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Weight Loss And Knee Pain

Weight Loss And Knee Pain
Weight Loss And Knee Pain

Carrying Extra Body Fat Can Increase Risk Of Knee Pain

When you are carrying extra body weight a number of reasons may be involved as per why you are more at risk of experiencing knee pain:

  • There is increased pressure on your knee cartilage.
  • Carrying extra body fat may also lead to the releases of a hormone called leptin. Some think the hormone leptin can play a role in the development of osteoarthritis.
  • Body fat can also release substances that promote inflammation in your body which can have a significant role in the cartilage damage seen in osteoarthritis.
  • Another hypothesis is that obese people have circulatory problems reducing the blood supply to the cartilage in the knee impacting the ability for the tissue to repair and regenerate new cells in the knee.

How Weight Loss Can Reduce Knee Pain Risk

Subsequently even small amounts of weight loss can reduce an individuals risk of developing knee problems and knee pain. Some studies have indicated that weight loss substantially reduces reports of knee pain. There is research that suggests for every 5kg weight loss the risk of knee problems drops by 50% (conversely, the opposite happens with every 5kg of weight gain) therefore weight loss potentially offers an important solution in the treatment and management of knee pain.

Can Short Term Weight Gain Such As During Pregnancy Cause Knee Pain?

If you take in to account that the average weight gain during pregnancy is around 12.5kg and then make up an average time taken to lose said “baby-weight” post birth of approximately 6 months. Now combine this with a women having 2-3 children in their lifetime then yes I guess this could potentially make for a few years where an adult women will be increasing the load on her knee cartilage and subsequently increase their risk of developing knee pain.

If you combine this weight gain with the associated stretching/de-conditioning of core muscles that occurs during pregnancy and any temporary increased laxity that also occurs with-in the joints as a result of hormones released during pregnancy. It would come as no surprise that many women may suffer knee pain either during pregnancy or when returning to activity after having a baby. Especially at risk of developing knee pain may be women continuing to run throughout pregnancy or returning to running or other similar high impact loading activities immediately post labour.
In light of the above it could be suggested if you have a history of knee pain or simply wanted to reduce any risk of developing knee pain, then when returning to exercise following pregnancy it may be wise to take care to:

  • Work on restoring your core strength before returning to any high impact type exercise.
  • Have lost the majority of your baby weight before carrying out any significant amounts of high impact exercise like running and jumping.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate footwear for your chosen activity and foot type to help support and cushion impact appropriately.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance regarding Weight Loss And Knee Pain should consult his or her general practitioner or physiotherapist or suitably skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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