Age, injuries, and medical conditions are widely known to impact joint health. But, people less often consider how their body weight may be affecting their total joint health.
Bodyweight largely influences the amount of stress placed on your joints when you walk, run, climb stairs, and complete other day-to-day movements. With this in mind, maintaining a healthy weight is an important preventative measure for arthritis and other joint conditions.
How Does Weight Affect Arthritis Risk?
Being overweight increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is a degenerative joint condition. It occurs when the cartilage that protects the joints wears down over time which leads to symptoms including joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and instability.
Excess weight heightens your risk of developing osteoarthritis in two key ways:
- Being overweight puts added strain on the joints that support your body weight, including the knees, hips, and ankles. Gaining 10 pounds of weight forces the knees to support an additional 30 to 60 pounds.
- Being overweight is linked to inflammation that can influence joint problems in non-weight-bearing joints, such as the hands.
Weight and Joint Cartilage Damage
Cartilage is located on the ends of the bones in your joints. This durable, yet flexible tissue absorbs shock and keeps the bones from rubbing against one another, which could lead to bone spurs and other issues. Additionally, cartilage allows the joint components to bear your weight equally, rather than forcing one part to bear more weight than it can realistically support.
Given that cartilage supports your body weight, it’s particularly affected by weight gain. Being overweight or obese greatly speeds up the process of cartilage degeneration, increasing your risk of developing arthritis and other joint conditions.
Weight Loss to Improve Your Joint Health
At Hernando Orthopaedic, we’re committed to supporting your total joint health. We offer weight loss services with the hCG diet to help you reach a healthy weight and protect your joints against damage. Contact us today to learn more!