Why is your weight important? Extra weight greatly increases joint pain and damages the cartilage of the joints, especially in the hips and knees. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and it is due to wear and tear on a joint.
There are two ways that being overweight raises your risk for developing osteoarthritis. First, excess weight puts additional stress
on weight-bearing joints (the knee, for example). Second, inflammatory factors associated with weight gain might contribute to trouble in other joints (for example, the hands). Losing weight can help.
The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance reports the following risks and benefits:
- Together, extra pounds and pain can limit physical activity. This leads to more weight gain and other health problems. This can cause permanent disability and loss of income.
- Joint pain sometimes disrupts sleep, which can make your health worse.
- People affected by excess weight are more likely to need prolonged medical therapy including medications.
- People affected by excess weight are more likely to need costly knee or hip surgery and a long period of recovery.
- Losing weight can help you reduce joint pain, avoid joint surgery and become more active again.
- Even small amounts of weight loss can help.
Managing your weight through a healthy diet and increased physical activity can help you reduce your joint pain. But don’t try to make too many changes at once. It can stop you in your tracks. Instead, pick just one thing you feel ready to focus on for the next few weeks. Choose a goal you believe you can achieve. Then work on it for 6 to 8 weeks to make it stick.