Monday, June 27

Are grandparents right when they say that joint pain is caused by moisture?

  • Arancha R. Gortázar and Irene Tirado Cabrera
  • The Conversation*

Senior person touching his knee with his hands in a gesture of pain

Image source, Getty Images


Changes in weather conditions can induce dilations and contractions in the tissues that make up or surround the joints.

“Take the umbrella if you don’t want to get wet, it’s killing my knee.” We have always listened to our elders – and perhaps now ourselves – relate bone or joint pain to weather changes.

Popular belief goes back a long way. Already in the Hippocratic treatises and in traditional Chinese medicine there are references to rheumatic ailments that are made worse by cold or wind.

But are these kinds of predictions founded? Can moisture really hurt bones or joints?

Osteoarthritis, a cartilage disease

Lets start by the beginning. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joints. It occurs due to the wear of the cartilage that covers the subchondral bone, located at the bone ends. When the disease progresses, the bone is left without the shock absorbing effect of the cartilage, friction with the other bone causes pain, and the joint becomes deformed.

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