Experiencing an occasional twinge of joint pain when you go for a walk or climb a set of stairs is very common – but it’s not normal.
So, if you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from some type of chronic joint pain, especially in your knees or back, know that you are not alone and that there is probably a very reasonable explanation for it. The first thing you’ll want to check is your weight because being overweight or obese is a common cause of joint problems.
If you are overweight, you are especially susceptible to arthritis – and arthritis is the No. 1 culprit of joint pain. There are two ways that being overweight raises your risk for developing joint disease. First, excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints, mainly the knees, back, and feet. Secondly, weight gain causes inflammation and swelling of the joints, causing immobility and pain.
It makes sense that extra pounds put additional pressure on your bones, ligaments, and other parts of the musculoskeletal system. For example, the stress on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight, meaning a 200-pound man puts 300 pounds of pressure on his knee joints with every step he takes.
Therefore, if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher (which is considered obese), losing weight can reduce the pressure on your joints. Evidence-based research has proven that losing 5, 10, or 15 pounds can dramatically lower one’s risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life.
Increasing physical activity has many health benefits and can help you shed weight, although exercise alone is rarely enough to help you lose weight. That’s why you may want to speak to a nutritionist for help with eating right and motivating yourself to stick to the program. There are tons of support groups and resources out there, too. It takes time, but with every pound you shed, your body will become healthier and thank you for it.
Projecting your joints is important. We rely on them to work in tandem with other parts of our musculoskeletal system to keep us mobile, agile, and active. Losing weight is just one part of a journey to a healthier lifestyle.
To learn more about how weight gain can affect your joints, and how we can help you achieve your goals of living a healthier lifestyle, call OrthoUnited at (844) 469-2663 or use our online appointment request form.