Losing Weight Is the Key to Losing Joint Pain

Excess weight can contribute to hip pain, so weight loss is a smart way to ease the stress on your joint.

Learn how to achieve weight loss when exercising is difficult.

Losing excess weight benefits your whole body — your heart, brain, muscles, and bones will all be healthier if you maintain a healthy weight. But weight loss is never easy, particularly if you’re sidelined with hip pain and even walking is difficult. Fortunately, the right combination of gentle exercise and restricted calories may offer relief from hip pain through weight loss.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent painful joint conditions and obesity is now recognized as an important modifiable risk factor for osteoarthritis.

If you’re having the occasional twinge of joint pain when you go for a walk or climb stairs, or you’re worried about arthritis because a parent had it, one step toward prevention is to check your weight.

There are two ways that being overweight raises your risk for developing osteoarthritis (the most common joint disorder, which is due to wear and tear on a joint). First, excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints (the knee, for example). Second, inflammatory factors associated with weight gain might contribute to trouble in other joints (for example, the hands).

Best tips for losing weight

Increasing physical activity has many health benefits and can help you shed weight. But stepping up your exercise alone is rarely enough to help you lose weight. Every pound you’d like to shed represents roughly 3,500 calories. So, if you’re hoping to lose half a pound to one pound a week, you need to knock off 250 to 500 calories a day. A good way to start is to try to burn 125 calories through exercise and eat 125 fewer calories each day.

Don’t forget that the math works both ways: indulging in an extra 100 calories a day without burning them off can leave you 10 pounds heavier at the end of a year! Over time, routine treats like a scoop or two of ice cream, a calorie-packed coffee drink, or visits to the cookie or candy jar can tip the scales in the wrong direction.

If you’re overweight and have hip pain, losing weight is a no-brainer. And if you’re at a good weight and have hip pain, it’s important to avoid gaining weight to keep hip pain from getting worse. Exercise may become a bigger challenge, but it’s still possible — just find what’s comfortable for you.

It is also important to get the proper diagnosis because many other joint conditions can cause joint pain. These include autoimmune-related arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout or a septic joint.

For more information on how Dr. Roger can bring you immediate solutions in the treatment of a variety of orthopedic conditions, including hip replacement, knee replacement, joint replacement or arthritis, contact the Institute of Clinical Orthodics and Neuroscience at Desert Regional Medical Center at 760.416.4511.