Many patients have noticed that the weather, and more particularly bad weather (cold and wet weather), can have a significant influence on their joint pain.

Indeed, most patients with osteoarthritis or a history of fractures have the unpleasant sensation that their pain is reawakened by the change in weather.

A Dutch study has shown that nearly 40% of the participants have noticed an increase of their joint pain or sensitivity in cold and wet weather.


This “weather-sensitivity” mechanism could be explained physiologically by the presence in the body of a multitude of baroreceptors that react to changes in atmospheric pressure.

When the weather becomes cold and wet, there is a drop in the external atmospheric pressure. The intra-articular pressure then becomes higher and the baroreceptors trigger the pain mechanism.

Some patients have also noted that flying can have an impact on joint pain. Indeed, the pressure in an aeroplane cabin is much lower than on the ground, so the same pressure differential mechanism is found in the baroreceptors of the affected joint.


Numerous studies have been carried out on the subject but have not revealed any link between variations in atmospheric pressure and joint pain.

Indeed, the pressure differences associated with weather events are very small compared to those that occur with a change in altitude.

The researchers showed that a decrease of 1 to 2 hPa per hour on a fixed barometer is characteristic of the occurrence of a thunderstorm, but that this variation can also be obtained by rising less than 20 metres from the ground.


In conclusion, if pressure variations were the cause of joint pain (or in any case, a factor), they would also occur when taking the stairs, the lift or even in a vehicle in the mountains.

According to some experts, the sensations of pain are explained by the fact that when the weather starts to change (cold, humidity, rain, storms, etc.), patients tend to go out less and therefore remain in the same position for longer periods of time and are therefore more inclined to feel some joint pains.