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Weight Loss May Be Your Best Treatment for Knee Arthritis

Obesity is a significant risk factor for knee osteoarthritis and ultimately knee replacement surgery. Here's why:

The knees are “weight-bearing joints” and they absorb pressure whenever you walk. Excess weight puts added stress on joints, particularly the knees, causing pain and worsening the effects of arthritis.

Experts estimate that for every one pound you weigh, your knees feel the force of three pounds of pressure when you take a step. “Losing just10 pounds will result in 30 pounds less pressure per knee, per step,” says Dr. Vourazeris, orthopedic surgeon at Ortho El Paso. "Losing weight is often the most effective way to avoid knee problems," he says.

Shedding the weight—even just a few pounds is the best way to lessen pain in the knees. And, it is easier than you may think. Just add more steps to your daily routines: park further away from the office or store or walk your block a 2-3 times a week. You can also reduce your diet about 125-150 calories a day. Calories add up quickly (and down when you cut them out of your diet). Again, these small measures will help to lose the added weight that is causing much of your knee pain.

If you have noticed that walking or climbing stairs is causing little twinges of pain, check the scale. Have you gained a little weight? If so, that is what may be causing your knee problems. Losing a few pounds can go a long way toward reducing the pressure on your knees — and protecting them.