Obesity or being overweight has a direct impact on your knees as they practically bear the weight of your body. In fact, knee pain is one of the most common complications of carrying excess weight – more common than back pain. It puts an extra pressure on the joints and the cartilage that may have a damaging effect. However, a new study, published online in the journal Radiology, shows that losing some weight can help in saving your knees, relieving the pain and even reducing the risk of osteoarthritis.
For the study, researchers looked at the effects of weight in different sets of groups and analyzed the degeneration of all knee joint structures such as menisci, articular cartilage and bone marrow. They examined 640 overweight and obese patients and investigated the association between weight loss and the progression of cartilage changes on MRI over 48 months. A lot of critical data was collected from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a nationwide research study focused on the prevention and treatment of knee osteoarthritis in the United States.
All the participants were categorized into three groups – those who lost more than 10 per cent of their body weight, those who lost five to 10 per cent of their body weight, and a control group whose weight remained stable. The results were quite surprising. People who lose 5 per cent or more of their body weight over the stipulated period of time showed less cartilage degeneration than those whose weight remained stable.
Interestingly, the study also showed some changes in the Menisci which are crescent-shaped fibrocartilage pads that protect the joint. People who are overweight may not walk normally which can put an extra load on the joints. They study also points out that they may have higher levels of protein in their blood which can cause inflammation and pain and so, shedding some pounds may be a good way to save your knees from trouble.