The cold weather can affect our bodies in various ways, but it can have a particular impact on our feet and legs, which we rely on for so much of our daily activity. But why? We spoke to one of Australia’s most experienced musculoskeletal podiatrists, Dr. Paul Dowie from Foot and Leg Pain Clinics, to get some insights on how the cold weather affects pain and injuries and what you can do to help.
“Winter doesn’t have to be synonymous with increased foot and leg pain. However, cold temperatures can impact your pain and injuries, particularly in the feet, ankles, and knees. Cold weather can constrict blood vessels, reduce blood flow and circulation, increase joint and tissue stiffness, aggravate pain, injuries, and arthritic conditions, affect mobility, and increase the risk of injuries. Wet and icy conditions also increase the risk of slips and falls,“ says Dr. Dowie.
To combat these issues, Dr. Dowie recommends the following:
* Staying active. Rug up and walk, go to the gym, an indoor heated pool, or use a home exercise bike. Exercise improves blood flow and circulation, assisting with aches, pains, and stiffness.
* Stretching or yoga. These can assist flexibility and mobility of joints and tissues.
* Be cautious outside when wet or icy. Wear shoes with good traction and support.
* Consider support products for existing injuries e.g. knee/ankle braces or strapping.
* If you’re spending more time at home, indoors, make sure you wear comfortable, supportive shoes. Socks and slippers can contribute to bad foot posture or slips and falls.
* Dress appropriately by wearing warm, layered clothing, thermal socks, and waterproof footwear to maintain body heat.
* If you have persistent or recurring foot or leg pain, seek professional advice from a lower limb musculoskeletal expert.
If you need assistance with foot and leg pain or injuries, you can see Dr. Dowie at his Berwick clinic or other locations across Melbourne. Call 1300 328 300.