It is no surprise that obesity is the root of a plethora of health issues, spanning from depression, to arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, back pain etc. So obesity and pain do go hand in hand, even if the obese person appears healthy on the outside.
Obesity and Knee Joint Pain
Let’s be upfront with the following fact: carrying an excessive amount of weight puts a stress on your knee joints and can cause serious knee joint pain, not to mention damage your knees in the long run. Let’s use a very simple analogy: when you are used to packing your car’s trunk with excess weight, you realize that the ride is usually not a smooth one, especially when the road is bumpy. In addition it takes a toll of the car’s shock absorbers after a while.
So now let’s transpose that analogy to an obese individual, with the understanding that your knees are your shock absorbers. Knees are basically covered with cartilage, which serve to provide a cushion between your thigh and your lower legs (tibia). In addition, they provide a gliding surface that allows the bones to be flexible. Packing excess weight can damage those shock absorbers, leading to serious knee joint pain over time.
Research Links Knee Joint Pain to Obesity
According the CDC (Center for Disease Control), knee pain affects about 18% of US adults. Though knee pain can result from overuse during younger days as an athlete, most research has pointed to a link between obesity and knee joint pain.
Specifically, a study conducted by the University of Melbourne in Australia revealed that the correlation between knee joint pain and weigh gain was strongest in obese participants. In that study, obese people experienced a 59 point increase in pain (on a 500-point pain scale), compare to a 6 point increase in non-obese participants. Participants who lost weight during the study decrease their knee joint pain level by about 22 points on average.
Other Obesity Considerations
Since we are on the topic of obesity, let’s use the topic to mention the following: Carrying extra weight also causes the release of leptin in the body. Leptin is a hormone that (according to experts) plays a role in the development of osteoarthritis. In addition, body fat has the potential to release other substances that contribute to inflammation in your organism. Two of these substances are interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor alpha. These two substances play a crucial role in the cartilage damage observed in osteoarthritis. Also, as you may know, inflammation is the leading cause of cancer.
Bottom line, as easy as it may sound, if you are obese, you need to lose weight to prevent joint inflammation. That’s a surefire way to reduce your risk of knee joint pain, but also many other health issues that come with the package. Weight loss can relieve joint pain, but do not take our word for it, go experience it for yourself.