Weight is an issue that plagues many people, and we all know that being overweight is not healthy, but one implication of your weight that you may not dwell on is how it affects your joints.
It’s simple physics, really: The more weight pushes down on something, the more force is exerted on that area. At Alpha Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, our experienced team wants you to have the healthiest joints possible.
Read on to find out exactly how your weight affects your joints, and how you can improve your joint health.
What is a joint?
Joints are the areas in your body where two bones meet, such as your knees or elbows. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of those bones wears away over time. This basically happens because of wear and tear on the joint, and when you are overweight, the excess weight puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints like your knee. This means osteoarthritis will come that much faster, and once your cartilage is gone, the damage cannot be reversed.
Here’s an idea of how much extra pressure a few extra pounds can put on your joints. If you are just walking across a level parking lot, for example, the force on your knees is equal to 1.5 times your body weight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you are exerting 300 pounds of pressure on your knees with every step you take.
If you squat down, you’re multiplying the force on your knees by 4-5 times. Keep this kind of pressure up year after year, and you can see why your joints would wear out.
The best solution
If you are overweight, the best thing you can do for your joint health is to lose weight. This can help keep your condition from getting worse. Weight loss is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. Start by changing your eating habits for two-three months before adding in an exercise routine to give your body a chance to adjust to the improved nutrition. If you are eating well, you should notice an improvement in your energy level. There are many different diets out there but eating ‘clean’ is usually the best way to go. Try avoiding anything processed, boxed, prepared or canned foods, sugar and anything labeled as diet. Some people are unaware they may be sensitive to certain foods, such as wheat, tomatoes and peppers, dairy, etc. Enlist help from your doctor or visit a nutritionist, and work together to determine the best diet that suits YOU. When you are ready to add in exercise, once again, check with your doctor first. You don’t have to lift all the weights in the world: Even just walking is a good place to start.
If you need to have a doctor evaluate your condition and help you deal with your joint pain, the team here at Alpha Orthopedics and Sports Medicine can guide you in the right direction. Just contact any of our locations in Sherman, McKinney, or Prosper, Texas, and we will set up an initial consultation.
You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel once you start putting your plan into motion!