Osteoarthritis: How Is It Related To Obesity?

Medical Condition


Published on: 29-Aug-2022


10 min read


Updated on : 22-Jan-2024




Tarishi Shrivastav


Osteoarthritis: How Is It Related To Obesity?

Osteoarthritis: How Is It Related To Obesity?

share on

  • Toneop facebook page
  • toneop linkedin page
  • toneop twitter page
  • toneop whatsapp page

Obesity significantly affects the world; every other teenager is affected by this well-recognized global epidemic. 

The world health organisation states that in 2008, 1.4 billion people were overweight (200 million men & 300 million women).

These escalating numbers are subject of worry. For the past 30 years, Obesity has doubled, which is an alarming issue.  

With the constant increase in weight, your body becomes prone to the risk of various chronic diseases. 

Osteoarthritis is a clinical syndrome for joint pain and dysfunction caused due to joint degeneration, and this affects more people than any other joint disease. Currently, 10% of the population is affected by this condition.

Obesity is the primary cause of osteoarthritis. Obesity is generally characterised by a low inflammatory state, which affects many organs. Obesity increases the pressure on our joints' weight-bearing capacity. Knee adduction is a crucial mechanical variable in the development of knee OA.  Weight loss is essential for preventing and managing knee OA. These recommendations are based on expert opinion. Bariatric surgery for obesity is increasingly becoming popular. A recent systematic review concluded that it might benefit obese patients with hip or knee OA. Still, the role and indications for bariatric surgery remain unclear. Obesity also is a leading driver of arthroplasty demand and imposes an increased risk of operative complications.

OA is the most common form of arthritis, but today, rates are higher than ever. Excess weight worsens OA and increases the risk for various health problem. The increase in the plurality of OA is directly attributable to the rise in obesity.

Being just a little overweight puts extra pressure on your knees. This makes it more likely that you will develop osteoarthritis (OA) or worsen the disease if you already have it. Carrying extra body weight in OA does more than create a harmful load on joints. 

Table Of Contents

1. Obesity-A Major Risk Factor In Osteoarthritis

2. Inflammation In OA

3. Diseases Progression

4. Why Does Weight Loss Matter?

5. The Final Say

6. FAQs

Obesity-A Major Risk Factor In Osteoarthritis

Obesity A Major Risk Factor In Osteoarthritis

Overweight  women are at five times greater risk of knee osteoarthritis than men. Therefore, being overweight has a direct threat of developing osteoarthritis. 

Studies have shown a strong link between being overweight and knee osteoarthritis. However, estimating prevalence across populations is difficult since investigators' definitions for obesity and knee OA vary among investigators. 

  • Women who are overweight had more risk of knee OA than non-obese women. 
  • Men who are overweight have five times more risk than non-obese men. 

Effect Of Weight On Joints

As we gain weight, we put more pressure and stress on our knees, damaging the joints.

For instance, the knee of a healthy weighted person can tolerate up to 1.5 pounds per step. However, if you are just 10 pounds overweight, it can put up to 15-50 pounds of pressure on your knees and cause joint misalignment and OA. As a result, your knee takes on the extra pressure, increasing when you climb the stairs or squat to pick up stuff. 

Extra Weight Is Disabling

Osteoarthritis creates more disabilities in obese as compared to healthy-weight people. People who are obese with osteoarthritis take more medications, walk slowly, and are less physically active. Losing weight will help you maintain your regular body functions.

Inflammation & OA

Fat is chemically active and constantly releases a protein that causes inflammation. This protein travels through the bloodstream in your whole body and causes minor inflammation everywhere, in your joints. 

These constant low-grade inflammations in your joints increase the possibility of OA. 

OA is not only defined by having problems in knee joints. But it also affects other joints, like your hands, which is more common in obese people.

Once you have OA in one joint, the possibility is that you will develop it in others eventually. In addition, excess fat places a mechanical load on bone & cartilage that activates those structures. This means the load prompts the release of even more chemicals that cause joint damage.

Disease Progression

OA is a disease that can affect both obese and leaner people; it is more common to occur in over-weighted people. 

Overweight people have a high risk of getting hip or knee replacement surgery. Unfortunately, there are several complications, and the outcomes are not always positive. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce weight and inflammation before surgery. 

Obesity-related damage is not just limited to joints. Obesity and OA are also linked to heart disease, stroke, depression, and diabetes. In addition, the increased risk of inflammation leads to metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions including high blood pressure, blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess fat around the waist).

But many people with osteoarthritis struggle with physical activity. The mix of inflammation and lack of physical activity creates a cycle of weight gain, depression, and decreased health.

Why Does Losing Weight Matter?

Being overweight increases the load on our joints, like the knee, which increases stress and results in cartilage breaking. The positive solution to this situation is that many problems related to OA can be solved if you drop a few pounds. In addition, losing a little weight can help reduce arthritis pain to half. Finally, it could help slow or stop this disease's progression. A healthy weight will also manage your blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The Final Say

Osteoarthritis  is a condition in which inflammation of joints creates pain and uneasiness. Obesity can trigger osteoarthritis because the excess weight on the joint creates friction between them and leads to painful episodes and inflammation. Therefore, weight loss can be an excellent option to prevent inflammation.


1. Which joints are affected mainly by osteoarthritis?

The joints of the arms, knees, hips, and spines are affected mainly by osteoarthritis.

2. What are the risk factors for developing osteoarthritis?

  • Obesity
  • Age more than 50
  • Excess walking
  • Some sports like boxing, cycling, and football.
  • Squatting and kneeling works like carpentry, farm work, etc.

3. What is the best-opted exercise for osteoarthritis?

It depends on your body weight and symptoms. It is better to consult a doctor and practice exercises under supervision to avoid aggravating any symptoms. 

4. How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?

Osteoarthritis is diagnosed with a blood or joint fluid test. However, there is no specific blood test for osteoarthritis.

5. Can osteoarthritis be reversed?

You cannot reverse osteoarthritis, but some medications and weight loss can help manage it.

6. What is the typical age for osteoarthritis in men and women?

Osteoarthritis is common in women after the age of 45 years. In contrast, osteoarthritis is common for men before the age of 45 years.

About ToneOp

ToneOp is a platform dedicated to improving and maintaining your good health through a comprehensive range of goal-oriented diet plans and recipes. It also intends to provide value-added content to our consumers.  

Subscribe to Toneop Newsletter

Simply enter your email address below and get ready to embark on a path to vibrant well-being. Together, let's create a healthier and happier you!

Download our app

Download TONEOP: India's Best Fitness Android App from Google Play StoreDownload TONEOP: India's Best Health IOS App from App Store

Comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore by categories