Can Your Arthritic Hip Predict the Weather?
For many years my arthritis patients have sworn that they can tell when a cold front is about to come through. In fact, this is one reason many of my older patients move southward, as their joints just feel better. So is this effect real? I’ve seen a few poorly done studies through the years try to confirm that arthritis patients can predict the weather. Now a new larger and well done study that suggests that an arthritic hip is like a mini-barometer. The authors investigated more than 200 patients with hip arthritis and measured barometric pressure, rain/shine, and relative humidity three times a month over two years. They used sophisticated statistical analysis to show that changes in barometric pressure and humidity did alter the patient’s hip pain and function. The amazing part was that these weather related functional declines were responsible for less than 1% of the total hip disability. So somehow these patients are detecting tiny changes in their hip when the fronts come through. The upshot? Hip arthritis patients may now consider a career in meteorology. This study does support that there is a correlation between how these patients feel and the weather, albeit a small one!