Knees Can Be Saved

Do you experience knee pain? If so, you’re far from alone. Knee pain is so common that it’s responsible for 1/3 of all muscle and bone pain doctor visits in the US, according to WebMD. Our knees are our biggest joint, and the one that is the most likely to be injured. Pain in our knees can be caused by anything from arthritis (there are over 100 different kinds) to bursitis or from damaged cartilage to gout.

For people who are overweight, knee pain can be even worse. One study from researchers in the Netherlands showed that people with a BMI of 27 or higher, were three times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis, compared to normal-weight people. They took a series of X-rays six years apart to determine this. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that is seen significantly more often in people who are overweight or obese. This condition causes inflammation leading to pain and joint deformities. Knee pain is particularly troubling because it lowers a person’s ability to exercise, which is a factor in preventing weight loss.

Scientists know that weight and knee pain are linked, but can losing weight prevent damage, or is the damage already done? A recent study followed 500 overweight or obese Americans, and found that those who lost a substantial amount of weight were able to spare their knee cartilage. According to study author Dr. Gersing from The University of California, San Francisco, differences were not seen when someone lost below 10 percent of their body weight, but when they lost a larger amount of weight, the benefits were significant. “Cartilage degenerated a lot slower in the group that lost more than 10 percent of their body weight, especially in the weight-bearing regions of the knee.” She added that weigh loss interventions are most effective when they happen as early as possible.

Although many people who are overweight or obese will try to lose weight with lifestyle changes alone, bariatric procedures like those Dr. Provost offers are the most effective way of losing more than 10 percent of a person’s body weight. If you have knee pain and would like to talk about options, please call us at 254-724-2397.

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