Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Pound for Pound: My Aching Knees

Pound for Pound: My Aching Knees

By J. R. Rogers

For those who are readers of my column you know pretty much what my position is on Osteoarthritis. A top-quality liquid Glucosamine product; exercise; and, a sensible diet.

I do not know of any medical experts that would disagree with my thoughts on these issues. When you live with the pain of OA, it is worth the small effort it takes to get it under control.

The Weight Issue and Body Weight

There are no “hard and fast” rules about how weight affects OA pain in your lower body and in particular, most with knee pain. However, researchers have found that those who are overweight are more likely to have incurred a torn meniscus which is the primary cushion that serves the knees. For those who have OA, it is already at risk so this adds another dimension to the problem.

The Studies

There was a study conducted at Wake Forest University that involved women only; 75% were between the ages of 60 and 89 and each was overweight. I really like the numbers here because they tell us a great deal about the overall affect of being obese.

For each pound lost by participants, there was a reduction of load on the knees by four times that amount. That sounds a little confusing but what they are saying is that in their study, a one mile walk and one pound lost equaled 4,800 pounds of “compressive load” from the knees.

They also extended that number out from there. They said that if you lost 10 lbs., you would reduce the load on your knees by 48,000 pounds over that same mile. The numbers can become pretty impressive here.

Think about this. Our lower bodies take a beating as it is. It is the load-bearing part of our body and we need as much “go power” as we can get from our legs, knees, hips and feet. Being overweight simply pushes the body’s limits and for those with OA it becomes a doubly difficult problem.

The Reality

We tend to forget about issues like this even when we are suffering. Of course, if we do not get a handle on excessive weight, it creeps up on us. It also becomes more and more difficult to lose.

I cannot tell you what to do. All I can do is give you the facts. There is no escaping the fact that excessive weight is going to do an enormous amount of damage to our very valuable knees. Sometimes, it is more than they can handle.

Do yourself a favor. Give your knees a little relief before it is too late. Now that is much easier than saying, “go lose some weight” don’t you think?

See you next time.

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