Tips for effective treatment against osteoarthritis in the knees
Did you know that, according to the Arthritis Foundation in the United States, does every pound of excessive weight exert four pounds of extra pressure on the knees?
This means that if a person is 10 pounds – or 4.54 kilos – overweight, he has 40 pounds or 18 kilos of extra pressure on these joints!
It is known that obesity and overweight are related to early wear of the cartilage of the joints, which is known as osteoarthritis, which indicates the traumatology and orthopedist Víctor Lopez Valerio.
So, having less cartilage causes an increase in friction, which generates data of pain and inflammation, “says the specialist.
Maybe this wear will not cause fractures, but the discomfort and irritation it causes can limit the movement of people, including the basic activity of walking.
This relationship between excessive weight and early cartilage wear is supported by statistics, of which the most accessible and illustrative are the Americans, says Lopez Valerio.
According to the Reduction of Invasive Interventions in Severely Obese with Osteoarthritis After Bariatric Surgery study, published this year by the US National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, for example, 56 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis, 30 percent of which they live with obesity. With each kilo above the ideal weight, the investigation adds, the risk of presenting the condition increases to 13 percent.
But what is the root of the connection between extra pounds and deterioration of the cartilage of the joints? Doctors offer several theories.
There are several explanations about why one of the consequences of obesity is the development of osteoarthritis, says the traumatology.
That is, the same extra pounds increase inflammation within the joints, which generates the well-known symptoms of pain, irritation, and inflammation.”
The cartilage cannot be regenerated, the specialist continues. However, there are procedures, such as infiltrations, that form a kind of scar on the damaged cartilage. This one will not have the same properties as the native ones, but the patients will notice the improvement.
Also, López Valerio mentions, there is the option of a cartilage transplant. However, he adds, this could be in vain if the patient does not lose weight, which can be a challenge.
The best solution
The most effective treatment against osteoarthritis that is linked to obesity is a comprehensive weight loss plan, says traumatologist and orthopedist Víctor López Valerio.
At the time of losing weight, the patient can do some controlled physical activity. My recommendation is exercise that does not involve joint stress, such as swimming, bicycle, elliptical or rowing. Losing weight reduces stress to the joints, avoiding early wear on the cartilage, “explains the expert.
If this is an option, bariatric surgery also helps to treat the problem of osteoarthritis. He adds, one study showed that patients with osteoarthritis in the knees who have undergone surgical procedures to lose weight reported a statistically significant improvement in pain and in performing daily activities. This, in turn, decreases the possibility of a traumatologist entering the operating room.
The research cited by the doctor is entitled Improvement in Knee Osteoarthritis Pain and Function Following Bariatric Surgery: 5-Year Follow-Up and was also published this year on the website.
“It is a joint effort: by bringing procedures and weight loss plans together, traumatologists can prescribe medications and perform procedures that will help the patient feel less pain in the joints and have better movement functions. If all these factors are combined, the success rates are higher, ”says the doctor.