Nearly three-quarters of Americans are overweight, and about half of those are obese, according to data from the CDC. That means millions of people — of all ages — are a risk for weight-related problems.
Chronic knee pain is one of the most common medical complaints related to being overweight, and extra pounds can cause other knee problems, too. In fact, one recent study found people who are overweight or obese were more likely to have knee dislocations, along with serious vascular problems that affect the extremities.
Of course, it sure seems a lot easier to gain weight than to lose it. And even a little bit of knee pain can take a big toll on your activity. As a top orthopedics practice in Golden, Colorado, Restore Osteo of Colorado is committed to helping patients relieve existing knee pain symptoms while preventing future symptoms from occurring. Here’s how we can help you enjoy better knee health.
Knee pain: Why weight matters
Your knee joint forms where your upper and lower leg bones meet. The ends of these bones are covered in a thick, slick layer of protective cartilage. This cartilage protects the ends of the bones from damage when you bend or straighten your knee. It also reduces friction inside the joint so you can use your knee without pain.
Knee cartilage is strong and durable, but after years of wear-and-tear, it can start to break down. If it breaks down too much, friction inside the joint increases and your knee pain begins.
Why does your weight matter? It’s simple: The more you weigh, the more pressure you place on your knee joints, and that means your cartilage experiences a lot more wear-and-tear.
Consider: When you walk on a level surface, you put about 1.5 times your weight on your knee joint. That means a 200-pound person puts about 300 pounds on their knees with every step. Increase the incline, and the pressure increases, too.
Reduce your weight, reduce your pain
Since excess weight puts more wear-and-tear on your cartilage, it makes sense that losing those extra pounds can decrease friction, relieving painful symptoms and helping to prevent pain in the future. Of course, it’s not always easy to lose weight. That’s why our team offers comprehensive medical weight-loss plans to help patients lose weight more effectively — and keep it off for the long term.
What if permanent joint damage has already occurred? If the damage is minimal, losing weight might still provide adequate relief of painful symptoms. But if the damage is more extensive, you could need additional treatment, even after losing those excess pounds. At Restore Osteo of Colorado, we offer non-surgical options for knee pain relief, and every treatment plan is customized for the individual’s symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
Many people benefit from physical therapy and exercises to improve joint strength and flexibility. Sometimes the muscles around the knee are weak, which means you might be putting a lot of uneven stress on the joint during weight-bearing activities. Physical therapy can strengthen weak muscles and help you redistribute weight across the joint’s surface.
Depending on the amount of joint damage and the symptoms you’re experiencing, we might recommend injections of a special lubricating fluid to reduce friction and relieve pain. Regenerative medicine and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are therapies that can help reduce pain and restore normal knee function without surgery. Often, injections are combined with physical therapy.
Get relief for your knee pain
Our team is skilled in helping people manage their knee pain with treatment plans individualized to their unique needs. If you have knee pain or other knee symptoms, starting treatment right away is the best way to prevent further joint damage. Take the next step toward healthier knees: Give us a call at 720-386-2843 or use our online form to schedule a consultation today.