I always thought weather played a part. I felt I did better in cooler climates but I was always told to avoid them. Glad to see I’m not the only one. Will be moving . . .

  13. V Cohen says:

    I am finding the warmer weather difficulte at the moment. Cannot get rid of pain making walking and also just sitting uncomfortable. We really need a solution for this ailment.

    • E. Sosne says:

      My hands, arms, elbows have been horribly painful from OA since early July in N. VA near DC. Feeling often of systemic flare up even tho rheumatologist says not RA. No dr. I’ve seen has been able to account for the excruciating arm/hand pain. Then Wham! the weather changed; both humidity and temp. dropped to comfortable levels, and I spent the day weeding the garden. Had been unable to do this all summer because hands/arms/elbows hurt too much-until today. Wow!

  14. Bobbi says:

    Thank goodness, now I know why my hands are exquisitely painful in the summer. Already I’m miserable with pain this year and it’s only mid July

    • Linda Levy says:

      Have been suffering bad osteo arthritis pain in my neck for a couple of months now…. since the hot summer weather started. I live in Israel. I have given up eating tomatoes and peppers to see whether this will help. Have had flare ups before but I don’t seem to be able to get rid of this one.

  15. June Zetter says:

    Me too, the hot weather just brings me pain. It’s as if my bones are on fire inside out. Sometimes I can’t get one foot in front of the other . Give me the cool weather , at least I can walk again. Sometimes no pain at all , until a flair up.

  16. Debra Lecuivre says:

    I live in Rhode Island and the extreme heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter have been nothing but more and more pain. Anyone I have spoken to with many arthritic and chronic pain conditions like myself agree, no matter what others (including doctors) say, the weather can – and does – mess with pain levels! This year’s summer has been one long pain flare!

  17. Carol Jennings says:

    Thank you everyone for your sharing. I have never suffered so much from osteo arthritis. The weather here in NJ has been in the triple digits. I can barely walk in the morning , even after my typical stretching exercises. I will go to the pool tomorrow and rest. I hope you all get some relief.

  18. Andrea Parker says:

    I live in notheast spain between barcelona and alicante. I moved here from southwest france because i thought the warmer temps would help my joints. I am 67. But i think i made a mistake. Its not a paradise here. This is the first year i have had anything like this arthritis: i can barely close my hands to make a fist. Everyday is near 40° and 60% humidity. At night it hardly gets lower than 20°. Been like this for weeks. Not suppised to cool off til october. Thinking of moving to Scotland next year at least in the Summer.

  19. Linda Levy says:

    It’s strange that doctors and physiotherapists tell us the weather has nothing to do with arthritis pain levels and yet those of us living in hot and humid climates feel otherwise!!!

  20. Davy B says:

    Thanks for these interesting comments. I am 63 and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hip about 15 months ago. Lately here in Northern Ireland there has been an unusual spell of warm and humid weather. Up to then I’d been managing fairly well with a mixture of home glute strengthening exercises (which really helped when I was told about them), walks and more recently, cycling. But gradually over the past week the pain has intensified and even a 20-minute walk today gave me problems – and consumption of painkillers is up significantly. I’ve had flare-ups before, but nothing like this.

  21. Please any docs on here dont be insulted but sometimes I feel that the docs cant get a full grip on our disease i suffer with osteoarthritis and fibro. Sometimes i just want to give up but my faithful hubby pushes me on. Abd of course the love of my daughter and grandkids. The heat lately has been excruciating . How do we find ways round it. I drink plenty bht have to crawl to the loo more as for swimming i cant find the strength to get there let alone the excruciating pain it would cause moving limbs swimming. Someone please please help

  22. John N says:

    Live in central New York State where the weather has been very hot and muggy the last 2 weeks. I have experienced a swollen and painful left hip and tigh during this period. Seems to be associated with the weather and so I completely agree. Tough time walking and would appreciate suggestions on how to get some relief.

