July 24, 2017

Weight Loss May Spare Knee Cartilage

When it comes to treatment for knee pain from osteoarthritis, turns out there’s no better medicine than striving for a healthy weight. 

Hot-off-the-presses research from the University of California, San Francisco lends evidence to what we’ve long believed – that weight loss slows cartilage degeneration in the knee.

The study was done in a randomized group of 640 patients with mild to moderate degrees of osteoarthritis. Over two years of follow-up, the researchers found that a weight loss of 10 percent protected against further cartilage breakdown. 

The more weight the participants lost, the better the result. And, the earlier weight loss was initiated in the course of treatment, the better the result. 

How can this study impact your care?

  • If you suffer from knee pain of any kind and suspect you may be at risk for osteoarthritis, don’t delay! Talk to your primary care physician and get evaluated promptly.

  • If you are found to have early stage arthritis and also are overweight or obese, seek out treatment to reduce your weight for the best chance of preserving knee cartilage long-term.
     
  • If your arthritis is advanced, it’s still not too late! Based on the study results, weight loss still will slow disease progression. Even if your surgeon has recommended knee replacement surgery, medical weight-loss treatment will likely prolong the life of your replaced joint as well.