Losing Weight Is a Big Step Toward Healthier Joints

January 27, 2012

Heart and overall health are known to improve with weight loss, but your patients' joints may benefit as well.

Heart and overall health are known to improve with weight loss, but your patients' joints may benefit as well. Losing just 11 pounds can lower a person's risk of knee arthritis by 50%, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Patients can perform a variety of exercises to protect their joints while getting in shape and shedding pounds, according to Philip A. Kern, MD, director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He recommends swimming, bicycling, walking, dancing, weight lifting, tai chi, yoga, and pilates.

Whatever exercise your patients choose, they should make sure that the activity is fun and one that they can stick with as part of their lifestyle, Dr Kern noted. If they need help, he recommends that they see a physical therapist or hire a personal trainer to make sure their technique is not causing undue wear and tear on their joints.

To help your patients stay fit and healthy as they exercise, Dr Kern also offers the following suggestions:

• Learn the proper mechanics of walking and running.
• Take care of your feet: wear orthoses if you need them, and replace shoes regularly.
• Rest when you feel pain or other discomfort