We all know that unhealthy weight gain can negatively affect our health in many ways. But did you know that every pound of excess weight you carry puts approximately four additional pounds of pressure on your knees? That’s a lot of extra stress on your knees, even if you are only carrying around an extra few pounds.
We all fluctuate in our weight sometimes. But if it gets out of control, it can become an issue for your joints. For example, if someone is 100 pounds overweight, they would experience 400 pounds of added pressure on their knees. This can lead to a lot of pain! But don’t panic. This problem is totally manageable.
The Connection Between Excess Weight & Joint Pain
Weight gain is a sensitive subject and not something many people who struggle with weight issues want to talk about openly. However, it is an important topic because it has a direct impact on overall health. It’s commonly known that excess weight means increased inflammation in your body and increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and stroke. However, what’s the connection between weight gain and joint pain is not as commonly understood. While joint pain can occur for various reasons in any body, there is a definite connection between excess weight added stress on the joints.
Let’s take a look at specifically how weight gain can make joint pain worse, and what you can do about it.
Not only is the additional joint pain an issue, but people who are overweight are also at an increased risk of developing more chronic joint, bone and muscle aches, and even arthritis. For a person who is overweight and is already dealing with arthritis, any additional weight gain can then put an even greater strain on the already damaged joints.
Weight gain and gout are also very connected. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritic condition, and attacks come and go with the buildup of uric acid in the body. Studies have found that approximately 70% of people who suffer from gout are also overweight. The two go hand in hand, as excess weight is an overall risk factor for developing gout in the first place.
Hips and Back
Another big issue when it comes to weight gain and joint health has to do with your hip alignment. When you are overweight, you can throw off both your foot and hip alignment. This is because extra weight will put more stress on your feet. You may end up compensating with bad posture, which can lead to chronic foot problems such as fallen arches, swelling in the feet, or bunions which could throw off your body and leave you with improper body alignment. This puts you at a greater risk for experiencing back pain.
Additional weight around your belly can also cause lead to spinal issues. With excess weight, the spine must tilt. This puts a great deal of stress on the spine and can lead to poor back support, and even improper spine alignment.
What Can You Do About It?
While we know that weight gain can make joint pain worse, there’s always good news. Weight management can seem overwhelming, but don’t lose hope! Putting some weight loss efforts into place is key, of course, but sometimes it’s not as simple as just eating healthier and exercising. There can be many different facets involved when it comes to successfully losing weight.
Here are some things to keep in mind when starting your own weight loss plan to not only help reduce joint pain but to help lower whole-body inflammation and support overall health as well.
- Eat Clean: Focus on a whole and nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet. Consume as many whole and unprocessed foods as possible. Click here for a pdf of Dr Nancy’s Anti-inflammatory eguide. The more foods without a food label, the better!
- Exercise: Move your body daily, but don’t overdo it, especially if you are dealing with chronic joint pain. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, so you know you will be consistent with it. The goal here is consistency. Walking everyday for 20 minutes minimum is a great starting place!
- Reduce Stress: Stress is a silent killer, and it can certainly cause weight gain. Stress can lead to unhealthy food and lifestyle choices and can cause hormone imbalances that can lead to weight gain. Try to implement some form of stress reduction into your day to day life. Things like breathing, yoga, walking, and getting out and doing something you love at least once a week can be very helpful.
- Get More Sleep: Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, as well as trigger food cravings and throw your hormones out of whack. Strive to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Set Goals: A key part of successful weight loss involves making and setting goals for yourself. These will help to keep you on track when you are feeling discouraged, or just a bit overwhelmed. Set some short term and then long-term goals, and then outline steps you will take to achieve them. Look at your goals daily and adjust them and make new ones each time you reach one!
If you have been trying to lose weight and have been struggling to shed those last few stubborn pounds, don’t be discouraged! Try to move your body as much as your body allows, get into bed earlier, reduce stress, and consume more whole and unprocessed foods. With these tips, you may be able to continue to lose the weight you need to reduce the stress on your joints and experience less joint pain each day.
If you need more motivation, check this out! A study found that 10-15 pounds of sustained weight loss in younger obese adults, can lead to a lower risk of osteoarthritis. A healthy weight is a great way to safeguard your health against more than just joint pain and arthritis, it can help prevent countless chronic diseases as well. So, get out and set some goals and start working towards them today; your joints and health are counting on it.