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Are your joints begging you to lose weight?

Weight loss isn’t exactly an original New Year’s resolution. But this year, we’re giving you an added reason to make it a priority: joint relief.

According to Dr. Thomas Fyda, a sports medicine specialist at Great Basin Orthopaedics, “Each pound of body weight translates into at least four pounds of pressure at the knee joint.” He adds, “Losing weight can relieve stress on an arthritic or injured joint and thus help relieve symptoms.”

Knowing this, let’s take a closer look at how excess weight and joint pain are interconnected.

The Stats Tell The Story

  • Close to 20 percent of adults in the U.S. experience knee pain.
  • Knee pain is the second most commonly reported pain, with lower back pain being the first.
  • Obesity is the top preventable risk factor for osteoarthritis (OA).
  • More than 70 percent of American adults age 20 and older are overweight or obese.
  • A study revealed that a combination of diet and exercise was more effective in reducing knee pain and increasing knee function versus diet or exercise alone.

Knees And Other Joints

Authors of a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research concluded that 69 percent of knee replacements and 27 percent of hip replacements are at least in part due to excess weight or obesity.

Perhaps not surprisingly, knees and hips are not the only joints negatively affected by excess weight. The Arthritis Foundation says that wrists, fingers and hands are also more susceptible to osteoarthritis, and therefore pain, in people who are obese. Additionally, obesity has been proven to increase the incidence and progression of osteoarthritis in non weight-bearing joints.

More Obesity-Related Trouble: Inflammation

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating disease that causes painful joint inflammation. Studies have proven that increased obesity in the U.S. is tied to the rise in the incidence of RA in recent years. In fact, obesity is a moderate risk factor for developing RA.  

Now, The Good News

There is plenty of good news when it comes to arthritis. We now know that OA is not simply an unavoidable disorder that happens with age. A healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight, exercise and controlling blood sugar can reduce your risk of developing the disease.

More good news: a study proved that a 10 to 15 pound weight loss in an overweight young person can decrease the risk of OA later in life. Dr. Fyda says, “Weight loss also results in less repetitive stress on a joint and can help prevent or slow down the progression of arthritis.”

So in addition to health benefits like a lower risk of a heart attack, stroke and cancer, shedding extra weight can lower your risk of developing arthritis. If you are experiencing joint pain, contact our team, which has the expertise to assess, heal and get you back to the life you want.