Apart from aesthetics, carrying excess weight puts increased pressure on our spine and knee joints causing them to wear out faster. For every 5kg of weight gain, there is an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis by 36%. 1. Thought you might find it interesting to know what happens to your joints when you are carrying excess weight but before we dive in, it is important to note that even a healthy weight individual can develop osteoarthritis in their spine through poor posture, sitting too much, lifting objects whether big or small without bending their knees and it can also be genetic.
The progression of arthritis is faster in those who are overweight/obese. They're also more likely to have an altered walking pattern (gait) and muscle weakness, usually their quadriceps and lower back muscles which often leads to pain. 2. As the leg muscles are weak, there is an increase in the amount of shock one's joints need to absorb. Overtime, this causes damage to the cartilage inside the joints and it wears away, causing arthritis.
When someone is obese, they deposit fat in their muscles which increases inflammation in the body. Inflammation makes osteoarthritis worse. There is good news though, losing weight takes pressure off one's joints and reduces inflammation in the body, so it is possible to either prevent the onset of osteoarthritis or slow it down. 3.
And of course, I do need to mention that if someone has osteoarthritis, chiropractic can be beneficial in reducing the pain associated with it and keeping the joints more mobile. 4.
1. Obesity and osteoarthritis. Lementowski PW, Zelicof SB. American Journal of Orthopedics. 2008;37(3):148–151.
2. Nebel MB, Sims EL, Keefe FJ, et al. The relationship of self-reported pain and functional impairment to gait mechanics in overweight and obese persons with knee osteoarthritis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2009;90(11):1874–1879.
3. Obesity and weight loss in the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2012 May;4(5 Suppl):S59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.01.005
4. The effect of a manual therapy knee protocol on osteoarthritic knee pain: a randomised controlled trial. Pollard, H. et al J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2008 Dec; 52(4): 229–242