Weight Loss Can Slow Knee Cartilage Degeneration
Degenerative joint disease is a significant cause of pain and functional limitation in the United States. Obesity and its associated mechanical loads on the knee accelerate the degenerative changes in weight bearing joints. A recent study was completed to evaluate the effect of weight loss on cartilage degeneration in the knee. A group of 506 patients who are overweight and obese were divided into three groups. Group one were patients who lost no weight; the second group lost a little weight; and the third group lost 10% or more of their body weight.
These patients were then followed over four years and an MRI was used to measure the progression of knee osteoarthritis. The study confirmed that weight loss of at least 10% or more has a clear protective effect with regard to cartilage degeneration. The MRI results confirmed that substantial weight loss provided a 55.6% reduction in the rate of cartilage damage. Weight loss was also found to correlate with decreased knee pain which has the potential of improving function.
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