Painful Knees? Losing Weight Can Help

August 6, 2019

How Losing Weight Can Relieve the Pressure on Your Knees

It’s a well-documented fact that weight loss offers a host of benefits to the body’s overall health. But what you may not know is how weight loss helps those experiencing knee and foot pain experience relief.

Studies have shown that for every pound of body weight lost, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee joint stress. To phrase it a little differently, every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees.

That’s why, if you’re experiencing knee pain—especially osteoarthritis of the knee— losing just a few pounds can help significantly relieve your symptoms.

Wake Forest University Study: Methods & Results

The main study which proved this is the case was undertaken by researchers at the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Wake Forest University. Researchers observed 142 overweight and obese older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee as they participated in an 18-month weight loss program.

By the end of the program, the participants lost an average of nearly 3% of their body weight.

But when researchers measured the load on the knee joints, they found that each pound of weight loss was associated with a 4-pound reduction in knee-joint load.

Accumulated over thousands of steps taken each day, researchers say the effects of this reduction of pressure on the knees should have a significant impact on the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. They say more studies are needed to confirm this assumption.

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

Not all people who experience knee pain have knee osteoarthritis, but many do. The disease progressively destroys the cartilage between the joint, resulting in pain, stiffness, and eventually, loss of movement. The knee cartilage acts like a shock absorber in a car, and when it’s gone, the bones have nothing to absorb the stress of each footstep step.

This study does not suggest that the disease can be stopped by weight loss. However, it can most likely be slowed, and the painful symptoms can be alleviated.

Need a Harrisburg podiatrist? Call Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic

If you are searching for a Harrisburg podiatrist, call Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic. Our foot and ankle specialists are proud to serve the Concord, NC and Harrisburg, NC areas, as well as Ballantyne and South Park. If you are experiencing knee pain, foot pain, or ankle pain, we can help! Call now to schedule an appointment.