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Why Extra Weight Creates an Unhealthy State for Your Joints

By Sara Butler

Your Weight and Joint Pain

Trying to achieve an ideal body weight can be painful. But it turns out that not reaching and maintaining a proper body weight can actually be painful. That’s because, according to a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, one extra pound of body weight adds four pounds of pressure to joints such as the knee. Losing that weight then removes that added pressure on the joints.

Arthritis is something that more than 70 percent of adults suffer from, making it one of the most prevalent conditions that impact joints. It is now understood that extra body weight is a risk factor for arthritis, too, making weight-induced joint problems a widespread issue.

Here’s how weight can impact your joints and what you can do to help reduce your risks.

Your Joints Under Pressure

Your body is an amazing piece of natural machinery and your joints are a big part of what makes it so amazing. The joints in the lower half of your body, such as your hips and knees, are made to withstand massive amounts of pressure. Eventually, carrying all that weight around can lead to joints that are stiff, achy, and swollen. If you have excess weight, then that process can happen even faster.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, often referred to simply as arthritis, is a condition in which the cartilage that is present in the joint and acts as a cushion, begins to degenerate. This leaves bones contacting other bones as the joints go through their natural range of motion, which can lead to irritation, swelling, and pain.

The more weight that is placed on a joint, the more wear and tear is placed on the cartilage within that joint. That’s why reducing the weight placed on a joint by reducing your body weight is necessary; it can help to reduce the effects of arthritis on joints, especially in the lower body.

How Weight Loss Can Help

Maintaining an appropriate body weight is crucial to caring for your joints, but it doesn’t have to mean a great amount of weight loss to make a difference. In fact, according to studies, simply losing 10 pounds can reduce osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints, such as the knee, by as much as 50 percent.

Other studies show that those people who carry around excess pounds also have a higher risk of developing arthritis and are as much as five times more likely to have arthritis in their knee joints.

That’s why the simplest thing you can do to fight off arthritis is to help reduce the load on your joints.

Changes to Your Lifestyle

If you’re experiencing joint pain (especially in your lower extremities) from arthritis, then there are things you can do to ease your symptoms. You can prevent further damage and reduce the pain you’re experiencing by changing a few things about your lifestyle -- namely, beginning an exercise program.

At The Joint Chiropractic, the chiropractors are big fans of exercise that doesn’t put undue stress or strain on the joints, especially if you’re already in pain. You have to find an exercise that is gentle and that you can enjoy doing. Just a few you may want to consider are:

  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Water walking/running

You may have noticed all these exercise suggestions have one thing in common: water. That’s because while you’re in water, weight is taken off your joints and pain can be reduced as you move. Yet water still works to provide the resistance you need to help activate your muscles as you exercise.

If you struggle with mobility, then you may want to consider talking to the chiropractor about proper footwear and have your gait examined so that suggestions can be made to help relieve pain when you move.

If you’re experiencing joint pain, then make sure to discuss it with the chiropractors at The Joint. They can evaluate your joints to find out what is really causing your joint pain and then help you take steps to address it.

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