How does being overweight or obese cause osteoarthritis?

Being overweight or obese puts added pressure on your joints and the supporting structures, called cartilage.

Also, poor diets that lead to weight gain cause inflammation, which is associated with joint pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts, plus fish, like salmon and tuna, can help you lose weight. These foods are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on your joints, especially those in your hips and knees, making it a major risk factor for developing osteoarthritis (OA). For every pound you're overweight, you're adding four pounds of pressure on your knees and six pounds of pressure on your hips. The extra wear and tear from extra weight greatly increases your risk of eventually getting osteoarthritis in these joints.

Throw in a dose of inactivity and some weak leg muscles and you'll almost certainly get OA. There's an easy fix to this, though. Weight loss and a regular exercise program can help prevent OA and help you manage it better if you already have it.

While the exact cause of osteoarthritis isn't known, being overweight or obese will accelerate it, due to the excess weight causing greater wear and tear on the joints.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Being overweight or obese causes osteoarthritis by increasing pressure on the knee and hip joints. Excessive weight can put stress on joints and promote the cartilage damage that often leads to osteoarthritis.

Every pound of excess weight adds four pounds of pressure on the knees. Research suggests that excess body fat produces chemicals that travel throughout the body and cause joint damage, meaning obesity also plays a systemic role in osteoarthritis onset. Maintaining a healthy weight is one way to prevent osteoarthritis.

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Being obese or overweight can dramatically increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. The increased weight on the joints of the legs (hip, knees, and ankles) increases the friction and pressure inside the joint, wearing down the cartilage faster than at lighter weights. Research shows you can decrease your risk simply by losing as little as 11 pounds.

Obesity is one of the most common risk factors for osteoarthritis. Obesity causes an increase in mechanical stress and pressure on joints, which wears away the cartilage that normally protects the joints and causes pain and inflammation. Weight loss reduces the stress and the load on the hips, knees and lower back, thereby preventing or slowing the development of osteoarthritis in those joints.

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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.