December 10, 2015

Weight Matters with Joint Health

General Health

Snow show walkingThe holidays are here for all to enjoy. The warm festivities are full of laughter, family, love … and sometimes weight gain due to heavy foods, lack of exercise, and cold weather. The holiday season often isn’t the best time to lose weight, but it can be a time to prevent weight gain from happening.

Keeping weight off through the season has many benefits as you know. However, what if I told you that not only does maintaining a healthy weight help your overall health and well-being, but it can also help prevent joint pain and decrease the likelihood of further joint complications, such as osteoarthritis?

“It’s too cold to work out.”

“It doesn’t fit into my hectic schedule.”

“I will once it gets warmer out.”

Do these excuses sound familiar? With many reasons to remain inactive over winter, our joints can be the first to feel the pressure and, consequentially, cause us more issues than we imagined. Being an active person takes responsibility and dedication, but let’s keep things simple. An easy solution to combat joint pain is to keep moving.

Moving, such as simple walking or more vigorous exercise, is an excellent way to maintain joint health. Our joints function to support us as we move. We must maintain joints in order to facilitate a healthy lifestyle, just like a car needs an oil change to maintain peak performance . Understanding the direct correlation between weight and knee pressure is essential.

In a recent post from Harvard Health Publications, there is a direct correlation between excess weight and stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the knee.

“When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight. That means a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of pressure on his knees with each step. Add an incline and the force is greater. The force on each knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped.

Losing a few pounds can go a long way toward reducing the pressure on your knees — and protecting them. In one study, the risk of developing osteoarthritis dropped 50% with each 11-pound weight loss among younger obese women. For men who get their body mass index (BMI) down from 30 or higher to between 25 and 29.9, knee Osteoarthritis would decrease an estimated 20%. A similar change in women of the same age could cut the incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee by about 30%.” (Harvard Health Publications, 2015)

Now let’s bring this information back home … Staying active all year round is essential for your joints and health. Time and money do, however, play a huge part of this commitment. If you need help taking a step in the right direction, we at Fort HealthCare can help you! Our team of specialized physical therapists can provide you with an evaluation as well as educational tips and exercises that are specific to your concerns. What’s even better is that our great team approach allows for collaboration between physicians, like myself, and the physical therapist.


In a recent study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,” … Core physical therapy interventions, including aerobic, aquatic, strengthening, and proprioception exercise, improved patient outcomes.” It has been shown that physical therapy can help alleviate knee pain due to arthritis, as well as help other joint concerns.

Finally, as an orthopaedic surgeon at Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates, I provide expert musculoskeletal care including: comprehensive prevention, therapy, surgical treatment and rehabilitation services.  I’m proud to say at Fort HealthCare we are dedicated to using advanced treatment techniques in the most efficient way, with the ultimate goal of restoring patients to their highest possible levels of wellness and health.

If you’re a person in need of orthopaedic care, give Orthopaedic Associates a call to assist you and your joint care needs.

And for helpful tips and tricks for trying to lose weight visit Fort HealthCare’s Weight Management Program page.