How Does Weight Affect My Knees

We are a growing population, not just in number but also in size! In 2011 almost 25% of the English population was obese and these numbers continue to rise.

Most of us understand that being significantly overweight can cause all sorts of problems with health such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, but what is it doing to our joints?

As rates of obesity have gone up in the UK, so have rates of osteoarthritis of the knee.

What is osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis, sometimes called OA, degeneration or ‘wear and tear’ is the progressive loss of a joint’s articular cartilage, this causes the joint to become stiff and painful. Articular cartilage creates a smooth protective covering over the ends of our bones so that we can move our joints freely without friction. Articular cartilage is only a few millimeters thick, over the years it can become worn away and the joint can become painful, this is osteoarthritis.

How do I know if am overweight?

Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference can be used to estimate if you are a healthy weight. You can work out your BMI by dividing your weight in Kg by your height in meters2. A waist circumference over 102cm for men or 88cm for women is considered obese.

Find a BMI calculator tool here:

What is a healthy BMI for an adult?
less than 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Ideal
25 – 29.9 Overweight
30 – 39.9 Obese
40 +  Very Obese


How does being overweight affect my knees?

Research shows that if you are overweight or obese you are at three times greater risk of getting knee osteoarthritis than the rest of the population. Your risk of knee OA also goes up the heavier you are, by 35% for each 5 BMI units you gain.

Simply put; gaining weight increases the chances that you will suffer with osteoarthritis of the knees leading to pain and stiffness of the joints.

The good news.  Losing weight reduces your chances of developing knee OA.

Contact: 01926 772 731