A. Continue Taking Pain Medication (Anti-Inflammatories) and Live with the Pain
Being overweight increases pressure on your knee joints. In fact, being only 10 lbs. overweight increases the force on the knees by 30-60 lbs. Taking medication will address the symptoms, but not the underlying cause of knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Let's learn more about Pressure on Knee Joints
Worsen any muscle and joint pain that you already have. The added pressure on your knees (10 lbs. of excess weight can put 30-60 lbs. of pressure on them) causes pain and increases your risk of worsening osteoarthritis.
Lead to higher cholesterol. Any added weight in your body affects your cholesterol levels. Carrying just 10 extra lbs. can make your cholesterol higher and might lead to heart disease and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Cause you to not be able to sleep. Being just 10 lbs. overweight can narrow your windpipe, making it more difficult for you to breathe. This can increase your risk for developing sleep apnea.
Lower your energy levels. Just 10 lbs. of excess weight can make you feel tired both physically and mentally.
Did you know?
Being only 10 lbs. overweight increases the force on the knee by 30-60 lbs. with each step.
Divide your normal portions in half and save them for later. You may feel fuller than you think, and this is an easy way to lose weight without changing the foods you eat.
Get rid of packaged foods and sweetened drinks in your diet. Eat mostly fresh foods and eliminate bags, boxes, cans, or cartons of food. You'll be shocked at how well this works.
Diet only two days per week. If you slash your calories just two days a week and eat normally the other days, you will actually lose weight.
Make walking a regular part of each day. A study of knee osteoarthritis (OA) and exercise found the following:
- Walking can result in better movement, and the more you walk, the farther you'll be able to walk
- People with knee OA who are active in an exercise program feel less pain and they move better
Avoid sugar. Check labels and you'll find sugar in unexpected places like…
- frozen entrees
Cutting down on sugar will make your meals healthier overall.
What are sugar-sweetened beverages?
Sugar-sweetened beverages are any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose.
Examples of SSBs include, but are not limited to, regular soda (not sugar-free), fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, and coffee and tea beverages with added sugars.Source: CDC
Joints are built to withstand stress, especially the weight bearing joints, like the knee and hip. If we are very heavy, however, more stress is placed on the joints, which can speed up joint aging. Joint age is defined by deterioration of the cartilage at the end of the bones (that same "gristle" you see at the joints of chicken bones). It is expected that wear and tear will occur with aging, but if a person is 40 lbs. overweight, more than 200 lbs. of extra pressure can impact the knee cartilage with stair climbing and walking. So, when you consider all the steps we take in a day, you can understand why it can lead to premature (early) damage and/or rapid progression of cartilage loss in the weight-bearing joints.
You may be limited by where you can walk, or you may not feel like socializing with others during your leisure time. Learning to look at this as a new adventure for yourself can be helpful. It's not just about moving more and decreasing pressure on your knee joints, it's about making a healthier choice for yourself.
People who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing arthritis, which is defined as loss of the cartilage cushion on the end of the bone (cartilage is the "gristle" you see at the joints of chicken bones). The cartilage acts like a firm, flexible sponge that picks up water and releases it as pressure is applied on the joint. As the cartilage wears, its ability to retain water is diminished, the cartilage thins, and the cushioning effect decreases.
Increased stressors, such as more pressure from your weight, repeated small or large injuries, and your genetics can speed up this cycle of deterioration until the cartilage is completely gone. The joint is then known to be "bone on bone."
You know people living with arthritis, code name "Arturo." Arthritis impeded their daily activity, so that they decrease their mobility and day by day are robbed of more of their well-being and vitality.
A good step for you to take toward your goal of decreasing pressure on your knee joints is to identify how you eat and what you could do to change your daily routine to counter your weight gain. What have you added to your diet that was not part of your culture in your country of origin? Too much fast food? Have you thought about how much soda and sugary drinks you consume in a day? Has your activity level changed? Do you find that you drive or take public transportation to get to places rather than walking? Small changes can make a big difference.