There is a logical link between excess weight and joint degeneration. The more you weigh, the more stress on your joints and the higher the chances of developing joint pain and degenerative joint disease.
According to a recent research study, each pound of excess weight on your body generates approximately 4 pounds of excess pressure on each knee when walking. For a person 25 pounds overweight that translates to 100 pounds of excess pressure on the knee!
Other than the excess force exerted on the joints, fatty tissue produces inflammatory chemicals that can cause degeneration within the joint. If you suffer from arthritis, adding a few pounds can accelerate the damage caused by the disease and quickly wear down the joint.
In addition to damaging the joint, being obese may also limit your options for treating joint disease. A totally worn out joint that is causing pain and restricting your activities may have to be replaced. However, for patients with a body mass index above 35, the risks of complications from joint replacement surgery are higher than a person with a normal BMI. Surgeons may recommend obese patients lose weight prior to the procedure to reduce risk of complications as well as improve function and durability of the replaced joint.
The good news is losing weight will slow down disease progression and reduce severity of joint pain. Try low-impact exercises such as walking, water aerobics, a recumbent bike, or any activity that does not aggravate or cause joint pain; eat more of fruits and vegetables, and stay away from processed foods and sugary beverages. These easily actionable and effective tips will preserve the health of your joints.
It is important to note that cartilage injuries tend to heal slowly as cartilage has limited blood supply and returning to an active lifestyle without adequate treatment may lead to worsening of the joint condition. If you do experience joint pain and stiffness that is preventing you from doing the things you enjoy, visit your doctor or an orthopedic physician for a consultation.