Joint Pain and the Weight Loss Connection


As we get older, all of us experience joint pain from time to time. Every additional pound we weight can add multiple pounds of weight to the pressure on our knees. For a person who is struggling with extra weight, this is an especially frustrating cycle because the extra weight makes exercise or moving more painful. Since being overweight or obese is known to aggravate joint pain, this is something we pay careful attention to as obesity experts.

According to a recent post on the Harvard website, the weight we carry has an even greater affect on our knees than many would guess. They did the math and said that, “When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1.5 times your body weight. That means a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of pressure on his knees with each step. Add an incline and the force is greater. The force on each knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped.”

In response to joint pain, many people seek joint replacement surgery. This surgery is quite popular with about a million people have hip or knee replacements each year. This is of interest to bariatric surgeons for several reasons, and recently additional research made this connection even stronger. According to a presentation given at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conference, two studies indicate that bariatric surgery before a joint replacement operation may substantially improve outcomes for patients. Although this is new research in the area of joint replacement specifically, we have seen previous research on the association between weight loss and reduced orthopedic problems.

Earlier research showed that women who are obese or overweight can use weight loss to reduce the risk of developing Osteoarthritis in their knees. That risk reduction is substantial: the Framingham study showed that for every 2 BMI points lost, the women cut their risk of knee osteoarthritis by 50%. Because of the significant benefit of weight loss on orthopedic pain and treatment, it makes sense to look at all your options for weight loss if joint pain is troubling you.

Dr. Moore is happy to discuss how a variety of weight loss options may help with health conditions affecting your life, like joint pain. If you are considering joint replacement, weight loss before that operation has been shown to have positive affects on the outcomes.

Ready to change your life? Contact us.