Does Being Overweight Increase Joint Pain

Is being overweight linked to increased joint pain? This is one of the most frequently asked questions at our orthopaedic hospital in Mumbai.

According to Dr. Chirag Patel, an orthopaedic surgeon in Mumbai, “Yes, being overweight significantly amplifies the strain on the joints, worsening the pain for individuals already dealing with pre-existing joint conditions.”

The first thing orthopaedic surgeons recommend is weight management when managing and treating joint pains in older adults. So, the impact of overweight on joint pains is straightforward because of the increased load on the joints.

But is that the only reason? In today’s blog, let us delve deeply into this topic, with insights from best orthopedic doctor in Mumbai, Dr. Chirag Patel.

Why does being Overweight deteriorate joint health and increase joint pain?

Load on the Joints: The most common and apparent reason is the increased load on weight-bearing joints like the knee and hip. ‘On average, every extra kilo of weight one puts on increases 4kgs of extra pressure on the knee,’ says orthopaedic surgeon and knee replacement specialist Dr. Chirag Patel. Being a significant load-carrying joint, ‘overweight sore knees’ is the most common problem we often diagnose and treat at our clinic.

Over time, this extra pressure can impact all joints, and there comes a point where pain intensifies, calling for intervention.

Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a silent cause of joint pain and swelling that many older adults tend to ignore. Increased adipose tissue (fat) enhances inflammation, contributing to joint pain, especially in older age.

Insulin Resistance: Overweight and older age are closely linked with insulin resistance. Insulin that doesn’t get used adequately leads to pumping more insulin, negatively impacting joint health.

Hormonal Factors: Adipose tissue releases cytokines that contribute to joint pain. When combined with increased osteoporosis in older ages, especially in women, multiple risk factors due to being overweight.

Osteoarthritis: Being overweight is a significant risk factor in the early development of osteoarthritis, the leading cause of irreversible joint pain. ‘We have come across serious cases of knee and hip pain that lead to irreversible damage, demanding hip and knee replacement surgeries,’ says orthopaedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist in Mumbai, Dr. Chirag Patel.

So, how can one control their weight post their 50s to avoid joint pain?

“Diet control, healthy food choices, regular exercise, and an active everyday life are the core tenets of healthy weight management at any age. However, in older age, individuals have many limitations that can hamper their chances of reducing weight. We advise us to have realistic expectations and anticipate slow progress,” says Dr. Chirag Patel.

One can take steps independently before one begins to set foot on a weight-loss journey. Still, given every individual’s limitations, it is recommended to contact an orthopaedic specialist who can help you choose the proper exercise and diet program or direct you toward the right specialists who can help you draw up a plan. “Persistence is the key; staying in ideal weight ranges can do a sea of good to your joints in older age. Joint pain catches up with everyone, but why hasten their arrival with unhealthy lifestyle choices?” says orthopaedic specialist Dr. Chirag Patel. For more information on joint pain and weight management to reduce joint pain, you can contact Dr Chirag Patel.