Knee pain is one of the most common complaints for which people seek the help of a Physio. There are many different causes of knee pain and each one of them has different structures affected, for different reasons. Common causes of knee pain include: Osteoarthritis, Patella Tendonitis, irritation of the joint surface of the knee cap and cartilage or meniscal tears.
The knee joint is actually quite a simple joint, that works as a hinge moving primarily in one plane or direction. This is important because the knee joint is not designed to give lots of movement but rather to bear the weight of the body whilst we walk. As a result, compression of this joint is one of the main aggravating factors when an injury is present.
So logically, if we reduce the compression over the knee joint we can reduce pain and aggravation, therefore weight loss can help to assist with knee pain.
It’s also important to note that obesity and extra compression across the knee joint can actually increase the development of knee osteoarthritis by 4-5 times and is related to the worsening of the condition over time.
Force transmitted through the knee during walking is estimated to be 2-3 times per body weight. From this estimate, losing 5 kilograms would equate to a reduction in 10-15kg of force on the knee per step, which accumulated over thousands of steps per day is a significant difference.
Weight loss has been found to reduce pain and improve function in people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, which can delay or prevent the need for surgery.
This blog was written by Adrian Potter.