Lose 5 pounds, your knees will feel as if you lost 25 pounds.
The forces supporting your knees are complex but the math is simple. About 4-6 times your body weight is transmitted through your knee joint when you simply walk. Think about that fact for a second. If you weigh 200 pounds, your knee experiences 1000 pounds of force while strolling down the street.
Importantly, being overweight is a "clear risk factor" for knee osteoarthritis. For women, being overweight increases this risk 4 times higher. For men, the risk increases 5 fold in patients who are overweight. Dropping as little as 10 pounds may be enough to significantly lower this risk.
There are no simple solutions to weight loss. One suggestion I give my patients is to try the "One Less, One More" plan. Try it for a week. One less beer, one less glass of wine, one less bagel, one less serving of ice cream. One more time taking the stairs, one more trip to the gym, one more walk around the block.
For more information about knee osteoarthritis and being overweight with references for the data outlined about, click here.
Allan Mishra, MD
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