Osteoarthritis and Obesity

Ryan LaCorte Joseph Moscogiur, Publications

Many times patients come through the door at All-Care with complaints of pain and discomfort in their hips and knees and have prescriptions for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is defined as degeneration of joint cartilage and bone, which in turn leads to pain and stiffness. OA can be due to many causes, but one cause that is often over looked is a patient’s weight. Many of our joints in our body, such as our hips and knees, act as weight bearing structures, and are designed to withstand normal stressors placed on them such as walking. However, research has shown that the stress placed on these weight bearing joints is increased with every extra pound you may weigh. Let’s take the knee for example, it has been shown that for every extra pound someone weighs, the stress on their knees is increased by about 4 pounds. So if something is just 10 pounds over-weight that increases the stress on the knees by about 40 extra pounds. For someone that is 100 pounds over-weight, the stress is increased to about 400 pounds! All that increased pressure can lead to rapid break down of the joint, thus causing pain and stiffness and restricting you from doing the things you love.

How do you know if your over-weight?

An easy way to check whether you are over-weight is to calculate your BMI. Your BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and is a quick screening tool which is a measure of body fat, based on your weight in relation to your height. Typically a BMI that is < 18.5 is underweight, BMI ranging from 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy, while a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered over-weight, and a BMI of >30 is considered obese. You can refer to the chart provided to get an estimate of your current BMI.

How can we help you?

One of the best ways to lose weight is through diet and exercise. It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day, as well as cut back on dietary fats and total calories. However, it is difficult to exercise when pain and stiffness within your joints may restrict you. Physical therapist can use a number of manual therapy and soft tissue techniques in conjunction with modalities such as ice, heat, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound to help alleviate joint point. Once pain has subsided, a physical therapist can instruct you on appropriate and safe physical exercises which help combat the effects of OA.

Stop in today at one of our nearest All-Care facilities to see what our knowledgeable and well trained therapist can do for you, and experience the All-Care difference.

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