Is losing weight an alternative to knee surgery?

If you are overweight, losing weight is a good step. Weight loss can help reduce pain and make it easier for you to do daily activities, including walking. If your osteoarthritis continues to cause you pain, and you’ve exhausted all other options, knee surgery may be necessary. It’s very important that you work closely with your doctor and other health care providers. Non-surgical treatment options should first be explored and a careful treatment plan specifically for you should be implemented. 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
A major symptom of knee arthritis is a gradual increase in pain, especially after inactivity, but sometimes after changes in weather. Other symptoms include swelling or tenderness, warmth, locking up or buckling and decreased range of motion. 
This recommendation would have to be made by determining whether the patient is overweight in the first place and whether the cause of the knee pain is directly related to weight. Some degenerative joint disease symptoms can be reduced through proper exercise and subsequent weight loss but this needs to be determined by the patient’s doctor. Alternatives to surgical interventions are preferable but sometimes even a proper weight and fitness level can’t completely turn back the hands of time.
Dr. Kevin J. Soden, MD
Family Medicine
Losing weight if a person is overweight will often lessen the load on the knee and may reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis. It is no cure but it may delay the need for knee surgery until a future date. Getting to an ideal weight is also a good idea for improving your overall health.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Weight loss is a wonderful alternative to surgery for those with osteoarthritis who are overweight. Every loss of one pound takes 4 pounds of pressure off the knee. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.