How Excess Weight Affects Your Joints

Joint pain can affect every area of your life. Joint pain can keep you from having the lifestyle you want. About one out of four adults suffer from some form of joint pain in the United States. One of the recommendations that are often made when it comes to getting joint pain under control is to lose some weight. Learn the four ways excess weight can cause joint pain.

Height and Weight Measurements

If you look at a weight chart, the first thing you will notice is in the first column there are heights. The heights start at the lower end of the spectrum of “normal” adult height and work their way up inch by inch to the higher end of the “normal” adult height. Next to the height column, you will notice a weight range column. For example, if you are five foot four, the weight range may be between 125-150 pounds. Have you ever wondered why height and weight are listed together?

Your height depends on your skeleton. The length of your bones and a few other factors determine how tall you are. The perfect weight for your height is based on the “load” your skeleton is designed to carry. When you go over that load you put additional stress on joints and bones. In other words, when you are overweight your joints react to let you know you are putting too much stress on the joint.

There Are Two Reasons Being Overweight is Bad for Joints

The more weight your joints must carry, the more risk there is for an injury like cartilage tears. Being overweight puts added stress on joints and can weaken the cartilage between joints and cause the cartilage to stretch beyond its elasticity, resulting in a tear. Weight-bearing joints are the joints that keep you upright. Knees, ankles, and hips are the primary weight-bearing joints. Cartilage is the rubbery tissue that covers these joints and absorbs the shock of movement.

For every ten pounds of extra weight, your knees will have to absorb up to 60 pounds of added pressure with each step that you take. The second problem that your joints face when you are overweight is the inflammation that comes with being overweight. About 30.7% of adults in America are overweight, and many of them suffer from pain in their weight-bearing joints because of the added inflammation.

What Can You Do?

You can control your weight by making lifestyle changes. A slow and steady pace of lifestyle changes can help you to get your weight under control and relieve joint pain. Before you get started on your lifestyle changes to lose weight, be sure to check with your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may affect your weight, like hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), which can mean a hormonal imbalance that can affect weight gain.

Once you get the all-clear from your doctor it is time to make those lifestyle changes. Put together a plan that includes diet and exercise. Making small lifestyle changes one at a time will make it easier to ensure those lifestyle changes stick. For example, start by walking just 30 minutes a day. A stroll around your neighborhood at your own pace is not only good for weight loss but it is a great way to, distress.

Diet adjustments will help you lose weight and improve your overall health. There are many chronic conditions that are linked to being overweight. For example, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more are all linked to being overweight. You can take the stress off your joints and your other systems by making healthier lifestyle choices.

It Can Be Hard At First

Making lifestyle changes can be hard at first but it is far harder to live with constant joint pain. Living without joint pain will change how you live your life. It will help you to create the lifestyle that you always dreamed of having. Talk with your doctor about what lifestyle changes you should make to reduce joint pain and get on the path to living pain-free.