16:54 PM

Knee Trouble? Losing Weight May Help Slow Arthritis

HealthDay reports on study results published in Arthritis & Rheumatology finding weight loss was associated with a lower incidence and progression of knee osteoarthritis and includes commentary from HSS rheumatologist Linda A. Russell, MD, who was not involved in the study.

Dr. Russell said, “There's no doubt that when you have knee osteoarthritis and you lose weight, you'll have less pain. This suggests that losing weight also slows the progression of the joint damage.”

Dr. Russell explained that the findings are not surprising. In basic terms, excess weight places more pressure on the knees, especially the medial (or inner) side of the joint. In this study, Dr. Russell noted, weight changes were specifically related to the odds of joint space narrowing on the inner side of the knee.

“So this is confirming what we've suspected,” she added.

She continued, “If you have knee osteoarthritis and lose weight, you might be able to either avoid knee replacement surgery or delay it.”

However, it did take substantial weight loss to make a major difference. On average, the study found, people had to drop a whole body mass index (BMI) category — going from obese to overweight, for example — to reduce the odds of arthritis progression by 22%.

According to Dr. Russell, that is challenging. “The hard part is, patients with knee osteoarthritis often find it difficult to exercise because of pain.”

She underscored, “I do encourage patients to find activities they can do, and that they enjoy.”

Read the full article at Healthday.com. Additional coverage: Usnews.com.