What Is the Link Between Obesity and Orthopaedic Conditions?

There is a complicated relationship between obesity and orthopaedic problems. If you are suffering from back pain, hip pain, or other kinds of musculoskeletal discomfort, or if you need orthopaedic surgery, weight is a topic your doctor may address with you. Obesity and orthopaedic conditions can both contribute to and complicate each other, so understanding the role of weight in any condition you are experiencing is important.

Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis.

One clear link between obesity and orthopaedic conditions is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when wear and tear on joints causes the cartilage to break down, allowing the bones to rub against each other. Carrying excess weight increases the speed at which joints experience this kind of damage, leading to the development of osteoarthritis at younger ages than anticipated. Often, people who are experiencing knee and hip pain associated with osteoarthritis can get some relief by losing weight. Weight loss can also improve back pain associated with herniated discs. On the flipside, osteoarthritis can make it more difficult to be active, which can exacerbate weight gain.

Injuries are more common in obese people.

People who are obese have a dramatically higher risk of experiencing an orthopaedic injury than people who are of normal weight—as much as 48% higher, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This includes lower extremity injuries in people of all ages, including children who are obese. Being obese can also make recovery more difficult, as it can interfere with the ability to do re-strengthening exercises.

Obesity can complicate orthopaedic surgery.

Being obese increases the risks associated with anesthesia in every kind of surgery, including orthopaedic procedures. Obesity also makes recovery more difficult and may lead to inferior surgical results.

If you’re concerned about the impact of your weight on your orthopaedic condition, make an appointment with a provider at MK Orthopaedics. Our orthopaedic doctors in Joliet can get you out of pain and back to enjoying the things you love. Make an appointment today by calling (815) 741-6900.

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