Sore Knees? Lighten Up

A common condition among older adults, osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when cartilage in the knee wears away, forcing the bones to rub more closely against one another. This not only causes pain, swelling and stiffness, but it is also a common cause of disability. And while age is considered one of the main risk factors for osteoarthritis of the knee, obesity is a risk factor as well

In recent years, several studies have looked at how weight loss affects knee osteoarthritis. A 2011 study published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage found that patients who lost an average of 13.5% of their body weight significantly decreased the load on their knees. Indeed, every kilogram of reduction in body weight was related to more than twice the reduction in knee force while walking—making weight loss an excellent short-term investment for patients with obesity and knee osteoarthritis.

Two years later, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that weight loss also resulted in a decrease of inflammation. The study divided patients into three groups: One followed a low-calorie diet, the second followed an exercise regimen and the third followed both.

  • The diet group and the combination group lost significantly more weight than did the exercise group and recorded lower levels of inflammation.
  • The combination group increased its level of lean mass relative to total body weight by 3% and the diet group by 2%. This is significant because lean mass helps prevent falls and injuries.

If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, one of the best ways to improve your quality of life is to lose weight with a regimen of diet and exercise. Additionally, exercising the muscles around the knee can help make the joint more stable and decrease your pain.

We can help you meet these goals. If you think you may be suffering from knee osteoarthritis, call our office for an appointment. We will work with you to create an individualized program of exercise that may help you shed some pounds, if necessary, while decreasing discomfort associated with your condition.