People who have broken a bone at some point in their life will often say that they feel pain or discomfort in the area when it's about to rain or change weather. You may have thought to yourself, "Clairvoyant injuries? Nice try."
However, some people do have barometric joints. The pressure in the atmosphere tends to change when there is a shift in temperature or humidity. This can make sensory nerves in the joints react to the weather, according to researchers at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University.
"When pressure in the environment changes, we know that the amount of fluid in the joint or the pressure inside the joint fluctuates with it," said researcher Javad Parvizi, M.D., Ph.D. "Individuals with arthritic joints feel these changes much more because they have less cartilage to provide cushioning."
This means that people with bunions – who often have degraded cartilage in the joint of their big toe – may be able to feel a storm a' coming just by a twinge in their bony deformity.
Parvizi said that treating joints with ice, topical pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or nutritional supplements that promote joint health, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, may help alleviate weather-related discomfort. Moreover, correction of the affected joint is recommended.
"Our goal is to get that painful little weatherman out of the patient’s joints while treating the root cause of their condition," Parvizi said.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends conservative treatment of bunions before resorting to risky, expensive bunion surgery. This means giving the aforementioned pain-reducing treatments a try in conjunction with bunion splints or orthotics, which may help correct bony deformities.
You may also feel the impact of frigid temperatures on your bunions in the form of chilblains. These little buggers form on the skin if you decide to heat up chilled hands or feet in water or air that is too hot, according to the Mayo Clinic. They appear more often in women – because we have all the luck – and during the colder months. Moreover, chilblains are likely to pop up if your shoes are rubbing on your feet, a common issue for the bunioned.
So, there you have it, folks. The weather can do weird things to bunions, making bunion splints or orthotics a great Christmas gift idea for those suffering from the condition.