How Weight Loss Might Help Your Knees

Weight loss may slow down degeneration of knee cartilage

(RxWiki News) Losing weight might slow down the degeneration of cartilage in your knees, according to a new study.

Overweight or obese patients who lost 5 percent or more of their total body weight saw slower degeneration of articular cartilage in the knee, this study found.

Because obesity can cause added pressure on the joints and cartilage and is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, this finding could mean patients have a relatively simple way to prevent damage to their knees, said the authors of this study.

Over a four-year period, these researchers looked at 640 patients who were overweight or obese and who had risk factors for osteoarthritis or had evidence of mild to moderate osteoarthritis seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Patients who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight saw slowed knee cartilage degeneration. These patients also showed slowed degeneration of the menisci. The menisci are C-shaped pieces of cartilage in the knee joint that act as a cushion between the ends of the bones in the knee joint.

Patients who lost 10 percent of their total body weight saw even slower cartilage degeneration, these researchers found.

"Our study emphasizes the importance of individualized therapy strategies and lifestyle interventions in order to prevent structural knee joint degeneration as early as possible in obese and overweight patients at risk for osteoarthritis or with symptomatic osteoarthritis," said lead study author Dr. Alexandra Gersing, of the University of California, San Francisco, in a press release.

This study was published in the journal Radiology.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases funded this research. The study authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.