How is obesity affecting joint health?

How is obesity affecting joint health?

We’ve all been made well aware we’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic, but have you considered the effect it’s having on our joint health.

Recent figures have reveals that there has been a 150% rise in knee replacement surgeries for obese people as the nation’s knees are crumbing under the strain of the obesity epidemic.

The MailOnline reveals that almost 9,500 people, including two teenagers, underwent knee replacement surgery last year because their joints could not cope with their weight.

Obesity costs the NHS £5.1 billion each ear, with 40,000 people dying as a result of being overweight or obese.

Mr Simon Moyes, Consultant Orthopeadic Surgeon at London Bridge Hospital and The Wellington Hospital discusses the impact of obesity on our joints and how to reduce the risk of knee replacement surgery.

What is the impact of being overweight on your knees?

“Being overweight is an enormous strain on the knee, biomechanically nine times your body weight goes through the knee when you are just walking around doing general day-to-day activities.

“Simply put, if you are 5 stone overweight then you are essentially carrying an extra 45 stone – which is being forced through your knee. The rates of obesity are rising and with it the rates of associated degenerative change in the knee with the need for further physiotherapy, arthroscopic surgery, intra articular injections and joint replacement surgery also increase."

What advice would you give people going forwards to reduce your BMI and the dangers to your joints?

“Going forwards, it is important to get your body mass index down to normal, and you should do this with a combination of diet/nutritional support and increasing your overall exercise level. In my own experience it is remarkable how even patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis can see a big reduction in their symptoms simply by losing a few kilos’, so I tend to combine this with a physiotherapy programme and some nutritional support and point them in the direction of a gym and a personal trainer - this will often keep their osteoarthritis at bay for many years.”

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, told the MailOnline: ‘These figures will continue to rise. The human body has evolved for perfection and the knees and the legs and arms and all the bones fit together beautifully. What we have done over the last 50 years to an incredible degree is upset the balance of evolution.We are now putting our bones under huge extra burdens which the human body was never designed for. What’s disastrous is people don’t know of the medical problems which are attached to obesity.’

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