  23. Marty M says:

    I am so glad to find this board. I too am so much worse in the hot Texas summers than in winter. It is so discouraging when people say that that’s impossible, that arthritis is worse when it’s cold. Right now with temps reaching over a hundred every day, I am miserable. Trying to stay hydrated, do stretches and stationary bike, and, oddly enough, my heating pad.

  24. Susan Marshall says:

    From my observations there are two possibilities with joint pain. Some people find the cold and wet bad and a move to a dryer hotter climate helps. I think they seem to be in the majority. Then others seem to find the heat dreadful. I am in that category, but we are in the minority. Unfortunately, the stereotype is the former and doctors who recognise weather related joint pain (Not all of them do) assume that will be the case. I agree that Scotland in the summer is a respite. Been going there for years and years for the relief. A pity it can’t be more than two weeks off work.

  25. E. Sosnr says:

    Those of you on board: can heat/humidity cause OA flare ups, systemic in nature(as those of my aching hands/arms feel)? Does this pain cause extreme fatigue? Does it get worse as day goes on til heat/humidity fall at sundown? Had a month of fatigue in June 2017, a week of flared/ aching hands in Sept. 2018, two months of same this summer. All docs cd say is OA, not RA. Even local ER doc had never seen this.

  26. Rob says:

    I agree with all the above comments. Heat and humidity combined are the key factors for me. I can guide kids up and down Mt Snowdon on a cool day in April. On a warm humid day in August I need to lie on the sofa for ages after just about getting to the local shops. I am 65 and it has been like this for years. Am told I have OA not RA and doctors just don’t understand the ‘flare ups’. I have started a simple experiment comparing dewpoint to my perceived level of pain. ( I guess American friends will be more familiar with dewpoint than most Brits. It gives a proper count of how humid it really is. I’ll skip technical info. Suffice it to say that Alaska has the highest relative humidity in the states, but comes in at 50th on dewpoint.) I intend to keep a daily record for a year. A quick example. Here in Sheffield England the dewpoint yesterday and the day before was around 14c/57f and I spent the day hardly moving. Today it is down to 8c/48f and I am pain free. I want to do this both for self awareness and to alert my doctor to the extent of the problem. I may be an extreme case but it doesn’t sound like it. If anyone is interested in doing something similar I am happy to discuss.

  27. Pam says:

    Hey all, totally feeling your pain here. I feel it’s probably more the humidity rather than the temp, but either way, I took today & yesterday off work and have been napping all day. Looking into getting some CBD oil.

  28. Maureen says:

    I was in Amsterdam at the end of July where the temperatures were frequently in excess of 40C. During those 2 weeks I’ve turned from Superwoman to a painfilled, crumbling tearful wreck. My hands & thumbs in particular are the worst source of pain – & there’s very little anyone can do which doesn’t involve the use of your thumbs. It’s been a couple of months now & nothing so far I’ve tried or from the Dr has brought me any relief. The frustration (& fear) is ruining my days & keeping me awake at night. Best wishes to everyone here.

  29. e sosne says:

    I spent heat/humidity DC summer in agony. Myhands, wrists, 2nd finger joint, elbows deeply and excruciatingly ached for two months. Hope the weather’s broken for good now as my hands/arms feel better, and I have less fatigue, malaise and low grade fever.

  30. Linda Levy says:

    Yes. Less pain for me in my upper spine since the temperature here has gone down to the high 20’s from the 30’s, and humidity in the high 50’s instead of 60’s and 70’s. Looking forward to autumn!

  31. Jan says:

    I suffer RA and osteoarthritis flair ups in hot weather, summer is awful for me . In winter I flair up if temp are in twenty’s . Hot weather is the most painful for me, I can usually tolerate the cold flair ups. Most summers are spent doing very light house work and occasionally a grocery store trip. Any one have advice for a state that people who suffer these types of flair up move to?

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