Lose Weight and Keep Osteoarthritis In-Check
If you’re having the occasional twinge of joint pain when you go for a walk or climb stairs, or you’re worried about arthritis because a parent had it, one step toward prevention is to check your weight.
There are two ways, that being overweight raises your risk for developing osteoarthritis (the most common joint disorder, which is due to wear and tear on a joint). First, excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints (the knee, for example). Second, inflammatory factors associated with weight gain might contribute to trouble in other joints (for example, the hands).
Let’s look at the weight and your knees. When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight. That means a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of pressure on each of his knees with each step. Add an incline, and the pressure is even greater.
Now, look at this…
As a corollary to this, each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. And the results add up quickly. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees. This lowers the risk of OA.
For years, OA was considered just a wear and tear disease caused by prolonged excess pressure on the joints, particularly the knees, which, in turn, caused inflammation. But recent research suggests that inflammation is a key OA risk factor, rather than a consequence of OA. Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response too.
So shedding those extra pounds is the key. Losing even a small amount of weight can beneficial to protect your joints.