My Knees are Killing Me

April 2nd, 2014 by Joan Maiden

I spent the weekend moving boxes and furniture up a flight of stairs.  Since I stay active, run and am up and down stairs all day, I was unprepared for the pain I felt in my knees that night?  What happened?  Then it dawned on my I had been carrying a lot of extra weight.  What does carrying just a few extra pounds do to your joints?  A recent study showed that one pound of excess weight equals four pounds of stress on the knees.   Even though I was carrying the excess weight for a short period of time I realized:

  • The 10-20 pound boxes I was carrying was adding 40-80 pounds of extra stress on my knees,
  • Walking on level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight,
  •  The force on each knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs,
  • It is four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped.

No wonder my knees hurt!

Losing a few pounds can go a long way toward reducing the pressure on your knees — and protecting them. In one study, the risk of developing osteoarthritis dropped 50% with each 11-pound weight loss among younger obese women. For men who get their body mass index (BMI) down from 30 or higher to between 25 and 29.9, knee osteoarthritis would decrease an estimated 20%. A similar change in women of the same age could cut the incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee by about 30%.

Research shows accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked,” writes researcher Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. “For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked.”

Lighten up to lessen your joint pain.


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