Knee pain makes movement – from heavy exercise to simply walking up stairs – a chore. And once the joint starts to wear down from chronic wear and tear, you expect pain even as you are sitting still, driving, or laying in bed. There’s no doubt that being overweight or obese increases your risk for many health problems, including diabetes and heart disease, but you might not realize that even a few extra pounds can directly affect your knee pain. Here’s what you need to know about your weight and knee pain.
The Weight Your Knees Support
Your knees work very hard to keep you upright, and even harder to support you when you move. Sure, hiking a few miles or carrying a heavy backpack can be burdensome to painful joints. But even a short walk across your living room can add extra pressure to your knees; one and one-half times your body weight to be specific. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, walking actually increases the pressure on your knees to about 270 pounds. That’s quite a lot to bear.
Going uphill increases the pressure even more. And bending over to pick something up can increase the pressure to five times your body weight. Imagine trying to lift that amount of weight!
Lessening The Load
Now that you understand how much stress your knees endure, it makes sense that lessening the load can help your knees function better, resulting in less knee pain. Do the math: each pound of weight you lose can translate into a fourfold benefit. That means for every one pound of weight shed, you relieve your knees a full four pounds of pressure. Over time, even this small difference can spare your knees from stress and lower your risk for joint problems.
Inflammation and Excess Weight
Excess weight can alter your immune system, which can in turn leave you vulnerable for increased inflammation levels in your body. Increasingly, scientists are looking at inflammation as a cause behind many chronic diseases, including osteoarthritis. Studies show that lowering weight can lower levels of inflammation in your body. In fact, young adults who lose excess weight lower their risk for chronic knee pain caused by osteoarthritis as they get older.
In the case of knee pain, a little common sense can go a long way: simply put, your knees are under daily strain every time you stand up. And, walking, going uphill, carrying heavy loads, or bending over increases that strain. Losing weight directly reduces stress and pressure on your knees and joints, as well as reduces inflammation that might lead to cause chronic joint disease. So, if you are complaining of knee pain, you may consider losing a few pounds. Consult with your healthcare professional about how losing excess weight and keeping it off can protect your joints and reduce pain.
Selecting a team of venerated professionals that you can rely on plays an important role in your staying healthy and pain free. The board-certified surgeons and licensed physical therapists at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland offer personalized treatment plans that cater to your unique requirements. Our on-site state-of-the-art physical therapy facilities and compassionate, patient-focused care will provide you much-needed peace of mind. For more information, or to schedule an appointment call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland today at 410-644-1880.