An Adult woman stands peacefully looking at the summer sunset

3 Reasons Why My Arthritis Flares in the Summer

Last updated: June 2022

This year, I feel like a kid nearing summer vacation. I'm anxious for the sun, warm weather, and summer activities; they aren't coming fast enough for me.

Breaking down some summer triggers...

I much prefer the summer to the winter. New England winters are bitter, to put it lightly, and rough for anyone dealing with arthritis. Being cold makes me hold myself stiffly which means I'm less likely to stretch. This makes my joints lock up and it's very painful.

The barometric changes due to snowstorms and freezing rain can also significantly impact my pain. But even though summer has fewer triggers, I still have a few surprising ones...

Mosquito bites

This one is unique to people who attract mosquitoes or get nasty welts from them. Lucky me, I'm in both of those categories. I once got 60 bites on each leg, while my friend didn't get a single bite. My legs were swollen the next day, though only one bite got infected.

If I get a lot of bites all at once (even less than 60), I find my joints won't be happy. I imagine it's the extra inflammation in the area. Regardless of why it happens, it's not a fun time recovering.

I always try to resist scratching, use an antihistamine, and slather on some Aloe. But there's no great way to avoid this one unless you avoid the outdoors completely (and even then- a mosquito always seems to find its way into the house).

Summer rain and humidity.

I love summer storms, they can be so peaceful and refreshing. Some of my favorite summertime memories are getting trapped in a gazebo or porch during a downpour. The smell and sound of the rain are priceless. But gosh, my joints ache horribly as the storm rolls in.

The humidity afterward doesn't help much either. Humidity, which causes also causes a change in barometric pressure, can cause joint pain in people with arthritis. While I love the heat, only dry heat helps my pain levels.

Improper footwear

In the fall, winter, and even the spring. I love tall riding boots, flat combat boots, and even booties with a bit of heel. They're flattering yet almost as comfortable as sneakers. But unfortunately, they're hard to pull off in the summer.

Heat, humidity, and other factors exasperate the swelling I already have in my feet, so I find it hard to wear most shoes in the summer. I usually end up with blisters and cuts after a day of wearing flats, tight sandals, and other summer shoes.

Lots of arthritis warriors swear by Crocs, and I don't doubt them. I prefer wearing an athletic sneaker (even though it's a little hot) or sturdy sandals made of soft materials like suede (my preferred brand is Earth Spirit).

Not having enough support will make my feet swell more. And I don't make the mistake of taking off my shoes in the middle of the day if I know I need to get them back on - once they're out, they'll swell up and won't get back in my shoe!

Still, summer is my favorite season.

Even with all these painful things to deal with, I love the summer. I love the days of dry heat. Swimming, biking, and going on long walks are my favorite summer activities and are excellent for my joints. I often feel my best during the summer, and knowing my painful triggers helps me enjoy this season.

Sure, there's not always much I can do to prevent my triggers, but at least I can prepare myself. So bring on the bug spray, the compression garments, and clunky sandals - I'm ready for summer!

How does your arthritis tolerate the summer? Do you have any tips or tricks for coping with summer triggers?

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