Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder with the majority of cases occurring in the weight-bearing joints of the body (knees and hips). Since these joints are subjected to increasing loads everyday it is no wonder that being overweight increases the load placed on these joints, which then increases stress and could possibly hasten the breakdown of cartilage.
Here are some facts to put things into perspective:
- Overweight women have nearly 4 times the risk of knee OA; for overweight men the risk is 5 times greater.
- Being only 10 pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by 30-60 pounds with each step.
- Every kilo reduction in body weight was related to more than twice the reduction in peak knee force at a given walking speed.
- Participate in moderate physical activity, progressing to 30 minutes or more every day of the week (consistency is key). If you unable to tolerate weight-bearing exercises (walking,running), engage in non-weight bearing exercises (swimming, cycling).
- Cut back on both dietary fat and total calories. While reducing dietary fat can help reduce calories and is heart-healthy, this method alone – without reducing calories – will not produce weight loss.
- Make weight-maintenance a priority after the first 6 months of weight-loss therapy.
- Engage in specific strengthening exercises for the muscles around your knee. Increasing strength of muscles such as your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves act as a buffer and decreases the amount of force going to the knee joint.
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