Does Weight Loss Affect Knee Pain

Does Weight Loss Affect Knee Pain?

Why does my knee hurt?

Knee pain is one of the most common complications of being overweight or obese. If you’re among the millions of people who experience chronic knee pain, even a small weight loss can help reduce pain and lower the risk of osteoarthritis (OA).

According to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), of the roughly 100 million American adults who experience common chronic pain, nearly 20 percent, or 20 million people, have knee pain. This is second only to the number of people with lower back pain.

More than two-thirds of people in the United StatesTrusted are either overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) or obese (with a BMI of 30 or higher).

Those extra pounds increase the stress on your knees. That stress can cause chronic pain and lead to other complications such as OA.

How weight loss affects knee pain

Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits, including reduced risk of a number of diseases that include:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • certain types of cancers

Losing weight benefits knee pain in two ways.

Decreases weight-bearing pressure on the knees

Each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. And the results add up quickly. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees. This lowers the risk of OA.

Reduces inflammation in the body

For years, OA was considered a wear and tear disease caused by prolonged excess pressure on the joints, particularly the knees, which, in turn, caused inflammation. But recent research suggests that inflammation is a key OA risk factor, rather than a consequence of OA.

Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response. One study suggests that just a 10 percent reduction in weight can significantly lower inflammation in the body. Another study found that even simply overeating triggers the body’s immune response, which increases inflammation.

The link between weight gain and OA

Being overweight or obese significantly increases a person’s risk for developing OA. According to John Hopkins Medicine, women who are overweight are four times more likely to develop OA than women who are a healthy weight. And men who are overweight are five times more likely to develop OA than men who are a healthy weight.

But losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial. For women who are overweight, every 11 pounds of weight loss can reduce the risk of knee OA by more than 50 percent. Men who drop into the overweight category (BMI below 30) and men who drop into the normal weight category (BMI below 26) can reduce their risk of knee OA by 21.5 percent.

Easy ways to lose weight

There are steps you can take to start shedding pounds, including:

  • reduce portion sizes
  • add one vegetable to your plate
  • go for a walk after a meal
  • take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator
  • pack your own lunch instead of eating out
  • use a pedometer

Taking the necessary steps to manage your weight can help protect your knees from joint pain and reduce your risk of OA.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain

How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain

By Dennis Thompson | Featured on US News

If you’re in your 50s and your typical day involves sitting at a desk followed by lounging on the sofa and succumbing to late-night snacks, the long-term toll on your mind might be greater than you think.

Like dominoes, an unhealthy lifestyle can trigger inflammation throughout your body, which can then accelerate wear-and-tear on your brain, a new study suggests.

The result? Faster declines in thinking and memory for folks who don’t practice healthy habits that counteract inflammation.

Long-term inflammation is most often caused by chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, said lead researcher Keenan Walker. He is a postdoctoral fellow of neurology with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“We found that people in their middle adulthood who had higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood tended to decline over the next 20 years at a quicker rate, especially on measures of memory,” Walker said.

Regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet and good sleep could be important factors in staving off age-related declines in brain function, the study authors concluded.

“If someone becomes really sick, they tend to have changes in behavior,” Walker explained. “Even with just a common cold, people have different behavior. They’re less likely to want to do anything, they lose motivation. They become less hungry. Sometimes they experience changes in mood. Those are all examples of systemic inflammation in the body affecting how the brain functions.”

Given that, it’s possible that long-term chronic inflammation could have longer-lasting effects on brain health.

To test that notion, the research team gathered data on more than 12,300 people participating in a long-term study of heart health problems. The participants, with an average age of 57, were followed for about two decades.

As part of the study, researchers took blood samples and measured four different markers of inflammation. They combined the four to come up with a composite inflammation score for each person.

Participants’ thinking and memory skills also were tested at the beginning and end of the study, according to the report.

The group of people with the highest inflammation scores had an 8 percent steeper decline in thinking and memory skills over the course of the study, compared with those who had the lowest inflammation, the findings showed.

Walker called the influence of chronic inflammation on thinking and memory skills “modest,” but added that it was more powerful than the effect found in previous studies of middle-aged high blood pressure on brain function later in life.

This could be happening either because chronic inflammation is directly harming neurons, or because it is exacerbating other brain conditions that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Walker said.

However, people shouldn’t start taking anti-inflammatory meds like aspirin or ibuprofen on the assumption that the drugs will protect their brain health, warned Walker and Mary Sano, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Sano said, “There have been many studies examining anti-inflammatory agents in cognitive [thinking] diseases over the years, and the results have been modest to unimpressive.”

Rather, it shows the potential lifelong importance of reducing inflammation in your body by staying on top of chronic health conditions and living a healthy lifestyle, Walker and Sano said.

“One of my common comments to people is to treat your treatable conditions,” Sano said. “If you reduce the inflammatory effects broadly, you may also reduce their effects on cognition.”

Neither Sano nor Walker felt that any age would be too late to start eating right, exercising and controlling chronic disease.

“I think earlier typically is better,” Walker said, “but I’m aware of studies that have shown improved diet and exercise can positively impact cognitive health even among older adults.”

The findings were published online Feb. 13 in the journal Neurology.

More information

Johns Hopkins has more about chronic inflammation.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.