Being able to maintain a healthy weight brings with it a lot of benefits, such as a decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and more. And, since knee pain is one of the most common side-effects of carrying extra pounds around, losing even a modest amount of weight can significantly decrease the amount of stress that is placed on your knees.
How is that possible?
Well, a huge portion of it has to do with the fact that your knees bear the brunt of your body weight. The amount of additional pressure that carrying around extra weight places on our knees is pretty darn significant. Those extra pounds also increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis – in fact, women who are overweight are four times more likely (and men, five times more likely) to develop osteoarthritis than their healthier counterparts.
However, if you’re experiencing chronic knee pain that is due to weighing more than you should, don’t despair – there are things you can do to ease the burden on your knees and reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis. So, what are these “things”?
Well, the best thing you can do is shed some of those extra pounds because every pound of weight lost correlates to a four pound reduction of load to the knee joint. That means that by losing just 10 pounds you can reduce the pounds per step that your knees have to support by 40 pounds – over the course of a mile, that 10 pound weight loss translates into each of your knees being subjected to 48,000 fewer pounds of pressure. So, even though 10 pounds may not sound like a lot, it’s pretty clear that the benefits begin to add up quite quickly – after all, the more you decrease the wear and tear that your knees are enduring, the lower your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the future. On top of all of that, by working to lower your weight by 5% to 10%, you can also lower your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease.
If you’re struggling with knee pain – regardless of the cause – please don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule an appointment. Dr. Hurlbut – along with our awesome staff of physical therapists – work with our patients to develop plans of care to help address your particular areas of concern.
sources: healthline.com; mayoclinic.org