Why Minimal Weight Gain Can Lead To A Need For Knee Replacement Surgery

Experts have known that extra weight poses several health risks when it comes to the joints in your hips and knees. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that the surfaces of your joints can experience a force that is seven times greater than your body weight when performing activities like walking or climbing. As a result, being overweight increases the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (the most common reason for knee pain), and it can also increase the risk of inflammation in other joints, reports theĀ Harvard Medical School.

New research, which will be presented at the International Congress on Obesity in Melbourne, Australia, reveals that even a small increase in weight raises the odds of developing knee osteoarthritis and the eventual need for knee replacement surgery. Researchers found serious harmful effects on knee joints after reviewing 20 studies. The studies included more than 250,000 people and found that being just 11 pounds overweight increased the odds of needing knee replacement surgery by 35% for women and 25% for men (via HealthDay News).

Excess weight may cause osteoarthritis to develop and progress faster

Dr. Anita Wluka of the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said that osteoarthritis was not only more likely to develop with weight gain, but it was also likely to progress more quickly. Dr. Wluka said the findings were "concerning" because knee replacement surgery is expensive. On top of that, one out of every five patients is not happy with the results of their surgery and still experiences pain after the procedure, HealthDay News reports.

That said, the good news is that losing weight can make a difference. Dr. Wluka said that managing weight in middle age is beneficial. For people with knee osteoarthritis, weight loss can reduce pain and perhaps slow any loss of function. If you're overweight and concerned about your knees, losing as little as 10 pounds can lighten the load on your knees by 40 pounds, which can ease pain and lower inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation.