Thursday, 7 April 2016

A Knee to Know Basis

"I'm not going to lie, this is probably going to make me sound crazy, but I can tell when it's going to rain from the intensity of my knee pain." - the Orange Canadian... on many occasions.

I have uttered the above far more times than I can keep track of. I have arthritis in both of my knees and wrists. In fact, my journey to becoming a runner started shortly after my diagnosis. And, I know, that probably sounds crazier than my admission that I can predict when it will rain, but in all honesty, running helped me get through a lot of the pain I was feeling. This isn't so much the case anymore, as it has becoming very difficult for me to run, and in the cases when I do, I have to use a knee support. Anyway, I'm digressing now...

For years, I have noticed the gradual presence of knee pain when humidity increases, and the threat of rain is imminent. So, for times when it's all rain, all the time, this can be pretty unpleasant and difficult to manage. Sometimes, it's not just my knees that predict the coming downpour, either. As I've become older, I notice it in my toes - likely just an extension of the pain I'm already feeling. It's not debilitating, at least, but it is annoying!

The other night, however, I awoke at about 1am to excruciating pain down my legs and across my arms. It was almost illuminating. And then, within about 5 minutes a huge crack of thunder scared the bajeezus out of me! Then, miraculously all the pain stopped, and I fell asleep to the peaceful sound of the rain pinging off my bedroom window.

But, all this got me thinking, can one actually predict the weather via arthritic joint pain? Naturally, this lead me to a free consultation with my good friend, Dr. Google.

After posing the question "can arthritic joints predict when it will rain?" Dr. Google suggested I consult his colleague, WebMD. So of course, just like Toucan Sam, I followed my nose in search of the answer. And, it turns out there is actually some truth to this claim! In fact, in an impressive 0.68 seconds, my friend, Dr. Google managed to find "about 451 000" others willing to testify to this. Don't believe me? Check out this photographic evidence:

In all seriousness, though, many people believe it has to do with the humidity, but it turns out this isn't exactly the case. In fact, it's actually the change in barometric pressure that creates the sensation of weather predictability in one's joints. This change in pressure causes the tissues that surround the joints to expand, which, apparently is quite painful. I wanted to back this up, by providing an infographic that would explain how this all works, but instead, this popped up, and well, that was the end of that...

Image source: The Internet
So there you have it! While I may not have a super power, I do have barometric fluctuation sensitivity, also known as BFS*.

-the Orange Canadian

*Not actually a thing... or is it?!


  1. And here I was thinking I'd get a mention! :(

  2. That's interesting that you can tell the weather by what you're feeling in your body. We used to hear our grandfather say that he could tell when a storm was brewing in his hips and his knees. I wondered if that was because of the hardware he had placed but maybe it is just from the actual joints!