Obesity and Knee Replacement

Knee surgery is a common outcome for certain groups of people, including athletic and overweight patients. Obesity can take an extreme toll on the joint health of the knees, the hips and the spine. Following are a few facts to know about obesity’s impact on your knees and how it plays into knee replacement surgery.

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Increased Force

Patients with knee problems are already experiencing discomfort and stability issues. Being overweight adds extra pounds of force on a sore joint every time your foot hits the ground. Keeping your weight in a healthy range is extraordinarily important for those with joint concerns.

Osteoarthritis

This type of disease is a “wear and tear” arthritis and results after years of moving and shaking. Osteoarthritis develops at a faster rate when the patient is obese. This means that a replacement knee surgery could be needed sooner than you think.

Biomechanics

For patients carrying the burden of extra weight, body motion is not always optimal. Routine activities like squatting, walking, and standing are sometimes difficult or require adaptation. As a result, a heavier individual might twist the knee when walking or place more pressure on another the knee due to the discomfort. This may throw off alignment, create additional force on joints, or create extra wear and tear on your already-vulnerable knees.

Risk

Knee replacement surgery is generally an invasive procedure, but not one without risk. Obesity significantly increases the risk of complications during and after the operation. Blood clots, healing issues, cardiac events, and other major health problems occur more often in overweight patients than in their slimmer counterparts. Overweight patients may also experience problems with recovery and rehabilitation.

Obesity affects every part of your body, and certainly plays heavily into knee surgery. If you are carrying some extra weight, talk to your orthopedic and medical doctors to create a plan for you to become healthier.

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