How Does Weight Affect Knee Pain?

If you experience pain in the knee, especially with physical activity, you may be developing osteoarthritis. Your doctor may encourage you to try to lose some weight in an attempt to reduce your symptoms. You may wonder how that would help. What is the connection between your weight and pain in your knee due to osteoarthritis?

How Weight Affects Knee Pain

Osteoarthritis pain arises from inflammation of the tissues of the joints. Recent research suggests that inflammation throughout the body, including the joints, may increase when a person is overweight or obese. It is not entirely clear why this is, although there may be a connection with metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of several different health issues, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, that are connected to one another. It is believed that osteoarthritis may be another component of metabolic syndrome. Whatever the case, a study showed a significant drop in inflammation markers in the bodies of people who lost weight over a range of three months to two years at an average of approximately two pounds per month.

Regardless of whether inflammation is a consequence of osteoarthritis or a risk factor for it, it is a fact that excess weight puts extra pressure on your knees, which could contribute to arthritis pain due to the extra stress. When calculated, the stress on your knees is greater than your actual weight, which is good news when you start to lose weight because it means losing only a little bit of weight can take a lot of pressure off your knee joints.

What to Do to Lose Weight

Despite the potential benefits to your joint health, losing weight is not easy when you have knee pain. You want to avoid any activities that make the pain and damage to your knee joint worse, such as running or jogging. The challenge is finding low-impact exercises that will not put excess pressure on your joints. Swimming is a good option because the water buoys you up. Other good low-impact exercise options include stationary bicycling, yoga, and walking, which can offer similar benefits to walking or jogging without impacting your knees as heavily. It is the frequency of exercise that matters more than the duration. Schedule brief exercise sessions once or twice per day, using pain as your guide.

Exercise alone is typically not enough to lose weight, however. It often involves making changes to your diet to eat fewer fats and sugars. One of our chiropractors can advise you on lifestyle changes to help you lose weight. Contact a chiropractor, like from AmeriWell Clinics, to schedule an initial evaluation.