Aching joints have four main causes – injury, wear and tear, inflammatory conditions and infections. Many people with joint problems find their pain and discomfort gets worse in cold weather. Being less active when it’s cold, spending more time in doors, and cold temperatures in general can affect a person’s perception of pain. Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Dr Ranj said the key to dealing with all joint pain is to stay as active as possible during the winter months, as well as seeking appropriate treatment.
Studies have also found chondroitin can reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.
But the effectiveness of these supplements is widely debated.
Instead, Dr Ranj offered the following advice: “At home, rest really helps if you’ve injured yourself, obviously ice and elevation are good because they reduce swelling and discomfort.
“You can take painkillers that either you take by mouth or you apply to the joint itself. Obviously they can help, but especially anti-inflammatory painkillers.
“Staying active is really important, so moderate levels of activity are good, stretching before you do activity is really important, keep your weight within healthy limits.”
For some people, physiotherapy will be recommended to relieve their joint pain.
Dr Ranj explained: “Now physiotherapy’s a tricky one because you actually have to be able to manage your pain to do it as well.
“The good thing about physio is it’s about rehabilitating your joint, making them a bit more mobile, and it’s also about strengthening the muscles and tissues around it so you’re less likely to injure it, supports your joint, and it teaches you how to stop it from happening again. So actually physio’s really, really important.
“From physio you may need stronger painkillers, you may need steroid therapy, you may even need an operation, but remember when it comes to joint replacement, we try not to do it.”
The NHS says the knee joint is probably the most frequently damaged joint and is particularly vulnerable as it takes the full weight of your body.
But knee pain can often be treated at home and should start to feel better in a few days.
The health body advises to put as little weight as possible on the knee, for example, avoid standing for a long time.