Here's How Your Weight Affects Your Joints

An aging body inevitably shows signs of wear-and-tear, but there are ways to reduce the abuse and prepare your body for the long haul. 

One of the best strategies for longevity is to keep your weight down. Your joints, in particular, tend to take the brunt of obesity as they are tasked with holding up whatever weight you pack on. Over time, they succumb to the pressure and begin to break down.

When the cartilage in your knees begins to deteriorate from wear-and-tear, it’s called osteoarthritis, and it affects about 27 million people in the United States. In Los Angeles and Encino, Dr. Arash Dini, board-certified orthopedic surgeon, helps patients manage their osteoarthritis pain and symptoms. 

Although several factors contribute to this joint disease, such as age, genetics, and injury, Dr. Dini advises all of his patients to maintain a healthy weight to help prevent or reduce joint pain. Here’s why.

Being overweight puts pressure on your joints

Under the best circumstances, meaning an ideal weight, your joints still undergo a lot of use and are susceptible to breaking down and losing functionality. But the more weight you ask them to carry each day, the faster that process occurs. 

It’s simple multiplication: Each extra pound of weight adds four times the pressure on your joints.

That means if you’re 50 pounds overweight, you’re putting an extra 200 pounds of pressure on your joints with every step.

The good news is that the math can also help you: For every 10 pounds you lose, you’re relieving 40 pounds of pressure on your joints. And the less you stress your joints, the lower your risk for osteoarthritis.

Being overweight causes inflammation

Obesity is not only a math problem, it’s a chemistry problem as well. That’s because your fat releases chemicals (cytokines) that cause inflammation throughout your body. And inflammation is the root of all evil when it comes to your health. Inflammation in your joints leads to arthritis and pain. 

You don’t even have to be technically overweight to suffer the ill effects of a bad diet. Overeating can actually trigger your immune system to respond in a defensive way that increases inflammation

The good news is that losing even 10% of your body can lower your risk of arthritis by drastically reducing the inflammation in your body. 

Treating your joint pain

Clearly, losing weight is at the top of the list of ways to relieve your joint pain. On bad days, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help make you more comfortable.

But if your arthritic joints have progressed beyond what these measures can address, Dr. Dini offers safe and effective regenerative medical techniques that may improve your symptoms. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

In the PRP procedure, Dr. Dini draws a small sample of blood from your arm, uses a centrifuge to isolate the platelets, and injects the solution into your painful joints. The platelets from your own body release growth factors that kick-start the healing process and tamp down the inflammation.

Stem cell therapy

Another type of regenerative medicine Dr. Dini performs is stem cell therapy. He extracts stem cells from your iliac crest (hipbone), processes it through an instrument that cleans it and concentrates the stem cells, then he injects it into your joint. 

The stem cells are like blank slates that can transform into whatever type of cell your body needs to heal. It’s an especially effective treatment for soft tissue damage, such as in your joints.

If you have joint pain, whether related to obesity or not, Dr. Dini can help identify the root cause and put you on the right treatment plan to help you manage or eliminate your pain. Call us or request an appointment online.

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