Optimal Health Medical Blog

The Blog of Dr. Henry Sobo

Weight Loss Can Slow Knee Joint Degeneration

Weight Loss Can Slow Knee Joint  Degeneration
Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis. Being overweight places extra pressure on joints and cartilage, causing them to degenerate over time.

              According to a new study published online in the journal Radiology, overweight  people who lost a substantial amount of weight over a 48-month period showed significantly lower degeneration of their knee cartilage.

“This study’s lead author, Alexandra Gersing, M.D., of  the Department of Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco, explained, “We looked at the degeneration of all knee joint structures, such as menisci, articular cartilage and bone marrow.”

The research team investigated the possible influence of  weight loss on the progression of cartilage changes in the knee, that could be assessed by MRI studies. Data collected  from this study showed that over a 4 year study period, the 640 overweight patients who were a part of their study, were able to  reduce the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee with weight reduction. They were also able to show that greater weight reduction helped more than more modest weight loss. Patients were categorized into three groups: those who lost more than 10 percent of their body weight, those who lost five to 10 percent of their body weight, and a control group whose weight remained stable.

The results showed that patients with 5 percent weight loss had lower rates of cartilage degeneration, and also that in those with over 10 percent weight loss, cartilage degeneration was even slower.

“Dr. Gershing found that , “The most exciting finding of our research was that not only did we see slower degeneration in the articular cartilage, we saw that the menisci degenerated a lot slower in overweight and obese individuals who lost more than 5 percent of their body weight, and that the effects were strongest in overweight individuals and in individuals with substantial weight loss.”  It is the loss of cartilage and the damage to the meniscus of the knee and the bony damage to the joint that leads to the necessity of orthopedic interventions including not only steroid injections but knee replacement surgery. An exciting new field of Regenerative Medicine is growing in which natural ways to heel the joints include PRP and Stem Cell Therapy.

For more information on these treatments offered by Dr. Sobo see these links.