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How Weight Affects Your Joints

Many people think that joint pain is an inevitable part of aging. While certain genetic factors aren't avoidable, you can take steps to protect your joints and your overall health so you can lead a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. 

One of the best things you can do to improve your health and reduce your risk of joint pain is to keep your weight down. Your joints absorb at least 1½ times your weight with every step you take. The more you weigh, the higher pressure you put on your joints, accelerating connective tissue and bone damage. 

Around 32.5 million people in the United States have osteoarthritis — the degenerative form of arthritis that develops when the cartilage in your joints wears away. In Tyler, Texas, Dr. William Brelsford and his team at Arthritis & Osteoporosis Clinics can manage your osteoarthritis pain and symptoms. 

Several factors contribute to osteoarthritis and other joint diseases, such as age, genetics, and injury. Still, Dr. Brelsford recommends all of his patients to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and maintain a healthy weight to help prevent or reduce joint pain. This is why:

Your weight increases the pressure on your joints

Even at your ideal weight, your joints still undergo a lot of use and are susceptible to breaking down and losing functionality. But the more weight your joints carry each day, the more quickly they break down. 

It's simple multiplication: When you walk, your knees absorb one and a half times your body weight. 

That means if you weigh 200 pounds, you put 300 pounds of pressure on your knees with every step. This ratio increases if you walk up stairs, on an incline, or if you jog or run.

Extra pounds increase inflammation

Your fat releases chemicals (cytokines) that cause inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation contributes to health problems throughout your body, from your joints to your digestive tract. Inflammation in your joints isn't just a symptom of arthritis — it also accelerates the breakdown of your joints.  

Even if you're not technically overweight, an unhealthy diet causes health problems. Overeating can actually trigger your immune system to respond in a defensive way that increases inflammation

The good news is that losing even 5-10% of your body weight can significantly improve your health, including lowering your risk of arthritis by drastically reducing the inflammation in your body. 

Managing joint pain

Maintaining a healthy weight is at the top of the list of ways to reduce your joint pain. If you have days when your joints are screaming, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or ice packs can relieve your pain.

However, if your arthritic joints have deteriorated to the point where at-home care doesn't help, Dr. Brelsford offers safe and effective regenerative medical techniques that may improve your symptoms. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

PRP is a serum made from a sample of your blood that's rich in platelets, which carry the nutrients and proteins your body uses to create new cells and repair tissue. After creating your PRP serum, Dr. Brelsford injects it into your painful joints. Your platelets flood your injured tissue with growth factors that kick-start the healing process and tamp down the inflammation.

BioBurst® therapy

Dr. Brelsford also performs BioBurst regenerative therapy. He uses allografts — donor tissue from healthy, full-term umbilical cords — to stimulate your body's ability to heal itself. 

BioBurst is rich in growth factors and cytokines, which are critical to your natural healing ability. The treatment beefs up your recovery so you can get back to your regular activities quickly and safely.

If you have joint pain, whether related to obesity or not, Dr. Brelsford uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tests to identify the root cause and create a customized treatment plan to relieve your pain. Call us or request an appointment online.

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