Bone Joints and Obesity

Obesity has many wide-reaching results on health, but one that is not talked about as much is the result weight has on your joints. While there is some debate regarding whether being obese or overweight is a direct reason for arthritis, it is generally agreed that excess weight can affect joint health.

It’s clear that too much weight can have an effect on your health. Simply look at the list of problems associated with obesity:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease
  • lung disease
  • sleep apnea

Excessive weight can also have a major influence on your bones, joints and muscles. Joints– knees, hips, ankles, shoulders and elbows– are formed when the ends of two or more bones come together and are held together by thick tissues. The knee joint, for example, is formed by the two lower leg bones connecting to the thigh bone.

Joints can carry a certain amount of weight and stress. Putting too much weight or stress on your joints can cause problems. If you are impacted by excess weight or obesity, it’s more difficult to treat these problems, and the results are not as excellent as in individuals of normal weight.

Did you understand that every pound of weight got puts an extra 4 pounds of pressure on each of your knee joints? So, if you gained simply 5 pounds, it would be like adding 20 pounds to each knee. Think of bring a 20-pound weight around all the time in each hand and you can picture how much your knees complain with each step!

And, believe it or not, many people take in between 5,000 and 10,000 steps each day! No surprise your knees, and other joints in your body, can wear out quicker as you get heavier!

Obesity and Your Joints

These extra pounds can result in lots of issues, including arthritis. As the smooth surface area called “cartilage” on the ends of bones becomes damaged or worn, you will start to feel pain and tightness in the joint. Sometimes the joint will swell.

Weight also puts pressure on the linking tissues around joints, such as tendons. Tendons link muscles to the bones. The extra pressure put on the joints by weight gain can cause the tendon to become irritated, leading to “tendonitis.” Tendonitis can cause swelling, redness and pain around the joint. Often the pain can be nearly disabling.

obesity and painful joints

Excessive weight and painful joints

Another joint problem is “bursitis.” A “bursa” is a fluid sack near the joint that helps to keep tissues from rubbing versus bones. When the bursa is inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling and soreness, just like tendonitis. Bursitis can develop after an injury or due to regular repeated motions (overuse), but it can likewise result from being impacted by excess weight.

Treating some joint problems might be easy. Losing weight, using ice to the sore joint, resting the joint, and taking aspirin or other over the counter medications can help reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation.

Joint Dislocation and Replacement Surgery in Case of Obesity

But if the pain and damage to the joint ended up being really bad, the only option might be to replace the painful joint. During joint replacement surgery, the bone is cut, formed and replaced by an artificial joint, called “prosthesis.” The prosthesis is normally made of metal (such as steel or titanium) and plastic. Joint replacement surgery is very effective in relieving the pain due to arthritis.

Numerous joints can be replaced. The most common types of joint replacement surgery include the knee or the hip, but ankle, shoulder, and elbow joints can likewise be replaced.

The vital thing to understand is that the possibilities of needing joint replacement surgery and of having the surgery at a younger age are much higher in people who are affected by excess weight or obesity.

In reality, if you are influenced by weight problems, you are 20-times more likely to require a knee replacement than someone who is not affected by excess weight. And you will most likely need this surgery 7 or eight years previously than somebody of normal weight.

Joint replacement surgery, like every other surgery, has dangers, which your surgeon will discuss with you. In addition, issues may take place afterward. These complications occur regularly in patients who are impacted by weight problems, regardless of the kind of surgery that occurs. Here are some of the most typical complications after joint replacement surgery:

  • Infection (bacteria causing pain, inflammation, and heat in the joint)– If the infection is severe, the doctor may have to get rid of the synthetic joint, wait until the infection heals then insert a second prosthesis.
  • Blood clots (an obstruction of blood that can take place in the blood vessels of your legs after surgery)– This is a possibly deadly condition if the blood clot breaks totally free and moves up to the heart or the lungs.
  • Dislocation of the replacement joint (especially in hip replacement)– This happens when the metal or ceramic hip ball slips out of the plastic socket.

Surgery in patients influenced by weight problems can have other issues. Excess fat makes it harder for the surgeon to find and reach the bone, so the surgery is more difficult. The surgery may take longer and the specialist may need to make a longer or bigger cut in the skin– resulting in a larger scar. After surgery, wound recovery and physical therapy to go back to previous levels of activity may take longer.

But there’s still excellent news! Regardless of these issues, patient who are affected by excess weight or obesity have outcomes– relief of pain and improving use of the joints– that are just as great as those in patients of normal weight.

Other problems to think about

Did you understand that people who weigh too much are most likely than normal-weight individuals to hurt themselves? And patients impacted by excess weight have more possibilities for issues, complications, while the
injury heals.

For instance, dislocations of the knee joint (when the thigh bone becomes apart from the lower leg bones) are more common in individuals who are influenced by excess weight. And even though you may believe that weight would make bones stronger, fractures (damaged bones) of the ankle, hip, thigh, and shin bones take place more regularly in individuals influenced by excess weight.

But even if you have not had an injury and do not have arthritis, having excessive weight can go together with pain in your bones and joints. This is specifically true in older people, even if they are healthy in every other method.



Updated: August 11, 2016 — 3:24 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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