Can Your Bunions Predict Bad Weather?

People may think you’re crazy when you say you know bad weather is coming because your bunions are giving you more pain than usual. But, you’re not as crazy as they think. If you have bunions, you may have noticed that increased pain coincides with cooler or wetter weather—essentially, your bunions and any joints affected by arthritis hurt more when the pressure drops.

The research

Meteorologists at AccuWeather.com have a forecast known as the Arthritis Index which is based on the results of a study conducted by Tufts University in 2007 which found, “Every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. In addition, relatively low barometric pressure, low temperatures and precipitation can increase pain.”

Although researchers have not determined precisely why this happens, a study published in the journal, Pain, found that changes in barometric pressure affect joint pain. Barometric pressure equates to the weight of the air around us that normally pushes against the body to stop tissues expanding. When the pressure drops before it rains or when cooler temperatures are imminent, the pressure on the body is eased so the tissues expand increasing pressure on the joints.

How to resolve your bunion pain

So, there might well be some validity in your weather forecasts, but you are probably more concerned with what can be done to ease the pain. Moving to a warmer, drier climate may sound like a solution, but research indicates this is not the answer.

The first step should be to consult a podiatrist like Toronto-based, Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M., to assess the severity of your bunions which occur when the big toes deviate from the midline of the body. He may recommend medication to reduce inflammation, or prescription-made orthotics (insoles) to stabilize the joints. For correction of severe bunion deformities, he offers minimally invasive surgery.

Meanwhile, if the pain is acute, apply ice packs. However, the kind of pain brought on by changes in the weather is more likely to be chronic; for this, you should endeavor to keep your joints warm and mobile.

Resources:

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/weather/

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/weather_and_pain?page=4

http://www.everydayhealth.com/arthritis/arthritis-pain-relief-for-winter-weather.aspx

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/self-help-measures-can-greatly-relieve-bunion-pain