Take a Load Off

Losing weight shown to significantly help knee osteoarthritis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Osteoarthritis knee pain commonly afflicts retired professional athletes but also those who are obese. A simple solution to the problem may exist, however, according to a new study: lose weight.

Obese patients with early-onset osteoarthritis of the knee who lost weight from bariatric surgery (an average of 57 pounds in six months) greatly improved their knee pain, stiffness and function -- without arthritic treatment, according to the study.

The study followed 24 adult patients aged 30 to 67 who were diagnosed as obese (body mass index of 30 or greater) with clinical and radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis. Follow-ups were administered at six months and 12 months post bariatric surgery (a surgery in which weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with an implanted medical device or through removal of a portion of the stomach).

Obesity is a leading factor for osteoarthritis, which iis a leading cause of disability in the United States, costing patients about $185 million yearly.

Obesity has definitively been linked to other health complications including stroke, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which burden America with billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs. Obesity also negatively impacts America's ability to compete in the global market by costing billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 22, 2011
Last Updated:
February 22, 2011