A brand new study finds that shedding those extra pounds can take a load off of the knees. Excess weight puts a strain on the knees that can result in osteoarthritis and possibly the need for joint replacement. However, the research shows people who lost five percent or more of their weight over a four-year span saw less joint degeneration than those whose weight stayed the same.
Researchers analyzed data of over 600 participants who had mild osteoarthritis or were at risk for developing it. MRI’s were used to evaluate joint degeneration over the life of the study. The research is part of the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a nationwide U.S. study on the prevention and treatment of knee arthritis. More than half of U.S. adults age 75 and older have osteoarthritis — the wear-and-tear form of the joint disease in which cartilage thins and wears away. Study authors are encouraged that weight loss can aid in slowing the progression of osteoarthritis and its symptoms such as pain and disability.
Source: Gersing A, Schwaiger B, Nevitt M, et al. Is weight loss associated with less progression of changes in knee articular cartilage among obese and overweight patients as assessed with MR imaging over 48 months? Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Radiology, May 2, 2017; Published Ahead of Print: 10.1148/radiol.2017161005.