Joint pain is one of the main reasons that people consider weight loss surgery.
There is extensive reporting on the link between other health issues and obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer but less is reported on the relationship between obesity and the pain that it can cause in your joints.
Our experience in the clinic is that joint pain, especially in the knees, hips and ankles is one of the main reasons people choose to go ahead with weight loss surgery.
How Does Weight Effect Your Joints
It has been demonstrated that every extra pound of weight we carry places an extra 4 pounds of pressure on the knees. It means that a person who is carrying 100 pounds (7 stone) more weight than if they were a healthy weight is exerting a massive 400 pounds extra pressure on their knees. When you then consider the amount of time that is spent on your feet putting pressure on your load bearing joining, it’s easy to see how premature damage to those joints can occur. This usually happens when the cartilage in the joint gets worn down leading to pain.
Later on this page, we give several examples of people who had weight loss surgery precisely because they wanted to increase their mobility; either to keep up with the children, to lead a more active life or just to improve their quality of life day to day.
Obesity can cause or increase joint pain in several ways. Most common is Osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a chronic condition caused by inflammation in the joints. Obesity can also have an impact in other ways, including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Psoriatic Arthritis, Lupus and Fibromyalgia.
On this page, we focus on the joint pain caused by Osteoarthritis.
The other illnesses we have listed that cause joint pain have a slightly different mechanism. With arthritis, it’s the pressure your weight places on your joints that is the problem. With the others, it is generally the chemicals that are released from the fat cells in obese patients that are problematic. For example, obesity does not cause Rheumatoid Arthritis or gout, but it does change a persons chemical balance so that symptoms are worse. In the case of RA, it can lead to greater inflammation through the release of cytokines and gout through increased levels of uric acid in the body. Studies have shown that about 70% of people with gout are overweight or obese. Furthermore, if you are obese you are not only more likely to get out but, on average, you’ll get it 11 years earlier than a person of healthy weight.
Causes of Arthritis
The 3 main risk factors for arthritis are advanced age, obesity, injury/trauma. It happens when inflammation in the joints accelerates wear on the cartilage thus causing the bone to rub together.
Would weight loss surgery improve your mobility and quality of life?
If you have a BMI above 30 and would like to explore a weight loss surgery procedure the next step is to contact our team to discuss the possibilities in more detail. You can find a lot of information on the website and when you are ready to meet us for consultation we will schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons.
Many Healthier Weight patients have weight loss surgery to reduce joint pain and to increase their mobility. You can read several inspiring stories here from people who have achieved great results with all 3 procedure, band, sleeve and bypass.
We asked our patients how their health improved after their procedure.