Maintaining a healthy weight can help us live a longer, healthier life. Weight also affects our joint health. Weight significantly impacts our bones, muscles, and joints. The wear and tear from carrying excess weight on our joints eventually will lead to osteoarthritis and chronic joint pain. Studies show that over 60% of Americans are considered overweight1. Obesity has become one of the most common diseases to affect bone and joint health adversely.
Once the cartilage in joints is worn down, it cannot regrow. A weight increase of just five pounds is about 25 pounds in additional force on the joints and can cause chronic joint pain2. Carrying extra weight puts pressure on the connecting tissue around the joint and the tendons. These tendons connect the muscles to the bones. Extra weight increases the likelihood of those tendons being inflamed, leading to tendonitis and wear and tear of the joint.
Overweight individuals are 20 times more likely to need a knee or hip replacement than people who are not overweight3. Controlling one's weight can help prevent or delay a knee or hip replacement. Higher hospital costs and post-surgical complications are also attributed to overweight individuals. Losing weight before surgery can reduce your hospital expenses, speed your recovery, and improve patient outcomes post-surgery.
The good news is that losing weight can improve mobility and decrease the risk of injury and lessen joint pain in the knees and hips drastically. Reducing pressure on the joints and protecting them from future wear and tear can be obtained by losing a few extra pounds.
Weight loss is not a race but a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle that focuses on your wellbeing. A healthy weight can lessen the effects of joint pain. Keep a positive attitude and get on the right track by staying active, exercising and eating right.
If you are experiencing joint pain in the knee or hip that is affecting your ability to stay active, make an appointment with Dr. Ehmke today.
Dr. Andrew Ehmke is a board-certified and fellowship-trained joint replacement surgeon specializing in robotic-assisted and minimally invasive hip and knee replacement in Chicagoland.