Health & Wellness / Healthy Weighs

What Weight Means for Your Bones

weight_and_bonesIt’s no secret that too much weight can have an impact on your health including problems associated with obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease and sleep apnea. Too much weight can also have a serious impact on your bones, joints and muscles. Joints, especially the hips, knees and ankles along with shoulders and elbows suffer with weight gain.

Did you know that every pound of weight gain puts an extra four pounds of pressure on each of your knee joints? So, if you gained just five pounds, it would be like adding 20 pounds to each knee. Think about carrying a 20-pound weight around all day in each hand and you can imagine how your knees feel.

These extra pounds can lead to many problems, including arthritis, creating pain and stiffness in the joint. Weight puts pressure on the connecting tissues around the joints such as the tendons. The tendon may become inflamed causing tendonitis. This causes swelling, redness and pain around the joint, sometimes causing debilitating pain.

Bursitis is another joint problem that may occur. The bursa is the fluid filled sac near the joint that helps to keep the tissues from rubbing against bones. When the bursa is irritated it can cause pain, swelling and redness just like with tendonitis. Bursitis may develop after an injury or when one overuses a joint from repetitive motions.

Another issue to consider is that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to injury their bones or joints.

Losing weight can mean a lot to your bones and decrease your chances for developing conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis or bursitis. Talk to your doctor about your weight and your bone and joint health. Most doctors understand how difficult it is to lose weight, but at the same time they don’t want patients to face more risks related to their weight. Your doctor should be supportive, respectful and compassionate.

By Molly McBrayer, clinical manager, Roper St. Francis Bariatrics & Metabolic Services

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